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Hershel's Deli


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#1 rlibkind

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Posted 22 February 2007 - 01:45 PM

I was hoping for better from Hershel's East Side Deli, the new Jewish-style stall that opened yesterday at the Reading Terminal Market. Based on today's visit, the Famous Fourth Street need not worry.

One hopes the proprietor and staff can make a quick recovery from today's disappointing experience.

What I won't hold against them is running out of matzoh ball soup at 1:30 p.m. and falling behind on pastrami (a 20-minute wait was forecast if I wanted any). That's the sort of thing that can happen to any new restaurant as it tries gauge demand.

What I will hold against them was the quality of the corned beef. A fair (but by no means large) sized sandwich arrived with stringy, pedestrian tasting meat. It looked like it was a combination of overcooked/steamed and/or sliced with the grain rather than against it. Cutting corned beef, pastrami and brisket with the grain is a shandah of the first magnitude. I give them credit for hand-carving the meat, and passing out tastes a la Katz's. But when I looked at the carving stations, each one was filled with stringy shards of overcooked flesh.

When I asked my waitress for a Cel-Ray, she looked at me cross-eyed. When I told her the owner would know what it was, she then asked me what I wanted to drink.

It took about 10 minutes to get my sandwich (adorned with two small slices of pickle, though it was a very good pickle) even though I was the only unserved customer at the seating counter and there were only a couple of people lined up at the take-away counter.

They did stock belly (salty) lox, which I ordered to take home. It appeared to be sliced competently, though not as thin as at The Famous.

With the Flower Show coming up in just over a week's time, Hershel needs to get its act together, and quickly. Otherwise, they're gonna get slammed. Failing to come through then will mean a lot of bad word of mouth.

I'll give them a couple more tries before passing final judgment, especially after the Flower Show when things calm down and they've had a chance to improve the operation. I hope they make it. But I'm not optimistic.
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#2 Bluehensfan

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Posted 23 February 2007 - 06:13 AM

Bob,

Thanks a lot for the post. I know my expectations are pretty high for Hershel's too, although it is hard to replicate the experience of Katz's (although I can do without the trek/adventure of getting there).

I was wondering more about the pastrami. How would it compare to the "old days" of Kibbitz in the City as a reference? We thought that was decent there, although not quite up to the quality of Katz's.

I guess you did not try any kugel? That was my other wonder about the place. Unfortunately my mother makes a wicked one so my standards will be pretty high too.

I think we'll still give Hershel's a shot on Saturday. There's always DiNic's for dessert if things go awry! :laugh:

As far as the Flower Show, it could get ugly if there is a wait, as I witnessed a few old folks (oddly yes...old geezers) who refused to adhere to lines of customers waited to be seated last year and plopped themselves on stools before everyone else.

However, even if Hershel's turns out to be a bust, the convention business alone will probably keep it afloat (like a few stands in the market) with one time customers for a while.

Keeping my fingers crossed!

Edited by Bluehensfan, 23 February 2007 - 12:08 PM.


#3 rlibkind

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Posted 23 February 2007 - 02:07 PM

Today I tried the lox I purchased yesterday. Not as adequately sliced as I initially thought. Some pieces nicely thin, others thicker than the pre-sliced packs you get at the supermarket. In addition, slicer didn't bother to pull the pin bones nor trim the dark center spot away, which can taste nasty. The lox itself (salty belly) was Acme and was fine.

I also picked up two knishes yesterday for reheating at home: one kasha, one potato. The kasha was very good. The potato would have been good, but it was overcooked. The person who served me said he didn't have a cold potato knish, so he would pack a warm one for me. That's fine, but I think it was overdone even then -- by the time I reheated it at home it was over the edge. But other than that problem, the knishes were very good: excellent pastry wrap, oniony potato, and a surprisingly light but still nutty kasha (looks like their knish supplier uses the fine-grain kasha, which is okay for knishes; if I'm serving kasha as a side dish I prefer the coarse).
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#4 hershel's

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Posted 23 February 2007 - 07:26 PM

