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Morty's Deli, Tenleytown - Closed


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Went to Morty's on wisconsin. The dull pickles, no garlic, no real discernable spice and quite salty, should ahve been the tip off. In the old days, you were given a pickle to test the deli... if it was not up to snuff you would walk out. We should have.

At first glance, I was impressed that the maching sliced meat was a little thicker than it is at, say Parkway. A good sign I thought. Ah well. I have never been to Montreal, so my standard for Pastrami is Langer's and Katz's. Booth are different but they share a succulence of the lean meat. Morty's lean was dry as dust while the piece of meat was not well trimmed of cover fat giving the sandwich the rare delight of being dry and fatty at the same time. Just the pressure of my holding the sandwich cause the bread to wad up into doughy mush. White bread with caraway seeds is how I described it. Kay decided to ahve hummus, tabouli and whitefish salads. I would not dream to hold a deli accountable for the former two so Morty's gets a pass. But whitefish salad should ahve some good smoky fish flavor. The only smoke this fish saw was perhaps second hand smoke if it hung out at bars before Janary 1! As my mother would say.... "From hunger!"

Looking at our neighboring table's oily tired looking smoked salmon and something resembling but totally opposite to stuffed cabbage, I will not be going back any time soon. If in Tenly Town and in need of deli, I will hop the China Town bus that stops off behind Whole Foods and go to Katz's!

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We went about a week ago--thought it was an improvement over the last incarnation but not as good as it had been a few years ago.

My brisket melt was dry and while the matzo ball soup was tasty, the chicken tasted like it come from a can.

Mr. BLB had a potato knish (which has never been good in all the years we've been going) and a pastrami sandwich. For the first time ever, the actually listened when he asked for the bread to be toasted.

I'm sure we'll go back at some point when the craving hits--I'm eagerly looking forward to having a tongue sandwich after the Pomegranate is born...

Definitely not as good as Katz's but no place in the area is!

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I have never been to Montreal, so my standard for Pastrami is Langer's and Katz's.

I can't give you a chemical analysis, but Montreal smoked meat (famously at Schwartz's Hebrew Deli) is not exactly pastrami. Where pastrami is sliced, the Montreal version is more shredded. It's not as peppery, but it is pungent with a sharp aftertaste. I'd say it's a cousin of the Carnegie version, but maybe a second cousin.

Btw, for those of us who adore Montreal's "Au Pied de Cochon," check out pp. 51-54 of Tony Bourdain's new book, a paean to that rude, noisy, crowded, utterly original and delightful restaurant.

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Definitely not as good as Katz's but no place in the area is!

Yeah but at least Parkway is decent adn the pickle bar has good stuff on it. Their pastrami, while sliced too thin, has flavor inthe lean and the bread is faintly reminiscent of good corn rye.

I need to try city deli or whatever it is called..... Not good for the diet! Damn I hate to waste calories on bad food>

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Morty's is an embarrassment to Delis across the country. When it was Krupin's, back in the day, it was as real a deli as we have had in DC. The knockwurst reminded my grandfather of the New York he grew knew as a child. I will always remember his smile as he took his first bite during each visit. The pickles rivaled those from Gus' pickles on the LES.

Now you might as well not even bother. It's an embarrassment to those who know and love good Jewish delis.

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Looking at our neighboring table's oily tired looking smoked salmon and something resembling but totally opposite to stuffed cabbage, I will not be going back any time soon. If in Tenly Town and in need of deli, I will hop the China Town bus that stops off behind Whole Foods and go to Katz's!
Or you can head over to Balducci's where they now sell Katz's Pastrami and Corned Beef. But you are on your own to find an acceptable rye.
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When it was Krupin's, back in the day, it was as real a deli as we have had in DC.

When Carnegie Deli first opened in Tysons Corner, it was as good as the one in New York (and make no mistake about it, when Leo Steiner was alive, the one in New York was great). Better, actually, because it didn't have nasty restrooms.

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When Carnegie Deli first opened in Tysons Corner, it was as good as the one in New York (and make no mistake about it, when Leo Steiner was alive, the one in New York was great). Better, actually, because it didn't have nasty restrooms.

What about the nasty waiters? I had a friend from LA run into me at Carnegie after eating a Ruein and much other food for a $200 tab for three. He came over right after paying the waiter to say hi. The place was half empty. The wiater said he had to order or he would charge him the minimum for sitting down. The waiter chased my friend out of the restaurant calling him a cheapskate! :lol:

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Uh oh. I haven't been here in years and years (since it was Krupin's. Or maybe K's.). And now I'm going tonight w/ the plus one and his parents. Should I just order a big bowl of matzah ball soup and call it a day?

The Iranian former owner of Murasaki now the Tiger Kabob place said their burgers were good. That was a few years ago.

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The Iranian former owner of Murasaki now the Tiger Kabob place said their burgers were good. That was a few years ago.

Murasaki is still there, the Hungry Tiger Kabob moved in a few doors down from there. Did you think that Hungry Tiger replaced Murasaki? Or that the owner sold Murasaki and opened Hungry Tiger? Sorry if I have any issues understanding things today, that will happen when you deal with mechanics all morning long feeding you a bunch of crap.

Anyway, I have been in Tenleytown for over a year for work and Morty's is a once every two weeks lunch for us. Everything there is pretty good if you have never been to a traditional Jewish/NY deli, if you have, this would probably be considered a bit below average.

With that being said, the more basic that you stay, the better off you will be. Think patty melt or chicken salad sandwich or even pastrami/corned beef (although this will depend some on what you like from these types of meat). The matzo ball soup has good matzo balls, but the broth leaves a bit to be desired.

