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January, 2013, Page 139
Photos by David Moore
Inside Abe’s Deli
An authentic East Coast deli that makes great gefilte fish? You bet your kreplach.
Miller’s Delicatessen opened in 1967 in Baltimore, and one of its most loyal customers was Larry Abel, who loved the food so much he took a job there. In 1989, he bought the deli from Mr. Miller and expanded it to four stores, including one in San Francisco. In 2010, he sold his restaurants to retire in Scottsdale, but those Reubens and kreplach never stopped calling out to him – which is how East Coast-style Abe’s Deli came to debut in Scottsdale in November. Abel partnered with consulting chef Reed Groban (legendary from his two decades with Marquesa at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess) and resurrected his recipes.
The menu is enormous at this deli-bistro hybrid, which sports red patterned carpets, sleek tables, padded booths and a wine-centric “Schmooze Lounge.” Meats include corned beef, Romanian pastrami, roast brisket and turkey breast, loaded with Swiss, sauerkraut and homemade Russian dressing served on grilled rye or latkes. So far my favorite is the combo ($14) of corned beef and pastrami on rye, expertly spiced and glistening with a ribboned edge of delectable fat.
chopped chicken liver
I scout all over in search of perfect Reubens and have enjoyed some of the best at Miller’s California outposts. Now, I’ve found joy in Scottsdale with Abe’s gorgeous Reuben ($12), ridiculously overstuffed with house-cured meat and served with homemade tangy coleslaw and pickles.
Abe’s is open for all-day breakfast, lunch and dinner. Everything is under $17, and a meal for most mortals means leftovers. The toasted bagel sandwich comes piled with grilled pastrami, muenster and “almost hard” boiled eggs alongside steak fries ($8.50). The Deli ($9) is a kitchen sink delight of scrambled eggs with salami and cheddar, crisp potato latke, and a toasted buttered bagel. Later in the day, start with an appetizer like gefilte fish ($8.50), which is better than any I’ve had before, thanks to its made-fresh pedigree of pike, whitefish and carp, poached then ground and brightened with carrot, natural gelée and beet-stained horseradish.
Chopped lettuce salad ($14) is heaped with lettuce, salami, corned beef, turkey breast, tomatoes, roast corn, eggplant, cauliflower, peppers, baby beans, kasha, radishes, egg, feta and crispy bow-tie croutons.
corned beef sandwich with coleslaw
It’s difficult to stop eating big plates such as kekletten chopped steak – a meatloaf of sorts with onions, peppers and matzo meal smothered with mushroom gravy ($13) – or an updated, layered take on stuffed cabbage, dressed with sweet-sour tomato sauce alongside mashed potatoes ($13).
For dessert, I usually only have room for a homemade chocolate egg cream ($3), but I grab sweets to-go from the deli case loaded with pastries, salads, meats and cheeses, all sold by the pound.
, Mr. Abel!
: 10050 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
: 6:30 a.m.-9 p.m. daily.
: Corned beef and Romanian pastrami sandwich combo ($14);
grilled Reuben sandwich ($12); the Deli ($9); chopped lettuce salad ($14); kekletten chopped steak ($13); praakes cabbage lasagna ($13)
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