B]Hershel's East Side Deli [/B]
[quote=rlibkind,Feb 22 2007, 03:45 PM
My name is Steven Safern and has come across your blog this evening while going through my e-mails after an exhausting and enthralling week. I would like to tell all those who read this Blog about me as well as our thrust into the Reading Terminal Market.
I am the first generation of a family of holocaust survivors from a small town in Poland called Dynow. My father Pincus and his brother were two of only a handful, who escaped the day the Nazi's came into their town took everyone who lived there (the majority of whom were orthodox Jews. My grand-parents owned a small "deli-market" in the town and were very religious. They had 9 Children including my father and his brother all killed that day in October 1939. My father who was born with polio only survived due to his brother Hershel's heroic act of selflessness. Hersh carried my father and hid himself in bushes on the outskirts of the town. And while hiding my father was shot by the German SS troops. Hersh carried him some 100 yards to where the Russian army took them in. In the time being everyone else in the town of Dynow was put into a Church in the center of town where they were all burned to death.
Throughout the war the two survived on potatoes and water in Siberia. Miraculously when the war ended they were still alive. After coming to this country in 1946 both my father and his brother settled in New York City's Lower East Side. Hersh went to work at Katz's Deli and my dad would eventually move to Philly. In the 38 years at Katz's Hersh went from being behind the counter to running the restaurant for the Katz family and towards the end as a partner. When I was little we would travel up to NYC and sit all day in the Deli and I was just amazed at all the wonderful food and great atmosphere. From that moment on I too wanted to make people really enjoy the "Jewish" food experience I was raised on.
To shorten the story a little, Hershel's East side Deli is the conglomeration of both myself and Andrew Wash who has not only been my college roommate but my best friend for over thirty years. Andy grew up in Brooklyn and came to Philadelphia and played football at Temple University in the mid 70's the glory years as a football team in Philadelphia. He owned his own restaurant for almost 10 years in Fairmount called the Aspen Street Tavern. He had a great following until his landlord forced him out by tripling his rent. Andy's passion is very similar to mine and we hope to bring to the Reading Terminal Market a Unique and hopefully new direction. We are not trying to compete with Famous, the Kibitz Room, or for that matter any other "Jewish" style deli. After three days in business at the Market, I would say that although we may have some warts now, peoples input like the one I am responding to will only make us better and that truly what it is about anyway.
We want to give people who visit the Terminal the best product that we can. I am not particularly proud of the comments written here, but will acknowledge that when we are behind a glass sneeze guard with nothing to hide we really do need to do a better job. We will work as hard as we can to bring the absolute best product to Philly and would love to here whatever anyone has to say about us. Today and yesterday I personally asked every customer for their input. To my surprise there was not one negative comment. I only wish there were some as those as a new restaurant we need to make sure were doing the right thing. The Knishes will get better, the "stringy" Corned Beef was stringy due to a cutter not slicing the beef the right way and not because it was a sub par piece of meat, cutting lox the right way takes training and practice and we are working on both. I ask those that read this and write here to feel free to come to me or Andy as we welcome your comments both pro and con. We want so much to give everyone out there an amazing experience when they decide to choose our place to eat for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Also we are trying to do it as affordably as possible, just compare our prices with everyone else. If you want us to be successful and be able to serve the Terminal clientele delicious Jewish cuisine as much as I would like to, please let us know by stopping by, introduce yourself and tell us what you think. I don't have a problem with anyone’s comments, as long as they are constructive. It is easy to rip someone for doing a bad job, but don't judge us on our first couple of days. I've invested everything I have and then some on this Idea of Hershel's. We are going to be around a long time whether you want us to or not. Hopefully you will be with us and help us do better instead of telling everyone we’re no Katz or Famous, after all we never could be, nor could they be us. Comparisons given equal venues are ok but everyone has a choice where they eat and what they eat, and as far as I'm concerned The Terminal has some great venues that we are trying to be one of. I look forward to meeting all of you, and I thank you all your responses.

Steven Safern

#5 philadining

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Posted 23 February 2007 - 07:49 PM

Welcome to eGullet, Steven, and thanks for joining us here.

I know it's hard to hear critiques when your endeavor is such a personal and emotional one, in addition to a business proposition. But I do hope that you take these comments as I'm sure they were intended, as notes that we all hope you can use to improve. I don't think anyone is making a final judgment just yet!

