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Char Bar and Eli's Market (Formerly Eli's Restaurant), Kosher Deli and Cafe Relocated from 20th and N Street to 21st and L Street Downtown


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I went with mom this weekend to check out the newly established Eli's at 20th & N. (I can't recall what the space used to be). While the space has more of a European bistro stlye, the menu reflects much more of a New York Deli fare.

We started with meat knishes, house salads, and moved onto the "New Yorker" sandwich (a variation on the Reuben - corned beef, pastrami, cole slaw, and russian dressing), and a burger topped with pastrami and salami. The sandwiches are far from "Carnegie Deli" sized, but certainly big enough such that 1/2 a sandwich was plenty. The "New Yorker" was good - toasted bread, hot meat, ample cole slaw. The burger came out overcooked. We ordered it medium, but the burger had zero pink colouring. Despite the doneness, it was still juicy and we ate it as is. It wasn't bad.

As the just place just opened a few weeks ago, I imagine that they are still working out the service kinks. (At least, I hope that they are working them out.) Our starters took a long time to arrive (ie. other people who had arrived after us were already eating their food), and no sooner did our starters arrive, did our entrees also arrive. Fortunately, the server quickly realized the problem that we were still working on the starters and that there was not more room on the table to put the entrees and quickly took them back to the kitchen. (I suspect this is how the burger went from "medium" to "well done".)

Overall, the food was pretty good. I'd certainly go back. Good to decent NY style deli is hard to come by in this city, and having a place in the city is great.
Eli's happens to be certified kosher (so cheeseburgers will not be served. :-)). Hopefully, this won't scare people away and that the restaurant will pick up street traffic. It's going to need it to survive.

For those with kids - it is very kid friendly.

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I went with mom this weekend to check out the newly established Eli's at 20th & N.  (I can't recall what the space used to be).  While the space has more of a European bistro stlye, the menu reflects much more of a New York Deli fare. 

I think Kozy Korner was there.... We used to live across the street and were startled to see it was gone the last time we had dinner at Firefly.

Jennifer

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I don't know about a menu to go.

Sounds like a great idea though if they don't have one.

As for prices, they are really reasonable.

Apps/Salads: $2.50-6.00

Burgers are in the $8-11 range.

Sandwiches/Overstuffed - $7-13

There is a more extensive entree list including a Brisket Platter ($17) and the most expensive item on the menu - London Broil for $22.

We ate really well for what can be considered to be not so much money in this town.

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I don't know about a menu to go.

Sounds like a great idea though if they don't have one.

As for prices, they are really reasonable.

Apps/Salads:  $2.50-6.00

Burgers are in the $8-11 range.

Sandwiches/Overstuffed - $7-13

There is a more extensive entree list including a Brisket Platter ($17) and the most expensive item on the menu - London Broil for $22.

We ate really well for what can be considered to be not so much money in this town.

I'm sure that part of the reason their prices are a bit higher than other sandwich/deli places is the fact its a kosher restaurant. Kosher meat is more expensive and the restaurant must pay for a supervisor to be on hand to make sure food/utensils don't become unkosher due to mishandling.

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The quality of the meat was good. Neither the pastrami nor the corned beef were overly fatty and there were nice amounts of each on the sandwich. Admitedly, there was much russian dressing so it was a bit difficult to tell the true quality. Having had many bad Rueben sandwiches in my life, this one was a pleasant change.

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I think Kozy Korner was there....  We used to live across the street and were startled to see it was gone the last time we had dinner at Firefly.

Jennifer

Hmm, and I had been thinking of suggesting that Kozy Korner probably belonged on the Oldest Restaurants list, and now it's gone. It was there forever. Does anyone know when it opened? (And when it closed, for that matter.) I think I ate there once, and it was pretty much what you'd expect. Kind of like that place over on Connecticut that was next to Mr. Egans, the name of which escapes me, or like the Trio.

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Dontcha just miss seeds in rye?  And maybe even more, the self-serve bowls of pickles at the table?

I come from a seedless family. But I'm with you on the pickles...especially the half-sours that are still crunchy. Sigh.

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The rye bread did in fact have seeds. (love those seeds!)

But sadly, there wasn't the bowl of pickled goodies on the table. 

For that, I guess I'll have to get ti NYC and the 2nd ave. deli.

I don't mean this as a ringing endorsement; far from it, in fact. But the Celebrity Delly at Loehmann's Plaza puts a bowl of pickles on the table, as did Krupin's, and I imagine whatever Krupin's is called now still does. Do not order the matzoh ball soup at Celebrity Delly. Trust me.

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B.J. Pumpernickels, in Olney, does one better than the bowl of pickles on the table. They have a pickle bar, and it's all you can eat with your meal! They have 4 or 5 different kind of pickles, from half-sours to butter slices to garlic dills, along with pickled tomatoes.

