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Bubby's, A "NY Deli" in Bethesda - Closed


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From famine to feast - we are now getting ANOTHER NY-style deli in Bethesda. Bubby's will be at 4866 Cordell Ave, next to California Tortilla, and right across the street from Grapeseed. They will be open for lunch and dinner.

A message on their facebook page indicates they are opening THIS Thursday.

Any Bethesda Lunch Bunch-ers around on Friday to give it a shot?

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Hey all - wanted to give you a little more info on Bubby's. I'm actually an investor and part-owner of the restaurant, although not involved in any of the day-to-day operations. For those who don't know me (I only recently joined Don Rockwell), I have written the food/humor blog So Good - http://www.sogoodblog.com for the last 3 1/2 years and have lived in DC for 6 1/2 years. .

Bubby's is a sit-down restaurant (take out available) open 7 days a week, for both lunch and dinner. We hope to add weekend brunch in the next month or so, and are working on a liquor license. Our chef, Frank Petrello is outstanding, and has run kitchens at some great restaurants before, most recently working at Gadsby's in Old Town. More info here:

Website: http://bubbysnydeli.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/bubbysnydeli

Facebook: http://facebook.com/bubbysnydeli

I got to nibble on a few things last week while our chef was plating, tasting and testing dishes, but Saturday was my first chance to sit down for a full meal. Now obviously I'm not 100% impartial, but my overall thoughts and those of the 3 friends with me was that the food was excellent. I can't say enough good things about the stuffed cabbage, either as an entree or appetizer. Pigs in a blanket are great, corned beef and pastrami both fantastic, and our chef seems to have a way with sauces - gravy on my friends brisket and turkey sandwiches were both very tasty, dipping sauce for pigs in a blanket was a sweetish-tomato based sauce with a slow spice at the end and the Russian dressing, which we make in-house, was creamier and lighter in color than the usual bright orange junk you see at far too many places.

All our dishes are made fresh in-house, no pre-made potato salad or coleslaw etc. and we cook all our own meats. I'll also mention that if you need wheelchair accessibility, there is an elevator to the left of our main entrance that will take you up to the dining room floor.

I've only seen one blogger put up an actual review so far, so you can get more thoughts on specific dishes from that:

http://www.dmvdining.com/2011/02/bubbys-new-york-deli-ups-the-ante-in-bethesda-deli-scene/

Anyways, hope those who live or work in or near Bethesda, (or those that just want to make the journey) will have a chance to try it out soon. Please let me/us know what you think by posting your thoughts here afterward.

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we cook all our own meats.

Could you elaborate a bit more? Does this mean that you take fresh brisket and corn it for corned beef, spice and smoke it for pastrami? Or does it mean, as at most delis, that you get a cooked corned brisket or pastrami, made in a factory, remove it from its cryovac pack and then steam it before slicing and serving? If so, which brand are you using?

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Could you elaborate a bit more? Does this mean that you take fresh brisket and corn it for corned beef, spice and smoke it for pastrami? Or does it mean, as at most delis, that you get a cooked corned brisket or pastrami, made in a factory, remove it from its cryovac pack and then steam it before slicing and serving? If so, which brand are you using?

A very good question indeed. We use the best brands we have available for different meats which can vary from product to product, but includes Hebrew National and National Deli products. All our meat products are sourced from NY and NJ. We don't do the pastrami curing in-house, but the other meats we use, from brisket to corned beef to turkey we receive fresh and prepare and cook it in-house. I'm not the chef of course, but happy to find out the answer to any questions I don't already know the answer to!

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Oh, they have a cooler full of Dr. Brown's, no worry.

Four of us went by for lunch last week on opening day. There were a few minor nits, but overall very good, especially for being there an hour after they opened the doors.

So, just a few random thoughts. Corned beef and pastrami were both quite good. Not too lean, and though I personally prefer a little more smoke and spice in my pastrami, this was fine. They gotta work on the bread, though. The rye was just ok. VERY good pickle plate. Good whitefish salad, fair bagels. Excellent chopped liver. Brisket was pretty bland.

They're literally around the corner from Uptown Deli, which just opened a couple of months ago. Hope they both push each other to be better and both flourish.

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That's too bad. Breads Unlimited is so close and their rye bread is excellent.

