Washington Metro – Jewish Style Delis 2

Washington Metro does not have great Jewish Delis; they just aren’t consistent or they are not authentic enough. But, there is a deli worth the trip to Fairfax, Virginia — just a short distance away from downtown. It’s called “Chutzpah”, which, in Yiddish, roughly translates to “audacity”.

In a real New York Deli, one finds audacious, assertive people, proud of their traditions and willing to say so. They stand upon the heritage recipes held close for generations, in Europe, through the most horrendous times. They exemplify a zest-for-life that few other cuisines can match. This is probably why these home-style dishes are so heartfelt and have become part of the national American cuisine.

Chutzpah has a memorable menu which you can view online, and amazingly, it is truly unique because the owners will ship you orders, anywhere in the country, overnight delivery, if you have a craving for what you tried on your Washington DC visit! You can learn more on their website.

Unfortunately, they are not a strictly kosher deli. Many of their products are, but that is not enough to officially qualify as kosher. There are many laws to fulfill in order for a rabbi to certify that, and no Washington deli seems to care. All of them have ham, bacon and shrimp. It’s crazy, but they are commercial businesses and not everyone who patronizes is Jewish. It’s a shame though.

At Chutzpah, people love the GIGANTIC reuben sandwich (be sure not to order this on your own). You can also get belly lox, the more traditional, hard-to-find version of salmon lox, as well as whitefish and herring. Chutzpah has the most authentic menu in the city that I’ve seen so far. People also like their matzah ball soup, too. If you tend to enjoy the sweeter side, order the blintzes.

Enjoy salami and eggs or eggs and onions (both very traditional quick breakfast dishes in Jewish homes). You’re in luck, as breakfast is served all day, and there are pages and pages of great choices.

For other meals, enjoy the matza ball soup or hot or cold borscht (a Jewish version of a traditional Russian and Polish beet soup). You could also try holishkes (stuffed cabbage), chopped liver, knishes, kasha varnishkas (buckwheat, bowtie pasta and great onions), potato latkes (pancakes), noodle kugels, kreplach, kosher hot dogs or knockwurst and stuffed derma. You can also enjoy the pastrami, corned beef (brisket and hash), beef tongue and liverwurst served in a variety of choices. There are plenty of hot sandwiches, too.

The children’s menu will not give them any authentic choices, so give the kids a taste from your plate, along with their mundane fare or split an adult meal between a couple of children, especially if they are hearty eaters. It’s a shame not to introduce them to real ethnic food.

Originally, you could expect to find pickles and coleslaw at your table, but tough times may change this.

For dinners, be sure to check out the Weiner Schnitzel (a traditional Viennese veal cutlet served with lemon) (it’s my favorite). Personally, if I choose tongue, I prefer it cold and thinly sliced, but there is a Polish version heated tongue dinner meal, too.

For desserts, the American Jewish contribution is black-and-white cookies. But, the European Jewish choices to check-off on the nostalgic favorites list are: rugelach, apple strudel (I remember making this with my grandma), chocolate babka, hammentaschen (mine are delicious, so it’s hard for them to compete), linzer torte and, of course, cheescake!

Jewish cuisine was the first global cuisine, and unfortunately, most delis just reflect the Northern European tradition, as Chutzpah Deli does. There are SO many ways to enjoy whole other branches of Jewish food, but you’ll have to be lucky enough to get traditional Sefardi, Sabra, North African and Indian / Asian / Silk Road Jewish food within their communities or from a gourmet cookbook.

Meanwhile, enjoy Chutzpah when in Washington DC!

Chutzpah Deli – Fairfax, Virginia
2214 Fairfax Town Center
703-385-8883

Directions: Fairfax Towne Center is located at the corner of Rt. 50 and West Ox Road.
From 66 take exit # 57 B that is Route 50 West.
Pass Fair Oaks mall and exit on West Ox Road (Rt. 608) South bound.
Look for the shopping center “Fairfax Town Centre” on the right.
Chutzpah is to the left of Safeway, around the corner between
BB&T Bank and the Cleaners.

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©2011 mystic at Travel Vacation Review

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