In these most difficult economic times and with the crisp chill of winter looming in the air, we all of us could use a little TLC. So we reach for what we can, when we can; from that old woolen afghan to cuddle under, to a crackly wood burning fire to warm up our bones; and absolutely always and unequivocally, a hearty helping of good old fashioned comfort food. By dining on these old reliable “meat and potatoes” dishes, we get to run away from home, even if just for a meals worth of time. We can without guilt, shamelessly escape our stress and woes and retreat to a simpler and plainer hour in our lives. Sure enough every bite as promised, dreamily coaxes us back to our childhood.
From the moment that I enter Epstein’s Kosher Deli, I am back there.Smells of heavily brined corned beef and hot pastrami hit first, followed by other die hard originals we many of us grew up on, from the and chubby linked chains of pink knockwurst (coined specials back in the day) to the half sour pickles sharing bin space with their mouth watering sour counterparts.
The retro art deco esque grey and maroon booths and the sights and sounds of the bustling wait staff, complete the childhood memory for me, when less was more and the food itself was what truly mattered. It all comes together to set me up for home style no frills kosher deli dining, without even trying to. Epstein’s is not out to win a beauty pageant after all, but hopes instead that you’ll fall head over heals in love with the food and yes, grab up the comfort.
When I ask what to choose from their extensive menu, Robert DeGroat the owner immediately recommends The Blockbuster; a Signature dish of Epstein’s which promises to combine some of the most quintessential of comforting ingredients into one tasty collage of texture, color and flavor. Moments later, the dish appears in all of its scrumptious glory. Seated on a small plate, I find a steaming plump and juicy square potato knish served open faced and grilled to a golden crusty brown, its potato stuffing spilling over the sides, with a generous schmear of spicy mustard painted across it. Plopped on top, is a mound of julienned tart sauerkraut, playfully mingling with the rest. Plentiful thinly sliced savory salami is showcased atop the pile, the complete package grilled to perfection.I take a big bite and discover by accident, what makes this dish so special. What you see is what you get and that’s just fine by me. Perfectly balanced, it doesn’t look to be complicated and impressive; rather it relies solely on the quality of its ingredients, the plump potato knish and its accenting constituents.
In my haste to dig in, I quickly glance to make sure that no one is looking and devour it all up shamelessly!
by Karen BerlinerThe Blockbuster
1 large square potato knish
5-6 slices of kosher wide salami
1 heaping teaspoon of brown deli mustard
2 whopping forkfuls of sauerkraut
Cut open a square potato knish and place on an oven proof dish. Paint the entire surface with mustard. Scoop the sauerkraut on top of this. Place the slices of salami to cover the surface. Place under your broiler and let cook till it sizzles and edges become crispy and golden.
Serve and Enjoy!
Epstein’s Kosher Delicatessen
387 North Central Avenue
Hartsdale, New York