Tuesday, February 5, 2013

DGS Delicatessen: A little taste of the Lower East Side

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Growing up, Sunday brunch had little to do with eggs benedict or huevos rancheros. As a multi-generational New York Jewish family, brunch in my house was called "Appetizing" and it consisted of bagels, cheeses, different smoked fish, and salads. Despite the fact that DC has the sixth largest Jewish community in the country, we really have not had a place to go to get a good Jewish meal. Needless to say, I was so excited when DGS - a proper Jewish deli - came to Washington! 

DGS Delicatessen opened its doors in November 2012, and I have already been twice -- first for lunch with colleagues and most recently for brunch with my Mom.

Knew it was a match when I saw the Fizzy Lizzy Sodas! 

A couple of points to start. First, be prepared to wait. The first time I showed up for lunch we had to leave because the wait was over an hour. The second time I came prepared with a lunch reservation. DGS doesn't take brunch reservations (I'm really not sure why) and we waited about an hour for a table. Insider tip: If you decide to wait for brunch, walk around the corner to the Tabbard Inn, order yourself a mimosa or a bloody mary and hang out in the living room until DGS calls your cell). Second, although this post is about brunch, I liked the lunch options a lot better. Third, this isn't entirely a "traditional" Jewish deli experience.  Although the menu lists pretty typical items, they each have a slightly unique or modern spin - i.e. the bagel and lox I had for lunch was served with labneh instead of cream cheese. It was absolutely delicious, and I will be going back for it soon! Really hoping DGS starts offering take-out so I can grab this for lunch and head back to work.

For brunch, I was SO excited to see shakshouka on the menu.  Shakshouka is a Middle Eastern dish of eggs poached in a tomato sauce, and traditionally served with pita or other bread to soak up the sauce. Like hummus, both Arabs and Israelis claim proprietary rights over the dish, but all I care about is how tasty it is! I really liked DGS's preparation of this dish, but thought it could definitely benefit from a little doctoring up. Since this is the only place to get shakshouka in DC (that I know of), I am hesitant to criticize it, but hopefully someone at DGS will read this and agree that the shakshouka could be even better.  Generally speaking, I am the last person in the world to ask for anything spicier, but I really felt that this dish could have benefited from a little heat and a little more salt. In Israel, my shakshouka was served with fresh crumbled feta on top. This version was topped with flat leaf parsley and a dollop of sour cream. Although I was a little disappointed that the DGS version didn't have any cheese, I still ate up the entire skillet! 

My mom ordered the challah french toast. After seeing it served at a nearby table, she requested that the chef go light on the powdered sugar as the other diner's dish was completely doused.  Although not the best french toast she has ever had (that award goes to the brie-stuffed french toast at the Carriage House in Ithaca, NY), she liked the light and fluffy consistency of this dish. It was topped with slivered almonds and fresh berries, and made for a sweet and filling meal. We both thought the dish was tasty, but nothing particularly unique. Because you can get french toast everywhere, I recommend going for one of the more interesting options on the menu. 

Ultimately, I am so happy to see a Jewish Deli in DC and am inspired by their modern twist on traditional Jewish dishes. My recommendation would be to make a reservation and go for lunch, rather than wait an hour for brunch.

1 comment:

  1. Nice post.
    I have been to DGS for dinner and really enjoyed the Matzo ball soup and babka bread pudding. Would love to hear your thoughts on how these compare to the versions you are familiar with!


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