Friday, August 14, 2009

New York Deli - Yamas! (You won't hear a single Oy vey)

One of the most venerable Williamsburg's dining institutions is the Greek deli. Located near another venerable institution-The Williamsburg Pottery-the New York Deli and Pizza Restaurant is a high energy version serving the Greek classics -"The Jefferson"; "The Virginia"; and "The Gringo." Translated into American, these are heated submarine sandwiches stuffed with a permutation of deli ingredients-ham, roast beef, salami, turkey, etc. The large menu includes pizza, salads, Gyros, and other so-called "Greek" items.

Greek food you say? But the name is New York Deli...and I can't remember ever visiting a single non-Jewish deli in Manhattan or Brooklyn. The menu selections of the Williamsburg version (Williamsburg, Virginia that is) are decidedly not New York kosher. To be fair, they do have pastrami and corned beef, but you won't see chopped liver, tongue or egg cream. What they lack in authentic New York food is compensated in the hustle and bustle of the atmosphere. Katz's at lunch time is perfectly recreated! During the rush lunch hour, you wait on line to place your order at the counter and receive your number. Once your salad, sandwich, or souvlaki platter is ready, your number is called and you find a table and enjoy.

Williamsburg's New York Deli is both a tourist destination and a hotspot for the local lunch crowd. I would guess it's a nice 50/50 mix on any given summer day. It helps to be ready to order when you reach the head of the line and first timers may be a bit confused by the tremendous selections on the menu board above the counter. Hesitant orderers are treated with patience though (try that in New York and you will be handed your hat for being slow on the uptake!) The Greek salad is a good healthy choice as you could get in trouble ordering the bacon, cheeseburger platter on every visit. If you are visiting Williamsburg and don't mind crowds, I would bypass the cheesy chain restaurants and head to the New York Deli. If you live here and have not ventured out of the safe confines of the City, I would head west on Route 60 and try a lunch here. But I would arrive at 11:30 or wait til 1:30. Either way, study the menu on their website ahead of time, so you can order like a New Yorker!

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