And proper hand-slicing is indeed an impressive skill, so good luck getting everyone trained, it really does make a difference when done well, and I hope to partake of some nice pastrami soon...

Thanks again for participating in this discussion, and best wishes for a successful launch of this welcome addition to the RTM.

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#6 KatieLoeb

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Posted 23 February 2007 - 10:03 PM

Steven:

Let me personally welcome you to eGullet and particularly the PA forum. We're delighted to have you join us here. As a restaurant professional myself, I understand completely how all encompassing this new endeavor of yours is. I certainly hope you'll have time to chime in on some other threads here as well, and let us get to know you and what you like to eat when you aren't working! I hope our criticism is taken as it was intended. We're a tough crowd, but understanding and fiercely loyal. I have no doubt you've just met your first regulars, you just haven't seen our faces yet!

I wish you and Andy the best of luck with Hershel's. Thank you for sharing your family's history with us. The store certainly has a great pedigree in the deli business! I'll stop by next time I'm at the RTM and introduce myself. I'm way overdue for a knish, and reading about them has gotten the jones going. You might even see me this Sunday!

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#7 rlibkind

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Posted 26 February 2007 - 10:48 AM

Steven,

Welcome to eGullet, and many thanks for taking my comments as they were intended -- constructive criticism. I don't expect you to be Katz's, the Famous, or even Goodman's (the deli of my wasted youth in Elizabeth NJ). And given the quality of your response and your commitment to making things better, I certainly look forward to regular visits (and purchases). I'm out of town this week but will stop by and say hello when I'm back at the market.

Good luck dealing with the Flower Show crowds.
Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

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#8 hershel's

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Posted 26 February 2007 - 09:10 PM

Bob,
As we are closing out our first week here in the Market, I can honestly say that your comments and that of those other readers and visitors to our establishment have crossed all boundaries. I, may be my biggest critique, and am tougher than anyone else out there. I will strive to make sure our pastrami is of a higher quality, which at this point still needs a lot of work, as well as those carving having both the knowledge and ability to make a great sandwich for those that choose to eat it. I am as you may guess still a little disappointed also. That however does not mean I will be resting on my corned beef and rye. Our brisket and corned beef is very good and most of our salads will compare with the best of anyone else. I welcome you and your readers to give me feed back from time to time and keep us on our feet, because anyone who truly knows me knows that I will not be satisfied just being in the Terminal with such icons as exist there. I do take pride in every aspect of our business, and can only hope in 30 years from now I can be mentioned in the same breath as those who started before me.
To everyone else out there feel free to stop by and tell us what you like and what you would like us to change. Maybe you have a suggestion that will help us serve you and all who come and visit in a better and more enjoyable experience.
Thanks for all of your comments!
Steven

#9 Vadouvan

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 04:02 PM

Steven, welcome to e-gullet.
Here are a few thoughts.
I had lunch at RTM today with a co-worker who got a pastrami sandwich, he said it was delicious.
I am sure your food will continue to evolve so take these comments with a grain of salt.
I am well aware of the craziness that happens when new food operations open, one thing that has to happen in the middle of all that however is how the food is presented to the dining public.

A few technical problems:
Slicing is cumbersome...
Your slicers wear sterile vinyl gloves which fit looser but they need to get gloves that fit thier hands.
The gloves are too big and leave an overhang past the end of the thumb.
It makes slicing closely annoying, and it takes them a bit longer than it needs to.
Latex would be better but some people are allergic to latex.
Look into Sterile Nitrile gloves.

The knives are also not sharp enough and too wide.
You need narrower sharper blades.

General Housekeeping :

I think it's a good idea that if one scoops out any food from the prepared foods containers, they should spread it out afterwards to cover the void created by the last scoop rather than one big hole in the corner, just looks better, it's little details that count.

The meat scraps on the carving boards should probably be wiped off every now and then, less messy means more appetizing.

What are your thoughts about leaving the corned beef and pastrami under a heat lamp as opposed to in some of the braisng liquid ?
does it dry out ?

