Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ladies Who Lunch Lunches at Greenblatt's

When I am on the West Coast for any period of time, I find that I almost always start craving the comfort foods of my childhood....mostly foods from New York that are hard to find the same type or quality outside of the Big Apple.  Yet that doesn’t stop my seeking them out when abroad.  Let me explain what I mean by abroad.  A teacher once  put the following question to me: since I had spent a good deal of my life in France as well, did I consider myself more French or American?  To which I replied that funny as it might sound, I never really thought of myself as an American, but rather always as a New Yorker.  So from that perspective, anywhere outside of New York is abroad. Note, when I say New York, I mean New York City.  As any true New Yorker will tell you, if I had meant New York State I would have said New York State.
Anyway, I digress.  This last weekend, while in Los Angeles, I had the craving for real New York Deli food.  I can’t believe that in all of the years that I have been bouncing between the East and West Coasts, that I had never gone to Greenblatt’s Deli in West Hollywood.  Opened in 1926 and fabled hangout for many of the Silver Screen’s legends, it’s longevity alone prompted me to give it a try.  Let me tell you, I was NOT disappointed.
The downstairs has a real Deli counter with the glass case full of the goods and wooden booth seating that seems to be the original seating going way back to its opening days (though they have been maintained in excellent condition).  The downstairs space is also shared by a very nice wine shop which when I return and have more time, I will definitely explore.   When we arrived, the downstairs seating was all full, so we were sat in the upstairs area, which is very nice, with the same type of wooden booths.
I started salivating the moment that I opened the menu.  The familiar New York Deli foods were listed there and I knew that I was going to have a tough time ordering sensibly and not overdoing it.  My companion ordered a Grilled Pastrami Reuben on Sourdough.  He said that the Pastrami was perfectly seasoned and not fatty and that he enjoyed it thoroughly with lots of Deli Mustard.  I ordered a TLT (my own name, you won’t find it on the menu).  Being a vegetarian, but still wanting that Deli sandwich flavor, I ordered a BLT: hold the bacon and sub with extra lettuce and tomato.  It came to the table piled high on truly delicious rye bread (why is it so hard to find good rye on the West Coast, and NO, Orowheat doesn’t cut it).  As if the bread wasn’t enough to satisfy my craving, I slathered Russian Dressing on my sandwich and was in heaven.  The sandwiches came with deli pickles and several choices of sides.  I chose coleslaw.  All in all, this meal hit the spot.  And although I knew I should stop, I convinced my companion to spilt a Potato Knish with me ( I hadn’t had one for years).  Yes, that completed my stroll down memory lane :)  While it lacks some of my favorite deli staples (borscht, kasha, etc.) they do offer a wonderful selection and even have a Vegetarian section on the menu.
The servers were friendly and attentive and we had an excellent experience.  As I was leaving and passed in front of the Deli Case, I was tempted to buy a Black & White cookie or some Rugelach for later.  However, inspired by this outing, I was ready to continue on to another spot that I had read about The Beverlywood Bakery.  I will also give Nate & Al’s and Canter’s another shot and will report on them in due time.  What I can say without hesitation is that I have been won over and will be going back to Greenbatt’s.

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