I stopped in at new Fritzi’s Delicatessen on Oak Park Ave., and asked the nice young person behind the counter to recommend some things. I tried everything he recommended:
• whitefish w / bagel
• pastrami sandwich on challah
• matzoh ball soup
• beef short ribs braised in pomegranate sauce
• potato knish
• savory and sweet blini
Of these, my favorite was the knish, which isn’t surprising, since that was the main thing I was excited about getting — I used to get knishes at a deli when I worked downtown, and I’ve missed them. I had really wanted the meat knish, but it was sold out — need to get there earlier in the day than 4:30 p.m., apparently! The potato knish was crisp on the outside, soft and flavorful on the inside — I was going to split it with Kevin, but I apologetically ended up eating the whole thing myself.
The beef short ribs were also very good, tasty and tender. I personally would’ve liked even more pomegranate in it, but I really like the fruit & meat combo, and I suspect this is a better level of that for most people.
Kevin enjoyed his pastrami sandwich, though he thought the challah was an odd choice for it — they did also include some slices of what I think is rye, though I’m not sure what that came with. I tried a bit of the pastrami, and thought it was yummy, though I’m not a pastrami connoisseur.
I was a little surprised by the latke, which I didn’t order — not sure if it typically comes complimentary with the pastrami sandwich, or if they just threw it in. I was a little sad that there wasn’t applesauce for the latke, but I suppose I shouldn’t look a gift latke in the mouth. I do like applesauce with my latkes, though. (Editing to note that yes, they did provide sour cream for the latkes, but I prefer applesauce, and previously when I’ve ordered latkes, they’ve included both.)
The matzoh ball soup, I have a question about, I suppose. The broth was quite salty, and the matzoh balls seemed mostly not salted. So together, they made a reasonably flavored bite, but is that typical? Personally, I would’ve pulled back on the salt in the broth and added a little bit to the matzoh balls, but I am not Jewish, and I don’t want to stomp on tradition here…
The sweet blini also surprised me, because while it was mild, it didn’t seem very sweet. I almost wanted to drizzle honey over it. Is it meant to be actually sweet? I haven’t had blinis enough to be able to comment on that.
In any case, I feel like I’m quibbling — overall, I think this is a great addition to the neighborhood, and I do plan to stop back sometime soon, earlier in the day, to try that meat knish! They have lots of seating, so while I got takeout, you can certainly enjoy a nice family meal inside. I arrived in between the lunch and dinner rush, but it was starting to fill up as I left.
Is it too early to wish folks a happy Rosh Hashanah? I think it starts at sundown tonight, or possibly tomorrow?
May the coming year be filled with peace, health and prosperity for you and your loved ones!