December 5, 2011

Sandwich Quest: Schlesinger's Delicatessen

A few weeks ago we were in need of a really quick dinner before checking out Rock of Ages at The Merriam Theater (phenomenal show, especially if you are sucker for 80s rock like myself). We stumbled upon Schlesinger's, a Jewish delicatessen at 17th and Locust. It's made a good addition to our Sandwich Quest too.

Look at that beef.
Locals might be more familiar with its old name, the Kibitz Room. We used to get menus weekly for the Kibitz Room but never made it over there for sandwiches. Schlesinger's is the same location with a different owner. If you're familiar with Hymie's on the Main Line in Merion, Schlesinger's is managed by the same owner, Louis Barson.

Our waiter Justin said the most popular sandwich is the "Mr. Schlesinger," with corned beef, coleslaw and Russian dressing on rye. I thought it was good - the corned beef was sliced thinner than at other places I've been. Justin said this is done on purpose to add more flavor and prevent it from drying out. It also was not the gigantic sandwich you see at many other Jewish delis such as the Famous 4th Street.

Hershel's corned beef at Reading Terminal Market is tastier and packs in more flavor, but their hours are limited and its often crowded, so you have a few factors to consider when deciding where to go.

Half a turkey sandwich with matzo ball soup
Kristy had half a turkey sandwich and a cup of matzo ball soup. We aren't experts on how that soup is supposed to taste, but she really enjoyed the flavor. Her turkey sandwich was basic, with just lettuce, tomato and just enough mayo (one of her pet peeves is when delis slop on far too much mayo). Also sliced thin, it held the moisture often missing in thick slices.

We both agreed that the rye bread was some of the best we've had. Schlesinger's went on a tour of area bakeries to find the best rye and chose a place in Collegeville, but Justin said the name is a secret. Any guesses?

Justin claimed they have the best pickle bar in Center City with just about every kind including garlic, varying levels of sour and dill. They were good although Kristy said the garlic was a bit intense for her liking.

Pickle Bar

Schlesinger's desserts are made by the same pastry chef that supplies Stephen Starr restaurants. Again we took Justin's recommendation and had the pumpkin bundt cake - very moist with delicious icing (bottom left in the photo below). You'll also see in the photo that the deli also has gigantic black & white cookies, cheesecake and more.

One section of the dessert counter. There's more!

A quick tip from Justin: Schlesinger's offers an entree dinner menu that includes steaks. Know that the deli's owner also supplies meat to several Stephen Starr restaurants. That means you can get the same steak offered at Barclay Prime for half the price (less than $20) at Schlesinger's.

I'd put Schlesinger's in the no complaints category of sandwich quest. For a fast meal and a solid, traditional jewish deli, Schlesinger's hit the spot. The people there were really nice too, especially Justin. We stuck with pretty traditional choices though the menu is quite extensive - anyone have an offbeat suggestion of what else to get at Schlesinger's?

Schlesinger's Restaurant and Delicatessen
1521 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA
(215) 735-7305
Open 7am - 9pm daily

 Schlesinger's Restaurant and Delicatessen on Urbanspoon


Jamie said...

I feel similarly about the corned beef. Pretty good, not the best. Love the pickle bar there. And I do have the authority to say their matzah ball soup is not great. Good to know about their desserts, I had no idea.

skippysays said...

Mmm, it's cold out and I'd love me a bowl of that matzo ball soup!

brian said...

they have pastrami sandwiches too! i've gotta check this place out someday.

Melissa Koenig said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melissa said...

Ahh I love Schlesinger's! I think their matzah ball soup and corn beef are both great, and I'm obsessed with the pickle bar. The chicken salad is also a favorite of mine, and the carrot cake is amazing. It comes in a huge slab for like, $6. It's enough to feed you for a week.