I think their deli meats aren't as good as Celebrity Delly in Potomac, or what Krupin's was a few years back when I was last there, but their chicken in the pot was pretty decent.

Of course, when I head for Olney, I usually land up at Le Mannequin Pis instead...

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Another pickles on the table, real-deal deli which is just outside the city and worth the trip IMO is Parkway Deli in Silver Spring - which has been around for ever and is still great. Good meats, great Matzah Ball soup, and all the usual deli goodness.

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I don't mean this as a ringing endorsement; far from it, in fact. But the Celebrity Delly at Loehmann's Plaza puts a bowl of pickles on the table, as did Krupin's, and I imagine whatever Krupin's is called now still does. Do not order the matzoh ball soup at Celebrity Delly. Trust me.

I must respectfully disagree - the hubby and I love their matzo ball soup, and the delly in general. Yes, the soup is a little lemony, but it is delicious.

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A co-worker and I ran up to Eli's last Wednesday for a quick take-out. Their carry-out menus aren't printed yet, but we were able to order from the main menu. Service, yes it was an issue, especially at 2 in the afternoon when it shouldn't have been an issue. Co-worker got the NYer and enjoyed it, I was eating out for dinner that night so only got the shoestring fries. (Which, BTW, were quite good, even after a walk of a few blocks--)

Not sure I'll be back, unless they stop serving the "attitude" as a complementary side-dish :P

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I must respectfully disagree - the hubby and I love their matzo ball soup, and the delly in general.  Yes, the soup is a little lemony, but it is delicious.

Perhaps they've upgraded their matzoh ball soup since I had it, which was probably three years ago. When the waitress put the bowl of rather gloppy-looking chicken-noodle soup in front of me, I thought she'd gotten the order wrong. I said "I ordered matzoh ball soup", to which she replied "this is how we make it here". Looking down into the bowl, I saw that they had taken one matzoh ball and added it to a bowl of, as I say, gloppy chicken-noodle soup, which turned out to taste pretty much like Campbell's. I don't recall its being lemony at all, just horrid. I'm glad your experience has been better.

But they do have pickles on the table.

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Went to Eli's last night before catching a movie at the Dupont theatre at around 6:30. It was mobbed with observant Jewish families and childrens' groups-- I had forgotten that it was a kosher place. We were seated right away. The service was not overly friendly, but prompt.

My friend had the matzoh ball soup, which she said was fine (but not being Jewish, she may not had sufficient comparators...) and the reuben burger. There are NO substitutions, so she couldn't get a salad to substitute for the fries. She also said the burger was fine...but no raves from that side of the table.

By contrast, I had the New Yorker, which I thought was fantastic. The meat was, as described above, not fatty and flavorful and you got a very generous portion. The cole slaw was also plentiful, and unlike others, my sandwich was not slathered in Russian dressing (though it was there). Typically, I don't like rye (much to the chagrin of my husband), but since there was no substitutions, I had it anyway and I may now be a convert. All in all, very good. Price for sandwich-- $11 (or so).

ETA: You have to request the pickles (according to the menu).

Definitely a family-friendly/casual/cheap-eats option for Dupont Circle!

Edited by DC in DC
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I had lunch at Eli's today and was very disappointed. Reading through the thread, there's praise for the meat not being "fatty," but some juicyness is what I look for in pastrami, and this was dry as a bone with little flavor but salt. Matzoh ball soup was OK and the cole slaw tasted industrial. The best part of lunch was my Dr Brown diet cream soda. The service was slow - it took a long time our server to come to our table after we were seated, and for her to come back so that we could get the check. Total with tip was $50 for two.

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I can't bring myself to ever order anything other than the Capital here (pastrami, corned beef, beef tongue) and it's great. The sides have been consistently all mediocre to bad, though...i tried the avocado slices ($1) today in desperation and they were not ripe. $13 for a sandwich pre-tax, pre-tip means this is still an occasional visit, especially since it now requires a metro trip from the office.

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Hadn't been to Elis in a while but went to their take out space yesterday. Had a very flavorful, tasty Shawarma sandwich and a tasty cup of mushroom barley soup. One of the better shawarma sandwiches I have had in a while. I'll be adding this into the lunch rotation.

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Already know the answer.  Siena's has moved and Blue Star is in a shopping right off of off Nicholson on Woodglen Drive.  This is not in the same shopping center as Goldberg's, which is on Boiling Brook Parkway.  It is owned by Sina Soumekhian, who also owns Eli's in DC.

 
This is very useful information, Lori, thank you.
 
And we now have our very own Sina Soumekhian tag!
 
Also, note that Eli's is relocating. I've only been here twice, but have enjoyed it both times. (And of course, now that I post this, I see that it's old news due to the tenacious cheezepowder.)
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