It's also nice to meake sure the staff occasionally keeps an eye on wiping down the eating counter, again these are not slams, I am just saying it from the perspective of those who would want to sit at the counter and eat a sandwich.
I look foward to trying a sandwich this weekend.

#10 Andrew Fenton

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 04:20 PM

I was at RTM yesterday and gave Hershel's a try. I thought the pastrami was quite good: nice and fatty, with a great flavor. The meat was a little thickly sliced-- but it's also clear that the workers are still learning. In time, I'm sure they'll get it down. I agree, too, with Vadouvan: the cutting boards were pretty cluttered with meat scraps and ends. (Which actually looked pretty tasty in their own right; still, better to keep things neat.)

I had a talk with one of the owners-- Andy, I guess, as he hadn't heard of eGullet. He said business was good; indeed, even at 3 PM or so, they were doing a pretty brisk(et) business.

It definitely has a niche, and I'm sure I'll be back. When could I *not* do with a Reuben, after all?

#11 hershel's

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 08:08 PM

Vadouvan,
I sincerely thank you for your observations and comments. They are right on target. We have discussed the issues with the cutting boards, and countertops with the staff. Although keeping the meats in the juices they are cooking in would be most effect it at times is not always practical, though I would prefer to use that route. The main reason is at this time we are not physically able to, and we are still experimenting with different cooking techniques. Unfortunately there is no perfect solution while hand carving your meats in a high volume environment, we will continue to listen to all suggestions and try and implement them. Today our Pastrami was rather good, but the corned beef was too lean, with too little fat content to give it the juicy good taste that I believe it needs to meet our expectations. Andy and I will concentrate on a better system, and hope you see improvements in our everyday operation in the near future. As the flower show is upon us we are awkwardly working on making sure we can minimize our ineptness, and give the masses of Flower Show goers a good view of what we have the potential to do. One again, feel free to let us know how we're doing, as we do respect and honor your opinions

Steven Safern

#12 jmbrightman

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 08:19 PM

Steven,

I look forward to visiting. The terminal is one of my favorite places in the city - when out of town family visits. it is a mandatory stop. I don't recall any attempt at Jewish deli, and I have been a RTM patron since the bad old early 80's (Sandwich Stan is the closest I can think of). There is much discussion on this board over the propriety of discussing the merits of a restaurant within the first couple of weeks of opening. It sounds like you are off to a good start, all things considered.

#13 MarketStEl

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 09:58 PM

Thank you for the backstory, Steven. I do have one question:

Andy grew up in Brooklyn and came to Philadelphia and played football at Temple University in the mid 70's the glory years as a football team in Philadelphia.

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Temple had glory days in football?

I remember Cosby busting Temple football's chops in a comedy routine called "TV Football" off one of his late-1960s/early-1970s albums. As he put it, "It was always 1st and 49 on our own 1."


Steven,

I look forward to visiting.  The terminal is one of my favorite places in the city - when out of town family visits. it is a mandatory stop.  I don't recall any attempt at Jewish deli, and I have been a RTM patron since the bad old early 80's (Sandwich Stan is the closest I can think of).  There is much discussion on this board over the propriety of discussing the merits of a restaurant within the first couple of weeks of opening.  It sounds like you are off to a good start, all things considered.

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1) Why visit only when you have guests from out of town? Or do you live too far away to make it a regular place for grocery shopping?

2) Definitely not Jewish deli, either, but what about Spataro's?

3) If you have an owner who is committed to giving his customers the best, as Steven is, then informed critical conmments can be useful feedback, as he recognizes.
Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia
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#14 jmbrightman

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 08:24 AM

I visit whenever I am in the city. When out of town family visits, I make a point to take them to RTM in the same way I take them to 9th St and Independence Hall. Living and working in South Jersey, RTM is not a convenient shopping option. With regard to Spataro's, I always thought of that as goyishe deli, not close to what I think of as a Jewish deli. No Hebrew National salami, kasha, chopped liver, knishes or chicken fat to be found at Spataro, IIRC.

Edited by jmbrightman, 02 March 2007 - 08:24 AM.


#15 ludja

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 09:09 AM

Is chopped liver on the menu at Hershel's?

