I’m trying to catch up, gang! Please bear with me
A friend came into town recently, and–between her busy schedule and my constant game of doctor roulette–we decided to meet for a quick lunch at Goldberg’s Famous Delicatessen, located in the Factoria Mall in Bellview, WA. Their website gives good information on how to find them, but if the address will help, it’s:
By the way … I goofed. My friend and I hadn’t seen each other in a while again, so we met … then started chatting and ordering a bunch of a la carte dishes to split, just so we could get a taste of quite a few things at once … and I ended up forgetting to snap pictures until almost the end of our nosh. Sorry! That means you’ll just have to imagine what these things look like in your own mind’s eye
As we were seated, our waitress brought a dish of kosher dill spears with our silverware, water, and menus: nice, crunchy, fresh-made kosher dills. I only took a small bite–I wasn’t going to waste space on something like pickle!–but it was an excellent bite … which told me that my husband–the kosher pickle fiend–would probably enjoy Goldberg’s, too!
We ordered a few things to start, then started catching up
The first thing to hit the table was our potato knish, described on their menu as: Made daily in our kitchen. Traditional Jewish stuffed “pierogi.” Served with brown gravy.
I’m not Jewish myself, and I don’t claim to be any sort of expert on traditional Jewish deli fare … but I definitely know what I like. I’ve eaten and loved knishes–and other great Middle European Jewish delights as well–from quite a few different East Coast establishments over the years, ranging from New York to Miami. In addition, I’m a big fan of the knishes at Katz’s Deli in Austin, TX, too! Back when we lived in the neighborhood, you’d find us there at least once a week … especially since they were a 24-hour establishment.
Whereas … these knishes? …… these were not quite so awesome. The knish from Goldberg’s was gummy … and–at the same time–kinda chewy/dry around the edges, too … almost like it was leftover from a previous day. The flavor was bland as well, even for a Jewish pierogi. a blandness that extended into the brown gravy bowl as well. After one taste of it, I left the gravy behind completely and concentrated on the knish, but–honestly–I ended up giving most of my half to my friend … and I wouldn’t order another one
I watched our waitress drop a stuffed cabbage roll on our table next … honestly, with more than a bit of trepidation. The taste of rubber knish was still lingering on my taste buds. Thankfully, though, my fear was unfounded. in comparison, our stuffed cabbage roll was tasty and perfectly cooked, as well as a lot meatier than I expected. Sure, there was some evidence of binder in the texture of the meat (probably matzo crumbs) but the ratio of meat to rice was pretty high, with just enough perfectly-cooked rice grains inside the meaty, one-piece stuffing to make you know you were eating a dish that’s supposed to have rice in it. The stuffing was actually so symmetrical and well-formed–with a definite browned flavor to them–that it makes me wonder if they don’t make little meatloaves out of their stuffing first, bake them a little, then wrap them in cabbage leaves, cover them in their sweet and sour sauce and simmer them to perfection from there. Regardless, I could easily eat a plate full of them the next time I make it over to Bellview
Next on our table came Cynthia Shifrin’s Winning Noodle Kugel, a rectangular slice of the traditional Jewish noodle pudding, dusted with a touch of cinnamon. If you’ve never eaten kugel before, it’s the same sort of baked custard pudding you create when you make a bread pudding–eggs, butter, milk, flavorings–all combined to fuse chunks of dry, day-old bread together. In the case of kugel, you use wide egg noodles instead of the bread, so it’s sort of a cross between bread pudding and macaroni and cheese … just, minus the cheese
Goldberg’s kugel was pretty good overall … cool, dense, not too sweet. It was the best piece of kugel I’ve had in quite a few years, but that speaks more to the fact that Seattle isn’t blessed with a lot of decent Jewish delis … than to the excellence of this particular piece of kugel. It wasn’t bad … but it wasn’t really good either. I’ve just had better 😐
Along with the kugel, our waitress brought our blueberry blintz. I was expecting a light, filled crepe, rolled or folded over … but what I got was something rolled and folded and all tucked in like a burrito … and–from the looks of it–kinda baked, too. It was tasty, but it wasn’t what I was expecting.
I finally remembered to drag out my camera right about the time our Challah French Toast arrived
Challah makes excellent French toast, and Goldberg’s offering was also excellent: crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside, just like a grilled bread pudding!
I was done at that point, but my friend ordered one of their brownies to finish her meal. She gave me a small taste of it, and it was definitely sweet, but there wasn’t much to differentiate between it and a hundred other restaurant brownies I’ve tried in the past.
Final score: I really can’t give Goldberg’s anything higher than a C for my visit. Our meal had both high points and low points … which–to me–defines an average meal … even when they charged us a bit more than average for it. My friend did call the manager over to compliment him on the improvement she’d seen in the service this time (since apparently she complained the last time she ate there) but it wasn’t as good as I’ve seen elsewhere. I plan to bring my husband there at least once so he can try it. Their sandwich menu seems pretty interesting … and he’ll like that … but–from my over-view of their classic Jewish dishes–you can tell they don’t have much in the way of competition in this area.