Bethesda has benefited from many new restaurants in 2010. I will say that given the number of questions we have received about this place, one of the most anticipated restaurants to hit the Bethesda dining scene has to be Uptown Deli.
You may have seen a previous post a month or so back where we wrote about Uptown Deli, and gave a preview of its menu. As you could tell, we were closely following the signs of the deli’s opening, and every time we were near Norfolk Avenue, we would look in the windows to see the progress.
While the deli was originally slated to open its doors back in July, inspection delays with Montgomery County (unsurprisingly) held up the opening. Deli owner Howard Wasserman recently setup Twitter and Facebook pages, and would give updates from time to time on how close he was to finally opening up shop.
Last week, Wasserman wrote that he was training staff and testing out dishes, and sent out a message on Twitter that up to 20 people in the area were welcome to come by and try out some sandwiches. Within minutes, I had sent a direct message to @NYDeliBethesda and suddenly two co-workers and I had our lunch plans for Friday.
It wasn’t quite a run of the whole menu, but that didn’t matter. We were to pick a piece of paper from a basket with a sandwich written on it, and whatever we picked was what we got to try. His reasoning was that he couldn’t possibly start out making 20 Ruebens for everyone, since the staff had to learn to make everything on the menu.
We walked into the place and you could already tell Wasserman thought of every detail when creating the atmosphere for Uptown. There were some pictures on the wall for Canter’s and other famous delis, a display of black and white cookies, rugelach, and other treats, as well as a fridge stocked different flavors of Dr. Brown’s soda.
The menu is quite extensive, and consists of traditional favorites such as matzo ball soup, knishes, and bialys, to more unique items like the “Nish Nosh”: a deep fried knish cut in half and stuffed with pastrami and mustard. Tongue and chopped liver are on the menu as well, and your vegetarian friend can get the “What’s Up Doc”: roasted root vegetables and creamy havarti dill cheese on multigrain bread with alfalfa sprouts and a sweet onion sauce.
Karin randomly selected the “Porky’s Triple Decker”, consisting of honey ham, roasted turkey, crispy bacon, Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, and mayo on three slices of marble rye (Hey, we never said this was a Kosher deli!). It was a huge sandwich and she said it was enough for dinner that night as well.
I selected next and wound up with the “Fuggedaboutit”, a piled-high sandwich with Italian capicola ham, Genoa salami, Lebanon bologna, and pepperoni, with provolone, lettuce, tomato, onions, hot peppers, and oil and vinegar on an Italian Hoagie roll. Now, I’m generally not a picky eater, but I don’t usually eat ham and pepperoni, so Aileen graciously traded my sandwich for hers.
And boy was I happy she did! I ended up with the “Jets and the Mets”, already a good sign since I grew up a Mets fan. According to the menu, the sandwich consisted of hot steamed corned beef and pastrami with deli mustard on twin onion rolls. When my sandwich came, the meat was on toasted rye bread instead, but it was still delicious and didn’t take away from the dish at all. The corned beef and pastrami was perfect and tasted exactly like what you would have at 2nd Avenue Deli, with just the right amount of seasoning on the pastrami. The meal also came with a half sour pickle and a side of coleslaw.
We all ordered our sandwiches to go since they were so big, and I had planned on bringing the second half of mine home for Brett. The only problem was that it was calling my name the rest of the day at work, and by late afternoon, I couldn’t resist any longer and simply had to finish it. Brett was disappointed, but lucky for him, Uptown Deli is now open as of this past Saturday, and now we can go there all the time.