(I need to pass the info on to a friend local to RTM and I keep a network of good chopped liver purveyors on my radar for when I travel... :smile:)
"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

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#16 rlibkind

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 12:23 PM

. . . I don't recall any attempt at Jewish deli, and I have been a RTM patron since the bad old early 80's

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There was in the mid-1980s, iirc, located where the Down Home Diner is now. It was, however, more of an "appy", i.e., appetizer store, than a deli, in the sense that they had a wide selection of both cured meats, smoked fishes, and salads, but they didn't do hot pastrami, corned beef, brisket. I thought they did what they did well, but I think the slightly out-of-the-way location and concentration on take-home rather than eat-here contributed to their demise; the biggest factor is that, iirc, they opened immediately prior to (or was it in the midst of?) the big reconstruction of the RTM in connection with the building of the convention center.
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#17 ghostrider

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 12:42 PM

General Housekeeping :

I think it's a good idea that if one scoops out any food from the prepared foods containers, they should spread it out afterwards to cover the void created by the last scoop rather than one big hole in the corner, just looks better, it's little details that count.

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Funny, I have exactly the opposite reaction. I see something perfectly smooth in a tray & my immediate thoughts are "How long has that been sitting there?" and "What's wrong with it that people aren't ordering it?"

A little disarray can be a good thing.
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#18 rlibkind

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Posted 18 March 2007 - 09:45 AM

In my initial post, despite concerns about its first week of operation, I said I'd hold off a more definitive judgement and give Hershel's more time to get its act together.

Well, the act may still need some fine-tuning, but they've got a show.

Yesterday I sat down at the counter had ordered a cup of knaidel (matzoh ball) soup, pastrami on rye, and Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray. The soup arrived in about a minute, and the sandwich two or three minutes later. Quite unlike the long wait I had on my first visit.

The soup was quite good. Some fresh onion, celery and carrots (just like grandma used to make, if my grandma had been a good cook; she wasn't) in a tasty chicken broth with enough fat to provide viscosity without overdoing it. Four or five knaidel, each about half the diameter of a golf ball, helped fill the cup. Knaidel come on two varieties: dense and more dense. Hershel's is of the "more dense" variety. I happen to like them this way, and have yet to meet a matzoh ball that could be considered "light and fluffy"; spongy, yes, light and fluffy, no.

On to the pastrami:


Posted Image


This pastrami is unlike most ecause it actually has seeds on the outside! In the old days, you couldn't make a pastrami without seeds (coriander) and other seasonings visible on the exterior. Today, most pastramis get their flavor solely from the flavored brine injected during curing prior to smoking. Steve Safern, co-owner of Heshel's, said he buys his pastramis cured and smoked but not cooked from his supplier in Chicago (not Vienna Beef, which to my taste makes too salty a pastrami), then seasons them himself before cooking. The meat on my sandwich may have been carved a bit too thick for my taste, but, unlike on my first visit, it was properly carved against the grain. Besides, while I may like my slices a tad thinner, others prefer the thick slice. The meat was full of spicy flavor, with sufficient smoke to be interesting but not overwhelming. The slathering of seasonings made for a very delicious pastrami sandwich. The meat would have pleased my mother, who preferred her deli sandwiches very lean. I would have liked a tad more fat, but again, that's a matter of personal preference. (Next time I'll ask for a fattier cut.)

So, my return visit conclusion: much improved and a very good sandwich, indeed. The staff also seems to be getting the kinks out and working more smoothly and efficiently.

Edited to add photo

Edited by rlibkind, 18 March 2007 - 09:52 AM.

