At Izzy & Mo's Luncheonette, A Deli Revival
Magdiale Wolmark calls Izzy & Mo's Luncheonette a third-wave deli. His Victorian Village breakfast and lunch counter is homage in thought alone to his Jewish upbringing in Philadelphia. These aren't his mother's recipes (they're better, he says). And though dishes like chopped liver, knish and blintzes filled with ricotta and honey are present and accounted for, they're less homey. There's an added finesse-the sort you wish your mother cooked with (though we'd never admit it).
Bring an appetite for all manner of intensely smoked fare-fish, liver, brisket-many of which get sandwiched between homemade East Coast- or Bialy-style bagels. Go for breakfast and get a taste of both with the Izzy Bagel ($9)-a crisp and chewy East Coast bagel with gravlax and cream cheese speckled with caviar, the tiny pellets popping like briny presents in every bite.
At lunchtime, sandwiches revolve mostly around corned beef and pastrami, with classic variations on rye bread. This being a new-age deli and all, stray from the expected and order a Cuban-style Reuben ($12). The mash-up brings the heat and crunch of the Miami favorite with mustard and pickles, and pairs it with the subtle sourness of sauerkraut and fatty Russian dressing. Instead of pork, it's filled with corned beef and smoky pastrami.
There's little on the menu of this stark-white eatery with counter seating that's not made in house. That extends to beverages like celery soda ($4) as crisp as biting into a stalk itself, and regulars' favorite coffee drink, the Cold Tahini Mocha ($4). Toasty from the addition of sesame paste, it pairs best with a slice of bready and sweet chocolate babka ($3).izzyandmodeli.com