It’s official: Bruni’s tastebuds cannot be trusted. It's either that or he’s not Jewish [which we knew but might explain why intuitively he doesn't know about really good deli meat]. Or both. I still have hope that he will turn this sad state of recent odd restaurant review affairs around because I don’t think he’s becoming Jewish anytime soon.
Don’t get me wrong, I totally enjoy reading him, his blog especially. But his resto reviews of late have been wacky. Especially this NYT review of Katz’s deli, a New York institution to be sure but not great Jewish deli. Not even passable deli: it’s too greasy, too fatty; the place is truly filthy and there’s not a religious Jew in sight.
In my opinion, Second Avenue’s brisket was the best and Noah’s Ark pastrami is the real deal. Katz’s, like Carnegie or Stage Deli is a shadow of its former self: the food is big and sloppy as if that could make up for lack of greatness.
I went over to Save the Deli to see what he had to say about this mess. And I totally disagree with his feeling that one star from Bruni is an insult; I don't think there should have been a review in the first place. And Mr. Save has issue with reviewing a lunch spot versus an expensive resto but has he been to Katz's lately? Katz’s isn’t an "affordable deli", does that even exist anymore?
What people [read: tourists] believe is the Jewish deli is an overpriced, bloated, greasy mess of a Disney-fied meta-concept of New York. Yeah, I’m angry. I want some Jewish deli as much as the next person and I can’t find it. But I know it’s not Katz’s and I want you to know not everyone believes that Katz’s is pastrami Nirvana.
PS some Bronx deli love from Off the Broiler.