Zaftig's Unifies a Retro Atmosphere with Classic Deli Favorites
Published: Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 22:09
When you enter a restaurant and the wait staff’s shirts have corny sayings like “Challah Back,” and “Red Lox,”—written in a way similar to that of the Boston Red Sox logo—you know you want to be at that Jewish Deli. Zaftigs Delicatessen is located on Coolidge Corner’s Harvard Ave. in Brighton, near the C-Line. Since 1996, Zaftigs’ hip and retro atmosphere, filled with abstract paintings and antique signs, has been serving superior cuisine for the local community. On any given night, you can find any number of people enjoying the same hearty sandwiches and sour-pickle arrangements.
The evening started off with an assortment of bagel crisps ranging from cinnamon raisin to sesame with cream cheese. This creative substitute to the traditional loaf of bread helped emphasize the unique personality that Zaftigs tries to give off—and it doesn’t hurt that they had a nice crunch. The appetizer combo arrived just as the bagel crisps were finished, which made for the best part of the evening.
The collection of common Jewish side dishes could make one feel right at home. The potato pancakes had an outer crunch but a soft potato inside—along with the sweet applesauce, it made for an exceptional dish. The sweet noodle kugel was just like how mom makes it: a slightly crispy edge with a gooey, middle consistency heavily dusted with cinnamon and sugar that made it taste like candy. The potato blintzes, however, were nothing special—in fact, they were rather bland.
The last and probably best part was the incredible cheese blintzes. The sweet, creamy cheese filling in a perfectly heated doughy outside, accompanied by fresh fruit, was the icing on the cake for the combo.
The first entree ordered was the true, New York-style deli sandwich appropriately called “The New Yorker.”This colossal beast of a sandwich was piled high with corn beef and pastrami topped with the usual Swiss cheese and Russian dressing. The meat was slightly chewy and a bit too thick, but it didn’t present a major problem. It was nicely accompanied by a satisfying, traditional deli-style coleslaw. Filled with the perfect ratio of crunchy veggies, mayo, and cabbage, this slaw was made with the best quality ingredients. Overall, the dish was pleasant enough to recommend to those who are seeking out a sandwich.
The whitefish salad sandwich was topped with anything and everything. The foundation of this breakfast behemoth was a well-toasted everything bagel filled with a copious amount of whitefish salad and topped with the classic tomato, lettuce, onions, and capers. Everything was truly great, but the whitefish was a bit too salty. Cured fishes tend to encoutner this dilemma, but not to this excess. The side dish was another deli classic: potato salad. The potatoes had a good, firm texture that was surrounded by a creamy mayo sauce. The review of this dish, despite my issue with the salt, is a recommendation to lovers of fish.
The experience as a whole was enjoyable. The hip, contemporary atmosphere mixed well with the better-than-average deli food and created a good experience. Zaftigs also specializes in the breakfast gig, something that is easily seen from a simple scan of the menu. They have everything from Matzo Brie to pancakes. Being able to fully appreciate the signs and other decorations also added to the already-solid experience.