Save the Deli

A Schmaltz to Remember: March 15

And now for something truly special.

Deli is a great food of the people, and every good foodie worth their salt and foie gras is a deli lover. High end chefs like Mario Batali, Anthony Bourdain, and others have all touted their love of pastrami. But until now, there haven’t been many attempts to bring the deli into a gourmet realm, let alone explore the culinary possibilities of traditional Ashkenazi cuisine.

Well, Save the Deli is helping to do this, for one night only in New York City.

On March 15th, the illustrious James Beard House will be hosting “A Schmaltz to Remember”, a gourmet dinner featuring deli inspired dishes from some of New York’s finest chefs.

Even if you don’t know your derma from your deckle, this celebration of delicatessen delights will not disappoint—and you won’t go home hungry. I’ve assembled a team of talented chefs to transform once-pervasive deli classics into creative, contemporary cuisine. Eat. Eat!

What’s on the menu?

How about hors d’oeuvres from some of the finest delis in NYC:

Adelman’s Chopped Liver, Ben’s Best Miniature Cabbage Rolls, Liebman’s Hush Puppies, and Second Avenue Deli’s Miniature Gefilte Fish all paired with Broadbent’s Vinho Verde NV and JoeDoe’s Housemade Cel-Ray Soda and Gin Cocktails.

The tables will be piled with Bagels, Challah, Pumpernickel Rolls, and Rye Twists from Commerce

Then the courses and chefs:

David Sclarow, of Brooklyn’s Pizza Moto mobile pizza oven, will be tossing up a Smoked Tongue Salad with Rye Croutons, Pickled Shallots, Seasonal Greens, and Grainy Mustard Vinaigrette. Paired with a Château Musar Cuvée Blanc 2007

Bruce Bromberg and Eric Bromberg, owners of Blue Ribbon Restaurants, will be ladling Martha’s Excellent Matzoh Ball Soup with a Machherndl Kollmütz Grüner Veltliner 2007.

Harold Moore and Snir Eng-Sela of Commerce are giving a taste of Hot-Smoked Sturgeon with Dilled Potatoes, Beets, Horseradish, and Caviar Jus, served with Quinta Do Crasto Duoro White 2007.

George Lazi, the Fig & Olive who got his cooking start at Ben’s Best Kosher Deli, will fuze the Mediterranean with the European, in his Zucchini Pasta with Pastrami, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, and Tapenade. Served with Weinert Malbec 2004, a wine I know well, as it is made by my friend Iduna Weinert’s family in Argentina, and is the most delicious Malbec to come out of Argentina.

Joe Dobias, of the East Village’s Joe Doe (which has been featured for its Jewish influences), will give diners Braised Beef Brisket with Horseradish, Kreplach, and Tongue, washed down with Pago de Larrainzar 2005.

And finally, there’s dessert, the most important course of all. My good friend Betsey Divine, from the Salvatore Ricotta cheese company, is going to be transforming that beautiful cheese into Honey–Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake, paired with a Broadbent 5-Year-Old Reserve Madeira, which has been provided, along with all the wines, courtesy of Betsey’s lovely wife Rachel Mark, of Broadbent Selections.

Plus, I’ll be there, talking about the role of deli in the food world, and how we can expand our culinary horizons on the Jewish palate.

There are approximately 40 tickets left for the event, and they are going fast. Each seat costs $125 ($100 for James Beard foundation members), and all proceeds go to support education and other programs at the James Beard Foundation. The chefs have donated their time and ingredients, and even the booze is donated. Yes, it’s more expensive than your standard lunch at the deli, but I challenge you to find a Jewish meal presented by a group of talented kitchen all-stars of this calibre, for half this price.

Call 212.627.2308 to reserve. Or book online.

Hope to see you there.

6 Responses to “A Schmaltz to Remember: March 15”

  1. Dee Says:

    Dear David,

    How can you top this icing on the cake to this dear book? A second act. This maven (according to you) is ready to review it but you need to know something. You’re half my age and had the chutzpah to get out there and write a book and I have the idiotic age and wisdom to question my doing so.

    Congratulations and please save me a hot pastrami on rye with great mustard (and know that delis who ask what kind of bread you want your pastrami on are not real delis). Wonder bread? Give me a break! Oh, and a perfect latke. Those are more difficult to find. Thanks for your heroric efforts, even my vegetarian friend loved the Montreal smoked meat chapter. Dee

  2. Says:

    This deli starved San Franciscan so wishes that he could fly to NY just for this dinner…and maybe a quick visit to Ben’s. Have a blast David!

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