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As old-style Jewish delis disappear from the landscape, we've been looking further afield for authentic ones. Open since 1953, Liebman's is a downtown Riverdale favorite, with an appealing window display of neatly stacked potato pancakes, round and square knishes, and pigs in blankets (tiny cocktail weenies rolled in pastry), and a dining room done in pale-green Naugahyde with subdued lighting, which looks good on white hair. The corned beef is the meat to get; while the pastrami is moist, it lacks smoky flavor. Also good is the matzo ball soup, with glove-soft, baseball-size dumplings.
Second Avenue Deli, R.I.P. Katz's provides backup, of course, but here is Katz's dirty little secret: It ain't kosher. For a good substitute we must look far to the north, to Riverdale in the Bronx, where Liebman's has been dishing knishes since 1953, and will hopefully continue doing so when downtown Manhattan kosher delis are a distant memory. I'm not a big fan of their pastrami, but the corned beef is as good as it gets--well-brined, fat-rimmed, thick-sliced. The matzo ball soup is... More »
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