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Everything there is pretty good if you have never been to a traditional Jewish/NY deli, if you have, this would probably be considered a bit below average.

Oy. :mellow: Now is when I wish I weren't the Jewish daughter of a couple of New Yorkers.

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Loeb's or Max's are inconvenient? Might be a little bit better...
Max's? Where's that?

Problem is, the parents will be jetlagged so we're aiming for convenience to them. That means Maryland or no further into DC than Tenleytown.

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Max's? Where's that?

Problem is, the parents will be jetlagged so we're aiming for convenience to them. That means Maryland or no further into DC than Tenleytown.

(Unless there is another Max's) Max's Kosher Cafe--leaves a lot to be desired in the atmosphere arena, but it is in Wheaton on Univ Blvd, east of Georgia Ave. Other options would be the ParKway Deli on Grubb Rd or Woodmont Deli in SS.
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Max's is excellent for the schwarma and falafel bar, but it's not really a place to have dinner at.

Parkway in Silver Spring is probably the closest thing we have to a complete NY-style deli (from fish/bagels to corned beef to matzoh ball soup) in the area.

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Problem is, the parents will be jetlagged so we're aiming for convenience to them. That means Maryland or no further into DC than Tenleytown.

Have they specifically asked for deli? If so, a corned beef or pastrami sandwich won't be horrible-- with the exception of Katz's in NYC, which makes their own, almost all delis just open a shrink-wrapped corned beef or pastrami from a commercial source and put it in their steam table to heat up. By definition, deli food is not haut cuisine.

However, not too far afield from Krupin's or Mr. K's or Morty's or whatever it's called these days, you might take them to Mia's or Black's Bar and Kitchen in Bethesda, Two Amys, Palena Cafe, Comet Ping Pong or Dino's in NW.

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Have they specifically asked for deli? If so, a corned beef or pastrami sandwich won't be horrible-- with the exception of Katz's in NYC, which makes their own, almost all delis just open a shrink-wrapped corned beef or pastrami from a commercial source and put it in their steam table to heat up. By definition, deli food is not haut cuisine.

However, not too far afield from Krupin's or Mr. K's or Morty's or whatever it's called these days, you might take them to Mia's or Black's Bar and Kitchen in Bethesda, Two Amys, Palena Cafe, Comet Ping Pong or Dino's in NW.

Thanks - I'll definitely keep those in mind for the next outing. I picked Corduroy for our first meeting, and decided that I'd demonstrate my remarkable flexibility and concern for their jetlag/food issues :mellow: by letting them pick tonight. So I think Krupin's, or whatever, it is. I'll choose next time.
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Talk of the Tyson’s Carnegie’s reminds me of their opening night 25 years or so ago. A local PR firm invited a bunch of sensitive palates (and me) to compare the New York and Tyson’s places as a publicity event. About a dozen of us met at National Airport, flew to New York, taxied to 7th Avenue and sat down for lunch. One of our number, Rudy Maxa, had invited Elizabeth Ray (Cong. Wayne Hays’ secretary who couldn’t type) along with Brooke Shields and her mother to join us in Manhattan. The place was crowded as usual. I said to the waiter, “I would like a pastrami sandwich.” The waiter said, “No, you wouldn’t.” I said, “Huh?” The waiter, an elderly man, unshaven, with a dirty shirt, said, “You would like a pastrami and corned beef sandwich.” And so it was. Afterward, we took cabs to Penn Station and hopped on a train with a special dining and lounging car for our group. Rudy and I tried not to eat too much but we did sample their libations. A bus met us in DC and took us out to Tyson’s for dinner. Some of us had not yet recovered our full appetite but we were feeling game and not going to miss the opportunity to do an important scientific comparison. (Actually, we were told that trucks from the same point in New Jersey supplied both restaurants every morning.) At this point, my recollection begins to grow dim, but I do remember that my waitperson in Virginia was Asian, female, neatly dressed, and didn’t argue with her customers — a disgraceful failure of Carnegie authenticity.

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Don't forget the report on how dinner was :mellow:

Coincidentally, the Post had an article on the Parkway Deli today.

I was avoiding the report - you know the old adage, if you don't have anything nice to say ........

So yeah, mediocre matzoh ball soup, mediocre sandwiches, awful service. Next time, I get to pick the restaurant.

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RIP Morty's :lol: Yes, it wasn't the best, and the service was horrible...but I always liked my Matzo soup and my Corned beef/Pastrami/ chicken liver sandwich. The pickles varied from good to really bad depending upon the batch...but still...I liked it for what it was and its location......deli's are like butcher shops...everybody wants one in there neighboorhood, but only go a few times a year, then wonder why the place closed :)

The quality varied with the different owners and whether Morty or Mel was working...I shall miss it...but I guess another damn bank will open up in their place :)

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An interesting story today on the closure of Morty's and other Tenleytown businesses (including Balducci's). Is American University really to blame?

I wonder which buildings along that corridor are owned by AU. That whole area is really awful - the facades and architecture for the retail areas are really terrible. I think they make it completely unappealing to go there. I mean certainly if the food were better at Morty's (most people went there for memories or because it was the nearest Jewish deli) they could have possibly stayed open, but I imagine it's some combination of factors.

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An interesting story today on the closure of Morty's and other Tenleytown businesses (including Balducci's). Is American University really to blame?

I find the article to be a complete hit piece on AU. Even in the article, it stated that the university reduced rent on Morty's. Cmon, should they run those retail spots as a not-for-profit? Surely not. This isn't on-campus retail we're talking about here. They weren't making money or meeting rent.

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