Actually, I think they do use Breads Unlimited. The bread had body, but there was no crisp to the crust. That also could be that BU delivers in plastic bags, which destroys the crust.

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Bubby's is a sit-down restaurant (take out available) open 7 days a week, for both lunch and dinner.

Website says you're open until 9:00 on weekdays -- based on which, I came by at 8:30 last night, but the door was locked and it appeared it had been quite a while since the kitchen was up and running. All of which is simply to say that you should edit your site accordingly to reflect your actual hours. Looking forward to trying it out. (First report I've heard is that the corned beef is distinctly superior to Uptown's, but not so the whitefish salad.)

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Just an FYI, Bubby's is celebrating its one-month anniversary with a different special each day this week:

Monday: 1/4 pound Kosher hot dog with sauerkraut, French Fries and a soda $ 3.95

Tuesday: Potato Knish for $ 1.95 with any sandwich purchase.

Wednesday: Bubby's Best Pastrami Reuben with side dish for $ 9.95

Thursday: Open face Hot Roast Turkey with gravy, cranberry sauce, challah stuffing and mashed potatoes for 9.95.

Friday: Bubby does a Duo - Hot corned beef and Pastrami on grilled rye, open face, with sauerkraut, topped with melted Swiss cheese and Russian Dressing, served with french fries 9.95

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Just an FYI, Bubby's is celebrating its one-month anniversary with a different special each day this week:

Are these specials for lunch only?

Good report from Todd Kliman in today's Chog:

W o r d o f M o u t h . . .

You can talk about the bread, and it's true -- a deli can't be great without good, crusty rye bread. The quality of the meats, the way they're sliced, the way they're spiced -- all important considerations.

But a good deli is also a mood, a certain quality of light, a crackle in the air. Sitting down to lunch or dinner ought to be like getting that first hit of mustard on a sandwich -- zesty, and with an unmistakable flavor of Old World soul.

The new Bubby's New York Deli (4866 Cordell Ave., Bethesda; 301-941-1404) isn't deli perfection, and it's still too new to have developed an authentic character -- the place just opened a month ago -- but one thing it does not lack: It does not lack for zest.

I've been twice, now, and have been called "sweetie" by one waitress and winked at by another (a form of thank you for the reminder to check on a dish that had yet to arrive). If you're lucky, GM Jeff "Louie" Manas may sidle by in his dark glasses and white gambler's mustache to present you a taste of halvah with the check.

The cavernous, glass-fronted space needed lots of warming up, and though it could be warmer, still, it's warm. Sepia-tinted photographs of bubbies peer out over the dining room from their perch in "Bubby's Corner" -- in a touch reminiscent of the local rec center, customers are invited to bring pictures of their own for hanging. On the steps leading up to the restaurant, management has scrawled the highlights of the menu -- in green chalk. You have to stop and remind yourself that you're in Bethesda.

And the food?

I had a very good corned beef reuben, though the rye bread could have been thicker, and a very good hot pastrami on grilled rye, though the meat could have been more generously portioned. High marks also for the brisket, nicely cooked and piled atop shingled slices of challah, the whole thing drenched with gravy. (All the meats are prepared in-house and sliced to order.)

I love the pickle bowl, filled with sour tomatoes, two kinds of pickle, and sauerkraut. And I also love that the waitresses know to keep the bowl full at all times.

The matzo ball soup features what ought to be a sinker, it's so huge, squatting in a delicate, carrot-strewn broth; but it's almost as light and fluffy as a marshmallow.

There's good, not great, knishes. The egg salad sandwich is a skimpy, slap-dash production. The latkes are sodden. The blintzes are fine, nothing special.

One innovation: chicken fried chicken livers, with horseradish sauce. Excellent.

Desserts are on display in a lighted case near the front. They include several sweets from Junior's, in Brooklyn, including a fudgy chocolate cake and a good cheesecake. The light, layered carrot cake comes without that pedigree, but it's an even better bet. …

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Went for lunch their earlier this week. It is nice sitdown space and the staff was friendly. I had the bowl of soup and half sandwich lunch special for $11 which was a good deal. it is also a large amount of food because the bowl of soup is really big. I had the very tasty chicken soup studded with carrots, celery, and lots of chicken. I also opted to add a matzo ball which was the size of baseball, but pretty light and fluffy (I've had lighter, but this was definitely lighter and of the less dense variety - sorry for you meshugenahs who like hard matzo balls such as my in-laws). I really like the flavor of the broth and the texture of the ball, but I thought the ball itself needed some seasoning - it was pretty plain. For the half sandwich, I had the pastrami on rye and the waitress nicely accomodated by request of a side of cole slaw and russian dressing. The sandwich was a good, normal size (not gargantuan like some other delis) and I really liked the meat - good flavor, a bit fatty, but not overly. The rye also was cut pretty thick which was good to hold the sandwich together - instead of falling apart in a gloppy mess.

