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15 January 2008


Reading about the reincarnation of the 2nd Avenue Deli in New York has got me salivating after a good kosher deli. Even though I have a feeling my most recent meal at Bloom's was an abberration, I couldn't face risking it. Anyway, I was in the West End and since the not-so-sad demise of Zvika, I was left with Reuben's. I haven't been for a couple of years, but my lingering memory was of grumpy staff and a dull room.

This time the staff were a bit more welcoming but, as I twittered, that dining room is still thoroughly depressing. It reminds me of the dining room at my now departed Great Grandmother's nursing home. Not because of the age of the other diners, just because it is so sterile and institutional. There is none of the warmth one should associate with a restaurant that serves copious quantities of schmaltz.

But, that could be because the depressing room simply reflects the food. My chopped liver looked good, but was fridge cold and tasted flabby, as though it had been padded out with bread, or made with anaemic liver. My main course was a mix of tongue and salt beef. Again, the beef looked very good, but the taste was awful. Both meats were significantly over-salted suggesting someone had either forgotten to rinse the brine off the raw meat, or over salted the broth they were cooked in. They also managed to be very dry. That the slices of tongue were as thick as a doorstop. Silverbrowess' schnitzel looked like it had been cooked in a factory: the evenly golden crumb and uniform thickness were a bit spooky.

The only bit of the meal I enjoyed was a decently astringent sweet and sour cucumber. Doesn't really say much does it?

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Reubens, 79 Baker Street, London, W1U 6RG, UK
Tel: +44 (0)20 7486 0035

What others think

Time Out - Chicken soup was richly flavoured, with a good dark colour


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