One of the more persistent comments in the kosher restaurant world today is that there aren’t enough Jewish delis. Without getting into a whole debate about supply and demand, I think it’s fair to say that many people would like it if a classic Jewish deli was an option in every community.
Unfortunately, there really are very few of these places left. That said, one that is slowly but surely gaining a fabulous reputation is Greenwich & Delancey. You have to be willing to make your way to Cos Cob (though that might not be quite as far as you think it is, depending on where you live), but if you do, you’ll find an amazing delicatessen that blends the comforts of the old world with some advanced cooking techniques of the modern day.
When I was invited to try the impressive menu at G&D, I found it really hard to make my choices. While it’s a great problem to have, the chefs certainly don’t make selecting your items easy.
Yes, chefs. Plural.
G&D is a family business. David Teyf’s name might sound familiar. He’s not only the executive chef at Madison and Park Hospitality Group (a popular caterer), he’s also the one behind LOX Cafe at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. Teyf and his son Elan both studied at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, while Tollan (David’s other son and the apparent black sheep of the family) studied at Le Cordon Bleu in Madrid. All three of them contribute at G&D.
With multiple chefs come multiple recommendations. Let’s start out with the Brisket Blintzes. Personally, while I’m not usually a fan of blintzes due to the texture, texture is one way these blintzes aren’t like your grandmother’s. Sure, the filling is made from delicious pulled brisket and caramelized onion, and the dill on top is a nice touch, but it’s the slightly crispy exterior that sets these apart from their peers.
I don’t think anybody should walk into G&D without ordering the Crispy Potatoes. These Russian-style fresh potato chips with garlic and dill are a staple of a specific cuisine that isn’t as popular today as it deserves to be. The crunch is perfect and the care that goes into making these is the real thing.
Now let’s move into some of the interesting old-world-meets-new-world items. The Challah French Toast might sound like a hard sell. In a meat restaurant, you know they aren’t using real milk. Trust me, the result is still great. A massive wedge of their delicious homemade challah comes with maple syrup and some sliced fruit. That alone might do it for you, but if you’re in the mood, add on their house bacon (more on that to come) to get that sweet and salty combination.
The Smoked Pastrami Mini Donuts are an incredible invention. They arrive at your table in a smoking cloche, and you can taste the smokiness in every bite. A crisp exterior with a filling of pastrami and Russian dressing makes for an appetizer that you’d gladly eat multiple orders of in place of an entree if the menu didn’t implicitly demand that you choose a sandwich.
When it comes time for you to pick one of the sandwiches, go with your gut and select your favorite. I can tell you that the Pickled Corned Beef Sandwich is probably going to be the best of its kind you’ll have. G&D makes everything in-house, so you’re getting something worth the trip even if you want to stay on the conservative side of things.
Maybe you’re looking for fish? In that case, try the White Fish Salad Sandwich. As a huge fan of white fish myself, I’ll advocate for this as a worthwhile choice because this white fish salad isn’t like any I’d had previously. The fish itself was diced and the mayonnaise component was reduced to a lower level than I would’ve thought possible. Served in an onion pocket with tomato and cucumber, it’s certainly a lighter option than where the next few paragraphs are going.
The most innovative selection you could make would be the Smoked Beef Ham Sandwich. That’s not a typo; let me explain. Chef David had the idea to make “ham” out of beef by smoking and salt-curing beef belly to get the smokey and salty flavor that makes pork into ham, without the, you know, treif. It’s a unique, complex and interesting taste that might be hit or miss for the kosher eater, but it’s extremely well-executed and I loved it.
My final sandwich recommendation is my favorite of the bunch. Chef Tollan’s Famous B.L.T. is exactly what you think it is. Their house beef bacon, lettuce, and tomato (and some pickled onions) are served on toasted challah with some garlic mayo. This sandwich made me question why other restaurants don’t have similar compositions given the prevalence of bacon made from kosher animals. After trying a bite, I felt like I finally understood why the non-kosher version of this sandwich is so ubiquitous.
If you’d like to make your own sandwich (and you either have another person or want to take home some leftovers), Chef David’s Signature Pastrami might just be the choice for you. G&D’s pièce de résistance is a full house-made pastrami that they bring straight from the steamer to your table and carve in front of you. It comes with an assortment of breads and condiments for you to build sandwiches as you like, and it’s certainly a one-of-a-kind experience for a deli.
There’s something about going to a kosher restaurant that isn’t just kosher, but also distinctly Jewish. G&D will make you feel like you are home, and that alone would make it worth the trip.
Greenwich & Delancey
Meat - Delicatessen - Waiter Service
Sunday, Monday, Wednesday: 11a.m.-9 p.m.
Tuesday: 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
Thursday: 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
59 East Putnam Avenue
Cos Cob, CT 06807
Orthodox Union (OU)
By Nati Burnside