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#19 brucedelta

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 04:43 PM

I visited Hershels yesterday afternoon and I kind of like the way rlibkind termed it, they got a show going on. At about 2:00 they had a heck of a line going on at the takeout side (the only stand with a line). The person 4 ahead of me got a nice looking corned beef sandwich, so my mind was made up. Then they made a corned beef sandwich for the guy 2 ahead of me out of the scraps on the cutting board, and I was all set to tell them I wanted a nice new brisket when I was told they were out of corned beef but could make a sandwich out of the trimming if I liked. The guy behind me actually took this option, but I do not like fatty meat so it was not for me.
They proceeded to bring out a fresh steaming pastromi which looked nice, so I took this option. Things were getting a little hectic behind the counter now with the word that they were out of corned beef spreading. I correctly figured the guy trying to organize things back there was Steve and ended up intoducing myself. Steve seemed like a genuinly nice guy and I am sure I would enjoy a chat with him when he was less busy, but he proceeded to get to work slicing the pastromi. He asked if I wanted it lean or fatty and I opted for lean. He did a great job of triming the beef and piling it high. I think he only got 4 sandwiches out of the whole brisket. I asked for 2 plates since a friend and I were spliting it and neither had eaten lunch, but we both planned to have dinner, so we did not want to eat to much. Steve obliged spliting the sandwich and making 2 nice plates for us.

Before I describe the sandwich I think it would be fair to say that I would have to guess it has been 15+ years since I ordered pastromi, I just always find it to fatty and just stopped enjoying it. My wife likes pastromi and tasting from sandwiches she has ordered have done little to change my mind on the matter. Corned Beef can be gotten lean so I always stick to corned beef. But this is not to say never liked pastrami. When I was 12 or 13 years old (mid 70's) and living near Overbrook deli on haverford ave, the afternoon manager took a liking to me and hired me for the then princely sum of $1 an hr, with a side benefit of a fresh deli sandwich to take to school lunch every morning. I used to make the corned beef and pastromi. I am certain it would be against many laws today to have a 13 yo kid handling a huge pot of boiling water puting 8 or 10 briskets in there, but things were more liberal then. No one knew about labor laws, and I loved making the meats and had access to the best sandwiches around so I loved the stuff.

So with that in mind for me to say I would go back to Hershels for a pastromi sandwich is a pretty big statement. As rlibkind pointed out, the seeds and spices on the meat reminded me of old time pastromi. There was a plentyful and complex flavor to the beef, as opposed to the one note pepper tast that caused me to give up pastromi. I will certainly go back and take my wife to try it since she is a pastromi lover.
I know potato has ben mentioned, but I forgot to look if they had liver knish, but there is another old time treat rarely found anymore.

I later sat at an empty table while waiting for my friends and the people at the next table commented how deli authenic there sandwich was and the sadness that they could not get corned beef. I looked over and it was clearly a Hershels brisket sandwich they were eating. It looked to me like Seve and staff were having a hectic day, but it looks like a promising begining.

I have to agree with the upthread comments about cleaning the cutting board, as the look is not appealing with all the scraps all over.
I later walked by the side where they had the fish case and noticed the smoked treats that were available. As I love smoked sable and rarely find it like old style I will have to stop back and give it a try.

Now for the Big deli question. As I mentioned I worked in a deli in the mid 70's and I remember something called white lox, heck I used to slice it for myself. It was basically white in color and had a richer (fattier) flavor that pink lox. As an adult I have never seen the stuff or even found anyone who is familiar with it so I though I would enquire here. Anyone heard of the stuff and what was/is it?

#20 rlibkind

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 06:12 PM

Now for the Big deli question.  As I mentioned I worked in a deli in the mid 70's and I remember something called white lox, heck I used to slice it for myself.  It was basically white in color and had a richer (fattier) flavor that pink lox.  As an adult I have never seen the stuff or even found anyone who is familiar with it so I though I would enquire here.  Anyone heard of the stuff and what was/is it?

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Geez. I've been visiting appy stores and delis since I was 10, maybe younger, (lo, 50 years ago!) and I can't recall ever seeing or hearing of "white lox". That's an entirely new one to me. I did a quick Google search and found only two references. One was from the L.A. Times in an article about a bunch of comics getting together

They're remembering old bets they've made (Is there really such a thing as white lox?)

The other was a Chowhound entry of someone remembering "white lox" as a "special treat", "fattier and less salty" than regular. Which leads me to wonder if what some might refer to as "white lox" is something completely difference, i.e., perhaps sturgeon or sable?

