The Insatiable Palate Review #20: Mile End (Boerum Hill, Brooklyn)

Death to Nostalgic Jewish Delis | Hello to Delicious Smoked Meat

I’m enraged when tourists believe that Katz’s and Carnegie Deli represent the New York Dining scene. People travel from thousands of miles away to taste New York. The least the city can do is send these people back home at the end of their trip with a stomach full of delicious food.

Instead, the guide books direct passionate visitors to restaurants that serve overpriced corn beef/pastrami concoctions (which will eventually end up in the garbage). Tourists may take pictures of their colossal Carnegie Deli Woody Allen sandwiches and send these photos to their friends back home, but in all honestly, the sandwiches are not very tasty. They just assume they’re having a good time at Katz’s while soaking up Klezmer music and blending in with the locals of the Lower East Side. These NYC guide books are seriously fucking people over.

This week, my roommate and I are at Mile End, a Montreal-style Jewish Deli in Brooklyn serving remarkable poutines and smoked meat sandwiches. Their menu selection is small, but delivers quality, fairly priced dishes for their passionate fans. Owner Noah Bernamoff also honors a famous Jewish tradition, serving Chinese Feasts on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I’m in love.

 Chopped Liver, Onion Relish, Egg, Pletzel

I grew up eating Korean Blood Sausages and steamed cuts of liver from Seoul Soondae. Although I’ve learned to appreciate offal, steamed liver (in the Korean form) is chalky and often very dry.

Consequently, I’ve chosen with Mile End‘s interpretation in Battle Liver. The chicken liver is grinded into the texture of pâté and served with pletzel. Although I love bread and butter, this could definitely be a long-term replacement. The onion relish and chives also balance out the subtle bitterness of the organ.  The egg brings out a wonderful aroma. It’s so smooth and velvety like chocolate ice cream.

Poutine

Behold: A wonderful hangover cure (if you can crawl all the way to Brooklyn). I live relatively close to Pommes Frites that serves pretty good poutine, but Mile End’s version is superior. The poutine at Pommes Frites comes in a styrofoam bowl which causes the fries at the bottom to get mushy (which isn’t too bad). However, Mile End’s poutine is served on an oval dish that maximizes surface area. The frites are still drenched with gravy and cheese curds, but they’re still crispy. Well done.

Smoked Meat Sandwich: Cured & Smoked Beef Brisket, Mustard, Rye

Lunch service starts at 12PM. By 3PM on Saturdays and Sundays, all the smoked meat is sold out. You have to check the Twitter feed consistently, you have to be conscious about the 45-60 minute waits for a table. You have to arrive by 2PM to get a taste of greatness.

We were privileged to sit right in front of the meat station. The cook taught us that the prime cuts of brisket go into their smoked meat sandwiches. The rest of the cuts go into the hash or the smoked meat poutine. During my meal, I like to keep a bottle of yellow by my side and spread the mustard after every three bites. The slices of rye bread keep the piles of meat together relatively well. I’m impressed.

The journey from Union Square to Boerum Hill is extremely hectic on the weekends (5 Express from Brooklyn Bridge City Hall->Fulton Street is sometimes closed) so the solution is to travel to W 4th Street and take the A, C train to Hoyt Schermerhorn Sts.

I’d travel to Brooklyn every weekend for smoked meat sandwiches and poutine. You don’t have to rely on nostalgia after all.

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