Also, the coleslaw was good - fresh, a bit sweet - like I like. My one big complaint with Parkway Deli is their coleslaw sucks. II also enjoyed having the well-stocked pickle bowl with half sours, pickled tomatos, full sours, and sauerkraut. However, I didn't really think any of it was that great - ok, but not picklicious. They were nice about refilling it though. I would definitely go again and try out some of the other deli delights - including the big cakes shipped in from NY.

Afterward, I walked around the corner and checked out the Uptown Deli - which is more sandwich shop with counter service and a side room with tables - like Attmans. Also like Attman's Uptown plays up the Yiddishkeit in its menu more with lots of different sandwich combos and liberal use of deli yiddish. Sadly, I was too full to eat anything except a black and white cookie - which kind of sucked in flavor and was ridiculously expensive at $2.50ish - I'm not sure if they charged by the pound or something. I'll have to come back soon to check out the sandwiches here.

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Went there today for lunch but never got to try the sandwiches. Arrived with the restaurant a quarter full. After our sandwiches still hadn't arrived after 40 minutes we left (waitress was basically MiA). Complained to the owner who said "I guess the kitchen is backed up." Prediction. Ths place is closed in a year.

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I have been to Bubby's for takeout a few times in the past few weeks and been VERY happy with it. Have to respectfully disagree with the posters above and thinks that Bubby's blows Uptown away.

During Pesach, I had to put together a last minute sedar for second night. Bubby's really helped me out set me up with Charoset and everything for a sedar plate.

The brisket was tender and flavorful, Kugle was just the right amount of sweet.

I also had to take some chicken soup to a sick friend, Uptown had closed early while Bubby's was open - My friend from New York thought the soup was perfect and the matzah ball spot on for both texture and density.

I can't speak to their breakfast or the service as I have not eaten in, just takeout but the counter service has always been friendly and efficient. These days that puts them head and shoulders above most.

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Happened to walk by tonight and sign in the window said closed for renovations. Can't be a good sign when they have been open for only 6 months.

He is doing a renovation and waiting on his liquor license.....for why, I honestly don't know B)

I never wish anyone ill in business, but it has been a chaotic ride for him, with uneven food , hours and just about everything. The space alone is pretty cursed and its not street level, requiring people, especially older clientele of Bethesda to walk up 9 steps....which many can't or wont simply do. I went over the other day for pickles..and he was out of them?????????

Deli's are like Butcher shops...everybody wants one near them, but they never patronize them enough for the owner to stay in business. Then they exclaim frustration/sadness that the place closes, having only gone 3-4 times a year.....Also, a great deli isn't cheap..it cost $$$$$$ to get great meats and such, but few are willing to pay a fair price for the product and go to shitbox's like Subway, Quiznos's or Cozy's. Add a screwed up business plan and general dissarray to the mix and you've got a "FOR LEASE" sign back out front in 6 mos.

Bubby's and Uptown are 2 deli's that opened within 4 months of each other, literally 600 ft apart. I wish them both well, but IMHO, bubby's will close within 6 months and Uptown might last a year.

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Bubby's and Uptown are 2 deli's that opened within 4 months of each other, literally 600 ft apart. I wish them both well, but IMHO, bubby's will close within 6 months and Uptown might last a year.

That would be sad but probably an accurate prediction. I have not been an Uptown fan since day one (honestly only been there two or three times since they opened but not impressed on any of my visits - Food ok, service mediocre Charging NY deli prices but felt like they never delivered the product.

I have been to Bubby's four or five times and maybe I hit them on good days until last week when I was very disappointed (weak food - ok service). I said maybe it was the renovations but I think I just knew they were cutting on food due to lack of business - I really hope Bubby's can turn it around.

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