Matzo Ball Soup{Worries Go Down Better With Soup}

New York City, fashion mecca and land of the Bubby.  As long as my memories go back, I have had this very hazy picture of eating corned beef, and not just any corned beef. . .corned beef from the deli promised land, nay the deli center of the universe, the Carnegie Deli.  Where the words “extra lean, half sour, and Russian dressing” float through the air on smooth currents of “chopped liver”.  Every grey haired man here was a potential grandpa or perhaps a not so distant relative of your great uncle’s cousin, Sheila.

So you sit there, and as you wait you feast on pickled tomatoes and other briny delectables from the pickle spectrum.  And then, sheer glee, my five year old life was complete! In front of me appeared, as if by magic, the most luscious ruby layers of warm corned beef stacked mountainously high between two rye encrusted cushions.

Oh yes, Bubby’s favorite color just might have been black, and she also may have slept in curlers, and she may not have let me play with the little glass boxes on her side table in her living room, but the food in Bubby’s city really had some  panache!

{Corned Beef Envy}

Now, after reading that I bet you can understand why it has been pretty difficult for me these past 20 some odd years to find a deli that lives up to my pedestaled Carnegie Deli memory. I even had a short glimmer of hope in the late eighties and early nineties when the Carnegie Deli opened a satellite location in Tyson’s Corner, VA– only a mere stone’s Deli Counterthrow away from my childhood home!    I’m not exactly sure when it closed but the last record  of the restaurant being open that I was able to track down was an article written on November 16, 1994.  It must have been around this time when the corned beef deprivation set in, as I can’t honestly remember having anything halfway decent until we moved out to Studio City in 2008!!!!  But, before we get into that, maestro, a brief etymology if you please. . .

{A Little Wiki-Etymology}

Delicatessen is a German loanword in English, meaning “delicacies” or “fine foods”.  Hence a shortened term for delicatessen store is sometimes additionally shorted to the informal term deli.
The word entered German from French délicatesse and means “delicious things (to eat)”. It ultimately originated from the Latin adjective delicatus, meaning “giving pleasure, delightful, pleasing”.  So now that we have that information down pat, let me delicatus you with some délicatesse from Art’s Delicatessen in Studio City, CA.

Art's Deli Sign

Art's Deli Sign

{Every Sandwich is a Work of Art!}

Picking up where we left off, I  somehow managed to move into a city that is only approximately seven square miles and it has not one but two quite delicious delis for my dining pleasure.  The corned beef gods were truly smiling down on me.  It must have been a reward for living without the sumptuous meaty goodness for so many years!  Of these two delis, (Jerry’s Famous Deli and Art’s Deli) I am, without a doubt, a devoted fan of Art’s for more than a few reasons. . .

1) Art’s is not a chain, it is a one of a kind old timey sort of place, while Jerry’s is a chain that has roughly 9 locations.

2)The prices are comparable between the two delis.  However, I would like to remind you that eating at a deli is also about the quality of service.  Art’s has Jerry’s beat on this aspect, no question!

3) History, History, History!!! Art’s has been around since 1957 and that blows the 1978, opening of Jerry’s in Studio City, CA completely out of the water.

4) When you eat at Art’s you’re likely to see Art Ginsburg, the original owner busily fluttering around the restaurant kibitizing with the regulars.

Studio City Welcome Sign

Studio City Welcome Sign

{Interesting Facts}

In doing a little research we learn that Art’s Deli goes through an amazing 1,000 pounds of corned beef and 400 dozen bagels every week. In one year, the kitchen serves 25,000 pounds of turkey!! And at one time a turkey sandwich was 75 cents (my how times have changed).

And like every good iconic restaurant should, Art’s has a little secret hidden away behind a round booth (the “executive booth”) that can seat 5-7 people.  Before the dawn of the cell phone, a hidden phone was installed in a locked wall cabinet behind this booth where industry executives could do their wheeling and dealing over a hand sliced lox platter.

The great thing about Art’s is not only that it predates the cell phone, it predates the 101 freeway.  There even used to be a Ferris wheel right across the street from this lovely little establishment, that at the time, only had three and a half booths and 12 counter stools!  Today, Art’s has been enlarged four times, and the deli now seats 150.  Two of Art Ginsburg’s three children run the business with him, and many of the wait staff have been around 25 years.

Art's Turkey Sandwich

Art's Turkey Sandwich

{Slow-Cooked In-House}

So now let’s talk about my personal experiences at Art’s.  9 times out of 10 if you ask me if I want Art’s, my answer will be “yes”.  The tenth time, I’ll likely be craving Chinese food. I now have lost track of how many times I have actually been there, but I can tell you that colleagues A through C, the Fiance, the Darling Friend, and even my Dear Ol’ Dad have all been thoroughly satisfied.

Here, like all the best delis, the corned beef is slow-cooked in-house, the shaved turkey breast is unprocessed and perfectly moist, and the rye bread, well it just makes you incandescently happy.  You slather on a little Russian dressing or, depending on your preference, yellow mustard (Colleague C discovered her new sunshine yellow love on her inaugural visit to Art’s) , and you are good to go.

Recently, due to the changing economy, the changing restaurant scene, and the changing tastes of diners, Art’s has started making some changes for the better!  Colleague B remarked that, to the best of her knowledge, it was only a year ago that she got one measly pickle spear and a shot glass amount of a side.  This is not the case any longer, friends!  Today the side portions have increased and the pickle spears are so plentiful that they rain down from the Potato Chipsceiling in a deluge.  Colleague A did prefer the Jerry’s rendition of the Turkey Salad Sandwich to the one at Art’s, but on the whole everyone seemed quite delighted with their lunch (especially the amazing quality of service and attention payed to each customer).

A new item that is featured on the menu is the homemade  potato chips.  When you dine here, these are a not to be missed menu item.  Skip the sweet potato fries, skip the onion rings, heck, even skip the regular fries, and get yourself an order of these perfectly cooked golden brown crispies.

{Conclusion}

On my last visit to Art’s, my colleagues and I were lucky enough to see the R.O.M.E.O (Retired Old Men Eating Out) club.  And, as they all sat around the Executive Booth schmoozing, it was quite easy to imagine that this particular group of white haired fellas likely were the old Hollywood elite who dined here in their heyday.I would call myself lucky, even honored, to be a purpled haired old lady dining at this place in 50 years!

For service I give Art’s 10 out of 10 possible points, for food I give it 8 out of 10 possible points, and if there were a Bubby scale it would also get 10 out of 10 possible nostalgia points!

{Till next time: Eat Well, Stay Safe, Be Happy!}

dill-pickles

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