Whenever people talk about cuisines that are missing from the Albuquerque food scene, a good, traditional NY-style deli is always near the top of the list (on my personal list, it probably comes right below Ethiopian, especially now that you can get Peruvian food here). But as much as folks bemoan the lack of a good pastrami-on-rye, I think most of us assume Albuquerque's not really a NYC deli town.
So imagine my surprise when a Facebook friend posted this! At a glance, the menu looks very, very authentic and not something I'd really have expected to see in Nob Hill. I peeked in the window tonight on my way from La Montanita Co-op...they're located in the Nob Hill Shopping Center at Amherst and Silver. They didn't quite look open yet, but does anyone know more? A legit bagel & lox alone would make it worth a visit...
Let us know your opinion of their rye bread. Legitimate Jewish Rye seems to be in very short supply in NM.
I imagine we'll get over there soon...we might likewise give them some time to get things ironed out first, though.
I went by there around 6 pm on Sat. and if they opened on Sunday, it had to have been pretty damn rough opening from the way the place appeared. As in the place didn't look ready at all to receive customers.
I think they burned the midnight oil, OBTS...when I walked by on Sunday on my way to the Co-op it more or less looked like they were getting on swimmingly...
O.k., I went there at 2:00 today and things were, as my wife predicted, rocky.
First, there's no air conditioning, so the door was open -- lots of heat, lots of flies.
Second, several women greeted me in the friendliest way ... this was disconcerting since deli staff is traditionally curt, dismissive or downright rude. I didn't know what to say.
Then, since it was unbearably hot there (felt sorry for the nice Nosh folk), I ordered my food to go. I asked for an extra-lean pastrami on rye, with mustard. They properly asked "yellow mustard or deli mustard?" I selected deli, naturally. Then they offered a side, and I chose potato salad.
When I got to where I was going, I opened the box and proceeded to see what was what. My first reaction was to be shocked at the slab-like slices rather than ultra-thin. But, they do have Hispanic workers making the sandwiches. Then I noticed how nice and fresh the rye bread was ... really good. And that was when I realized, "hey, this isn't pastrami." The thick slabs were corned beef -- not my favorite, and why I wasn't joyously enjoying my lunch.
After finishing one-half of the sandwich, I opened the potato salad container. The potatoes weren't actually cooked -- I only took one bite and closed it up again.
There wasn't a pickle included, which one would expect with a deli sandwich, but they're still figuring out where everything is.
The quality of everything was clearly home-made, but they need a few weeks to iron out the kinks.
I plan to go back, with my saner half, when the weather has cooled off.
Well, I hope they get ironed out but I've noticed that most new restaurants in this town open in a former restaurant space. Lot's of turnover showing poor planning and insufficient startup working capital. New Italian spot on the west side M'tucci's, site of three prior failures (Spinns, Tomato Café, the Mill). Remember Bubbi's at San Antonio and Wyoming?
Really, L.C.? You wanted them to be jerks to you? Very strange.
Also, I find your comment about Hispanic workers making sandwiches offensive. As if Hispanic workers are incapable of following instructions? Why did you think it would be sliced thin, anyway? Ever been to Katz's delicatessen in NYC? We're talking slabs of pastrami. As a matter of fact, any deli in NYC I've been to serves slabs of pastrami. Nor do I even know what extra lean pastrami is.
And, by the way, pastrami is smoked corned beef. Which is not to discount the fact that you didn't get what you ordered or that the potato salad wasn't cooked. If I were you, I would have gone back and informed them that their potato salad was inedible.
Where the hell did all that come from?
First, I was being humorous about deli folk ... Deli staff is famously rude; part of the typical experience on both coasts.
Second, my comment about Hispanic staff was about their not having "real" deli experience. What on earth makes you think I have issues with Hispanics? (P.S. I was born in Latin America.)
Also, they were cutting the meats by hand rather than using a meat slicing machine, the standard deli method, which makes it difficult to cut really thin slices of meat.
Finally, I grew up near Canter's in L.A. and spent 25 years in NYC. I know every deli there. Including Katz's.
My only comment about the Hispanic thing is to suggest that unless my own relatively broad experience of the California restaurant scene is way, way off there have got to be lots of people of Hispanic heritage working in the kitchens of those LA delis. Of course, I suppose that would mean they had deli experience.
I think it's quite possible the folks working at Nosh might be inexperienced about what constitutes a proper deli - but how many people in ABQ aren't? This is new territory they're forging here so hopefully everyone will learn with time.
Quite right. Everyone working at Canter's (and Katz's) is typically Hispanic, but trained.
Not sure the Nosh folk know how to train them.
Is it so racist to consider that if one goes into "Jewish" deli one might like to interact with a "New York Jew". If I go to a Mexican restaurant I prefer to deal with a Mexican. If I go to a Indian restaurant strangely I hope there might be an Indian in the place. If I go to my aunt Tilly's I hope she is in the kitchen not trained "aunt Tilly" cooks. It gives a felling of authenticity. I would always rather have my food prepared by someone with an intimate knowledge of what it should look and taste like. I'm paying for it and eating it. Just sayin.
No so sure that slicing pastrami is a uniquely Jewish talent...hell, I am a shiksa deluxe and I make the best latkes in town. If I don't say so myself.