At Tuesday's author session, which is free, noshes will be supplied by Hershel's and Rachel's Nosheri. Hershel's will be providing pastrami.
I haven't been to Rachel's for at least a dozen years. Back then I didn't regard it as a standout, but that fact that it's been in business for 15 or 20 years at that location suggests they must be doing something right. Anyone been recently?
Here are some other Center City delis that I have yet to try, or haven't been to in quite some time. Can anyone offer any recent reports?
- Pumpernicks. From the folks who used to operate the short-lived deli under the Bellevue where the jazz club later located. Pumpernick's pastrami was nice and fatty last time I tried it, but that was about a dozen years ago.
- Pickles Plus. The pickled tomatoes on the bowl always found my favor.
- Famous Fourth Street. I frequent the original, but has anyone been to the new location on S. 19th?
- Pastrami & Things. Never been here.
- Kibitz in the City. I was only there once, about 8 or 9 years ago; pastrami was okay, just too salty; at that time they were importing their pastrami from Chicago (Vienna Beef).
I haven't listed Hershel's or the original Famous because I frequent both. But no reason why we can't comment upon them here.
The Famous is a stage set of a deli, ready for the camera. And the food is spot-on, from the bowl of pickles to the rye bread to the kishka. This place is more than corned beef and pastrami. It's a cross between a deli and an old-fashioned "appy" or appetizing store, which specialized in fish and dairy products rather than meat. Since The Famous isn't kosher they sell meat, fish and dairy. As good as the sandwiches are, I'd rather come here for dinner and order the stuffed cabbbage or flanken platters. Russ Cowan (a serial deli operator) certainly improved upon the quality of food when he took over the joint.
Hershel's, open for about two years, is located at center court in the Reading Terminal Market. They started out falling just a tad short in my initial pastrami test, but they've constantly improved and now offer the best in town. Plus, all meats are hand-carved, just like at Katz's. The corned beef and pastrami are cured in-house, and the brisket is heavenly, especially when you ask them not to trim too much fat off! But if you like it lean, that's their standard.
Feel free to add posts not just about Center City delis, but any of your favs in the Northeast and burbs.