It’s about time that a restaurant opened in Encinitas that actually fills a need in our increasingly saturated restaurant scene. I mean really, do we really need another pizza or Mexican joint? Ever since Herschel’s bolted without warning, there has been a noticeable lack of a quality deli. Enter proprietor and Chicago native Bas Emani, who came to town with Nosh and filled the void nicely.Bas is no rookie to the restaurant scene having come from a family of restaurateurs in Chicago, a city full of great delis. There should be a prerequisite for opening a deli that includes having some kind of big city roots. I would consider my past, growing up in suburban Detroit and frequenting some fine Jewish delis enough for me to be able to sniff out the pretenders. Bas has the real deal going on at Nosh and I am quite happy they are here.
Now on to the subject at hand, the deli experience. The benchmarks of any good deli are the corned beef, the rye bread, the cole slaw and the pickle, since they are the foundations for all that is good in the deli world. The corned beef has to be moist, the bread soft with a firm crust, and a coleslaw that has a perfect consistency that combines crunch and oozy liquid to balance out the sandwich, and a crisp, refreshing pickle on the side. Put big happy check marks next to all of them for Nosh.
Given that solid foundation, it’s tough to go wrong with any of the sandwich variations that Nosh creates. The Reuben is a classic and they offer it with corned beef or pastrami with sauerkraut and melted Swiss cheese on rye bread. This is my second deli choice, and even better when consumed the day after a big night out.
There are a lot of sandwich options at Nosh, including a jambon de Paris, which is a simple ham on baguette and one of my favorite memories of time spent in France. Their chicken salad is very solid and it’s served on a cranberry-orange-walnut loaf that works nicely. I’m not a big nut and fruit in bread kind of guy, but it works with the chicken salad.
For you hard-core deli folks, Nosh has a tongue and chopped liver sandwich available. A note to those unfamiliar with tongue, it’s sliced thin, not a big fat tongue between bread and the high fat content makes for a moist sandwich. It should also be noted that none of the meat used in Nosh sandwiches is pre-processed and the chicken and turkey is off-the-bone breast meat.
I also tried the house-made motzah ball soup that was delicious and will definitely be taken into consideration when in the mood for a healing comfort soup. I’ve usually turned to one of the many Mexican chicken soups in the area for this in the past, but this soup is now in that mix. While researching this dish, I discovered that Joey Chestnut, the competitive eater of Nathan’s hot dog fame, holds the world record for eating matzah balls, eating 78 of them in eight minutes. Now you can impress your foodie friends with that bit of culinary trivia.
Speaking of hot dogs, being the Chicago native he is, Bas knows a thing or two about them. His Chicago-style dog features a quarter-pound Vienna all-beef dog with all the traditional fixings. He also mentioned the possibility of bringing on Italian beef, which would make me very happy.
For those who for whatever reason would order a salad at a deli, there are some nice selections. I tried the Julienne chef salad and it was a very hearty portion with loads of fresh ingredients. There are plenty of deli salads and sides available also including all the deli staples along with beet, kidney bean, cucumber, real crabmeat, egg, and fruit salads. Rice pudding is available as well.
I was also very happy to see Boylan soda in the case that included some other specialty sodas. A solid soda is a key part to any deli experience and they have their bases covered in that category. A great looking lineup of desserts including cheesecake, shakes, floats and malts rounds out the menu.
It should be noted that an amazing looking breakfast menu complete with bagels is also on the way and should be available by the time this story runs. Check out the full menu, hours and location at noshdelicatessen.com. Then make it a point to get there soon.