Delicatessen is a really interesting place. Located in the heart of Nolita, it’s definitely a scene. You know, the kind of place where the cool people hang out. The ground floor is a nice, spacious, sunlit restaurant known for its classic American comfort foods like mac & cheese and burgers. These qualities also make it a very popular brunch destination. On top of all of this, the basement below Delicatessen is a sort of loungey nightclub that regularly fills up with models and the rest of the cool crowd.
In general I try to avoid popular, sceney places like this, but I’ve found the food and experience at Delicatessen is great every time. They serve really good, quality food in a casual atmosphere without any of the pretension you might expect. They serve nice cocktails, have a good wine list, and serve big, hearty dishes making it a great spot for a date night or a meal out with the family.
On this visit, we were a group of six, so we ordered a ton of shared appetizers for the table. We started with the Crispy Fish Tacos which were filled with lightly fried, flaky, white fish, crispy slaw, and a delicious creamy mayo sauce. I added a squeeze of lime which made these light, nicely done tacos a great starter. Nothing mind blowing, but definitely solid.
Next up were the Cheeseburger Spring Rolls. This dish is a perfect example of the kind of American comfort food Delicatessen does so well. The rolls were fried really well until the spring roll wrappers were super crispy on the outside and the cheesy ground beef remained super melty, crumbly, and tender inside. These were really delicious on their own, but that didn’t stop me from adding some spicy mayo to each bite.
We also got an order of Tuna Tartare for the table. It was an excellent rendition with large, fresh, bright red hunks of raw tuna spiked with taro chips, generously topped with wasabi tobiko, and served over crème fraiche. The burst of salty wasabi flavor from each popping fish egg brought this dish to another level.
Finally, we had Fried Shishito Peppers, which I think was a pretty inaccurate title for the dish that came. No complaints though, all o the other elements were great and made for a well-rounded vegetable-based dish. The plate also included pan fried fingerling potatoes, really nicely browned and roasted cauliflower bits, and an awesome smokey and creamy chipotle mayo sauce.
And now onto the main event, The Signature Burger. It’s not cheap at $20, but it’s made with a special blend of ground beef and comes topped with thick hunks of fatty, crispy pork belly, a charred tomato slice, and a runny fried egg slathered with warm “cheese sauce” on a brioche bun. It’s definitely the thickest, biggest, tallest burger I’ve seen in New York and I think anywhere, ever. Mine came perfectly medium rare and was an absolutely amazing, messy disaster to eat. I ended up with liquified cheese and grease dripping down my forearms and smeared all over my face but, sometimes that’s the way it goes. I can’t help it if I eat like a animal sometimes.
If that wasn’t enough, each burger came with its own literal bucket of french fries. They were the skinny fry variety and were nicely fried. They, of course, were smothered in herbs, garlic, and truffle oil. So, yeah, a pretty excessive entree, even for me. But the whole thing was absolutely delicious.
So, if you’re looking for a lively or low key spot for date night or dinner out with the family, Delicatessen will hit the spot. With their variety of excellent meat, seafood, and veggie dishes and massive portions everyone is sure to leave satisfied and happy.
Know another casual date night spot in the neighborhood that I need to check out? Let me know in the comments below.
54 Prince St. New York, NY 10012