|Traffic | Weather | Your account||Movies | Restaurants | Today's events|
Taste of the Town
"Authentic" Jewish deli to debut
Seattle Times restaurant critic
Hey, you! The guy with the deep voice who's been calling me for years, kvetching incessantly (if good-naturedly) about the lack of "authentic" Jewish deli food in Seattle. Well, guess what, pal? If I'm to believe the pre-opening pitch, we soon should have reason to kvell.
Goldbergs' Famous Delicatessen, billed as an authentic "East Coast-style Deli," is set to make its debut next week in Factoria Mall (3924 Factoria Blvd. S.E., Bellevue; 425-641-6622). OK, so it's in a mall, but this is the Pacific Northwest, and we are seriously deli-deprived around here. I, for one, am happy to cut these folks a little slack. After all, they're offering historic deli-fare know-how along with carry-out, catering, plus 200 seats where you can eat all-day breakfasts, lunch, dinner and (who knew?) even enjoy a cocktail.
Goldbergs' takes its name from Steve Goldberg, the Michigan-based owner/operator of Stage & Co., with four deli-restaurants in the Detroit area, and his business partner, Bill Goldberg, a Seattle attorney. Steve, whose father opened the original Stage Deli in Detroit in 1962, has known Bill, a Detroit native, since they were kids. "Bill has been trying to convince me to open a deli in Seattle for 10 years," Steve says. Some 2 million bucks and a mall lease later, the lawyer won his case.
While Goldbergs' isn't actually in Seattle, nor is it "famous" — yet — expect a vast and varied menu where familiar Northwest staples like burgers, steaks and grilled salmon join classic Jewish appetizers like matzo ball soup, chopped liver, knishes, kishkas and blintzes. (Note: Goldbergs' is not kosher.) A lengthy list of sandwiches named after Broadway shows and Hollywood movies includes the mighty "Titanic" — a triple-decker piled high with hot corned beef, hot pastrami, turkey breast, coleslaw, Swiss cheese and Russian dressing.
I know I'll be filling up on smoked-fish specialties like belly lox (my salty favorite) and smoked sable (black cod — hold the Japanese kasu-style preparation prevalent in these parts). And we'll even be able to sample entrees like Roumanian skirt steak and French fried chicken livers, plus sides like noodle kugel and fried salami (don't laugh, I grew up on it).
Asked where he's procuring his goods, Steve Goldberg notes that his smoked fish comes from a Bronx purveyor. His corned beef ("it melts in your mouth") originates in Chicago — where his supplier meets his demands with "a particular cut of brisket, a particular flavor-profile on the brining." Asked where he'll get his bagels, he says the jury's still out, but two local companies (including my vote, Bagel Oasis) are under consideration. Several local bakeries are tinkering with the Stage Deli's time-tested rye-bread recipe, and Goldberg says they are "95 percent there, but it's the 5 percent that makes the difference between a good restaurant and a great one."
"Delis," says Goldberg, "are a dying art, because most of the second and third generations, like me, went off to be doctors and lawyers and left the corned beef-schlepping to someone else." In fact, he did become a lawyer, but "left it behind to get back in the business."
While he agrees that opening an East Coast-style deli on the West Coast is a challenging undertaking, Goldberg expects that his local staff — led by Henry Cristini, an eight-year veteran of Detroit's Stage Deli — will be up to the task.
Goldbergs' is scheduled to be open daily from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. (later on weekends) beginning Tuesday.
Irons in the fire
Move over Morimoto! Man your pans, Mario! Seattle chefs are heading to New York to kick your Iron butts. Tamara Murphy (owner/chef at Brasa) and Tom Douglas (Tom Douglas Restaurants) are preparing to wage war. They'll be in New York this week to tape "Iron Chef America." Those culinary competitions — Tamara vs. Mario, Tom vs. Morimoto — are scheduled to air in August.
"Iron Chef America," based on the Japanese cult classic, pits some of America's favorite chefs against TV chef-celebs Mario Batali, Masaharu Morimoto, Bobby Flay and Cat Cora, the first female Iron Chef. Opponents face off in the "Kitchen Stadium" at the Food Network studios, and are given one hour to create a five-course tasting menu for a panel of judges. Scores are given for taste, presentation and originality, and each of the dishes must include a "secret ingredient" announced at the start of the hour.
Murphy and Douglas each will bring two chefs along as an on-air support team. Mary Lokar and Jake Crenshaw will back up Murphy. Eric Tanaka and Mark Fuller will work with Douglas.
The teams have taken to their Seattle kitchens for practice sessions. "We've been watching 'Iron Chef' as much as we can," says Murphy. As for preparation, "They pretty much give you the outline — a list of what the potential ingredients might be. You're allowed to bring some plating stuff that's crucial to your presentation, but basically, they want you to walk into the stadium with your knives" and get cooking.
While there is a certain amount of taping before the battle begins, Murphy explains, "once the buzzer goes off, they seldom stop taping — unless someone gets hurt. It's a true, intense hour."
The thought of competing on "Iron Chef" — which draws millions of viewers — is certainly daunting. "Of course I'm looking forward to it," says Douglas. "When they call you for 'Iron Chef,' you really can't say no."
"TV is very powerful these days," adds Murphy. "It's all about the TV Food Network. I go to the Seattle Art Institute and talk to the kids (about being a chef), and they all want to be Emeril."
Emeril, says Douglas, is actually a shy guy. "When I first met him, he couldn't talk in front of a crowd. Off the air, he still seems very shy to me, but he's learned to move beyond that in a public setting. Personally, I like my privacy, but when I'm doing my job — publicity is part of that job."
And while Murphy insists that TV stardom is certainly not what being a chef is all about, "Now it's come my way, and I'm going to go for it."
Nancy Leson: 206-464-8838 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company