Once, Brooklyn was teeming with delis. Thousands of them. Literally.
Then they left, one by one. Then by the hundreds. Then, like the Jews who once inhabited much of the borough, en masse.
Today, though many Jews do live in Brooklyn, including the Flatbush area, Borough Park (heavily Hasidic), the neighborhoods along Ocean Parkway, and those in Park Slope (me), the delis are few and far between.
They are (in no specific order): Jay and Lloyd’s, Adelman’s, Gottlieb’s, David’s Brisket House, Junior’s (of cheesecake fame), and the Mill Basin Deli.
That list now apparently lacked one more, as I got word today that Essex-on-Coney, has closed for good.
So reports Kosher NY:
Essex on Coney Closed…For Good?!
If you remember, Kosher-NY reported in December 2008 that Essex on Coney would be closed “until further notice.” Here is the notice…
Not only has the OU removed Essex from their list of supervised establishments, but their phone number is no longer in service. Although we were not able to reach management for comment, we feel that the above is sufficient evidence of Essex closing.
Essex on Coney, a longstanding staple of New York Pastrami-loving Jews will be sorely missed.
I went to Essex on Coney once, in the fall of 2006, when research on Save the Deli first began. I was greeted by the founder and former owner, one Harry Rasp, a deli lover of size and volume, who began the place when another deli wouldn’t let him eat a single pickled pepper without buying a whole container. Rasp modeled the place on the famous Shmulke Berstein’s on Essex, in Manhattan…a legendary kosher deli/Chinese restaurant that was nirvana for yeshiva bochers from all five boroughs. Rasp even bought the old chairs from B-O-E, and replicated the menu exactly. He also had some of the tastiest glatt kosher deli meats I’d ever had, far superior than the dreck that Aaron’s Best (formerly Rubashkin), and Meal Mart put out. One was an invention of his called ‘honey beef’, which was a subtly sweet corned beef. The hot dogs were to die for.
In the past few years Essex on Coney survived a fire, Rasp’s sale of it (believe me, he was happy to get out), and a move in location. Rumors of its demise have been floating for some time. Supposedly a place called Caraville Glatt was billing itself as “Home of the New Essex” for the past year. Said their site:
What was once old is all new again in the form of Caraville Glatt, the “Home of the New Essex.” When news broke that the the owners of Essex of Coney Downtown, Julian Whiteman and son Meyer, took over Caraville, the Brooklyn dining community could not have been more excited. While it was sad to see Harry Rasp, the original owner of Essex on Coney close the Coney Island Avenue store at the end of 2007, it allowed Julian and Meyer to retain the name and concept- delicious, family-friendly food.
And when the opportunity came along to take over the long time established Caraville, the pieces just fit perfectly – they simply could not turn it down. Julian and Meyer’s goal is to cater to the former customers of Essex on Coney as well as the future customers of Caraville Glatt.
So today’s report from Kosher NY seems to indicate that it is done.
Not so fast!
As recently as April 8th, there was a review of it on Chowhound:
“No leftovers. Just like at Bubbies House!” That’s the motto of Caraville Glatt aka Essex on Coney, the top notch Deli-cum-Chinese restaurant that’s been in business for 17 years and aims to be the best Deli anywhere. Essex on Coney has just moved from Coney Island to its new home on Avenue M. They might be at a new place but it’s that same great taste.
There’s even a photo of real looking matzo ball soup:
So, taking matters into my own hands (as is my duty), I called up Caraville Glatt and spoke to Mr. Whiteman himself. Once again, reports of this deli’s death have been greatly exaggerated. He assures me that while the Manhattan takeout location of Essex-on-Coney has long since closed, his restaurant, which offers the same combination of deli and chinese glatt kosher goodness, remains alive, well, and quite delicious. It’s not in the same location as the original, but it’s still in Brooklyn (Midwood), and he recommends you all check it out.
Let’s see if Kosher NY is willing to print a correction.
Kosher NY has informed me that they were referring to Essex on Coney in Manhattan (a kiosk in the financial district), which has indeed closed. I stand corrected.
1910 Ave M, Brooklyn, NY – Midwood
(718) 336-1206 caravilleglatt.com