Given the paucity of relevant web search results, I'm guessing "white lox" really isn't white lox.
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#21 brucedelta

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 07:56 PM

The other was a Chowhound entry of someone remembering "white lox" as a "special treat", "fattier and less salty" than regular. Which leads me to wonder if what some might refer to as "white lox" is something completely difference, i.e., perhaps sturgeon or sable?
Given the paucity of relevant web search results, I'm guessing "white lox" really isn't white lox.

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I have no idea what it really was, but the fatty and less salty description lines up perfectly with my memory. I also remember it coming in whole sides of similar size and shape to the standard Nova and Belly lox sides.
As I think about it I remember it as being more expensive than the others and it not always being available. I remmeber Sam the counter man advising customers that he had it in the "psst, I got white lox today" sense.

I decided to look at the Barney Greengrass website and see if I could find any hint, nothing obvious, but the following from the history section may be a hint as there is no reference to anything called fatty sturgeon today on the menu.

1979
NEW YORK POST
Greengrass Customers
"...Alfred Hitchcock is another Greengrass customer. He orders ten pounds of "fatty" sturgeon & has it flown to Hollywood to help him maintain his shape"

I am sure it was not sable as sable has always been my favorite smoked fish, and it was the wrong physical shape.

Edited by brucedelta, 19 March 2007 - 07:58 PM.


#22 dagordon

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 09:30 PM

Is it possible that white lox is just lox made from the same fish as the "white salmon" that you get in a sushi place?

I suspect "fatty sturgeon" in the quote just refers to a fatty cut of sturgeon, maybe the belly?

You could always call Barney Greengrass and ask, I'm sure they'd be willing to help.

Edited by dagordon, 19 March 2007 - 09:30 PM.


#23 brucedelta

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 12:28 PM

Is it possible that white lox is just lox made from the same fish as the "white salmon" that you get in a sushi place?

I suspect "fatty sturgeon" in the quote just refers to a fatty cut of sturgeon, maybe the belly?

You could always call Barney Greengrass and ask, I'm sure they'd be willing to help.

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I did not have high hopes for help from Greengrass, after all it is calling one of the NY attitude places and I put them in the same service vein the old Ratner's (now a Sleepy's) or even Peter Luger, but I decided to make the call.
Bottom line is the guy who answered the phone had the expected accent and attitude (not in a negative sense) and stated in a defacto way that they do not have and never heard of such a product. He offered that some lox comes lighter in color than others, but this was not the case. It was milk white flesh. So with my curiostity up I decided to look further folowing the white salmon sushi idea and found the following informations from Petrossian:

Classic Smoked White Salmon
First take a taste and let its rich, buttery goodness linger on your palate. Then take a look at its creamy color and you'll grasp why this beautiful "blonde" is so distinctive. Nurtured in the Baltic's coastal waters, it's meticulously prepared by hand with Sel de Guerande, then smoked over beechwood to impart a rare, haunting flavor. Superb! 1.1 lb. sliced. $95

Posted Image

This could be the dawn of a new tasting club idea!

Additionally Wikipedia offered this:

Salmon flesh is generally orange to red in colour, although there are some examples of white fleshed wild salmon. The natural colour of salmon results from carotenoid pigments, largely astaxanthin (E161j), in the flesh.[6] Wild salmon get these carotenoids from eating krill and other tiny shellfish. Because consumers have shown a reluctance to purchase white fleshed salmon, astaxanthin, and very minutely canthaxanthin (E161g)), are added as artificial colourants to the feed of farmed salmon because prepared diets do not naturally contain these pigments. Astaxanthin is a potent antioxidant that stimulates the development of healthy fish nervous systems and that enhances the fish's fertility and growth rate. Research has revealed canthaxanthin may have negative effects on the human eye, accumulating in the retina at high levels of consumption.[6] Today the concentration of carotenoids (mainly canthaxanthin and astaxanthin) exceeds 8 mg/kg of flesh and all fish producers try to reach a level that represents a value of 16 on the "Roche Color Card", a colour card used to show how pink the fish will appear at specific doses. This scale is specific for measuring the pink colour due to astaxanthin and is not for the orange hue obtained with canthaxanthin. The development of processing and storage operations, which can be detrimental on canthaxanthin flesh concentration, has led to an increased quantity of pigments added to the diet to compensate for the degrading effects of the processing. In wild fish, carotenoid levels of up to 20-25 mg are present, but levels of canthaxanthin are, in contrast, minor.

#24 Bluehensfan

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Posted 25 March 2007 - 05:10 PM

Well we finally got around to trying Hershel's on Saturday. To be honest with you, we were floored by both the corned beef sample and the pastrami sandwich we tried. Both were juicy, perfectly cooked, and as good as anything we've tried elsewhere or up the road a hundred miles or so. Whatever opening day jitters with the cold cuts have been apparently been cleared up and then some. Also, whoever we were talking to at Hershels's could not have been nicer, as they were both extremely friendly and also very concerned about what we thought of the food (as well as asking for hints on the Jewish apple cake). It looks like things are looking up at Hershel's and needless to say we will be back!

#25 guzzirider

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 06:39 AM

I was there on Saturday as well for the first time. Pastrami was remarkable. I've been cursed to a life of commercial, store-bought pastrami - and the stuff at Hershel's bore no resemblance to what I've known in the past... it was far more complex, and certainly worth going back for.

The coleslaw was somewhat tasteless though. In hindsight, I think I would have enjoyed it better spread on top of my pastrami, rather than eaten on the side.

I have to say, though, next time I stop by there, it will be to get one of their grilled reubens... they looked *so* good...

Oh... tried a can of Cel-Ray, too... good stuff. :)

__Jason

Edited by guzzirider, 26 March 2007 - 06:40 AM.


#26 rlibkind

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 08:11 AM

I tried the corned beef sandwich this weekend (I usually stick to pastrami, but ya gotta branch out in the name of science). Alas, although it had decent flavor, it was overcooked and arrived on the very good rye bread in a mostly shredded state. The few visible slices indicated it was sliced correctly, however, across the grain.

I still like Hershel's. And as I said a week ago, they've got a show going on. But they need to attain consistency and then take it to the next level. I remain optimistic that with time and the attention its owners appear dedicated to devote, they'll get there. After all, they've barely been open a month.
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#27 Mummer

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 09:34 AM

So, Bob, is it time to change the subheading for this thread?
Charlie, the Main Line Mummer
We must eat; we should eat well.

#28 KatieLoeb

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 04:34 PM

I stopped by Hershel's while I was shopping at RTM for this week's groceries today and had a nice chat with Steven, the friendly proprietor. He was speaking with the head of Engineering from RTM and complaining he didn't have enough cooking space. Hershel's problem is that they can't keep up with demand! The stand is selling out of pastrami by 1 or 2PM on the weekends. They're working on keeping up with demand but scrupulously maintaining quality. That's a heck of a problem to have for a new business. Seems they're doing well and I now understand why.

I got a nice little taste of the brisket, the corned beef and a tiny scrap of the pastrami which was totally sold out. Everything was delicious and tasted just as is ought to have. The brisket was particularly moist and the spices in the corned beef and pastrami were nostalgically correct and making me dream of Katz' Deli. I don't think I'll have to drive so far anymore. I'll just have to get there a little earlier in the day.

I wish Steven and his partner the best of luck with Hershel's. They're obviously doing something right because every single person in line was raving about their sandwich.

And for whomever asked, there is definitely chopped liver. I overheard someone paying for a chopped liver sandwich while I was chatting with Steven.

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#29 ludja

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 06:14 PM

...
And for whomever asked, there is definitely chopped liver.  I overheard someone paying for a chopped liver sandwich while I was chatting with Steven.

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Yeah! Yet another reason for me to stop by when I'm next at the RTM but then these descriptions of pastrami, corned beef and brisket sound so good... :smile:
"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"


#30 Bluehensfan

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 06:00 AM

...
And for whomever asked, there is definitely chopped liver.  I overheard someone paying for a chopped liver sandwich while I was chatting with Steven.

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Yeah! Yet another reason for me to stop by when I'm next at the RTM but then these descriptions of pastrami, corned beef and brisket sound so good... :smile:

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And what to do with all that newfound free time now that trips to Katz's have been curtailed? Really what we had there Saturday was just as good, and the market setting beats the heck out of Houston St!