This is such a pastrami-starved town, so lacking in high-quality delicatessens, that when word gets around that a new place is opening, we tend to overreact, like a would-be bride waiting for her prince to arrive. Will this be the one?
The latest place to inspire these hopes is Uptown Deli in Bethesda. It is, alas, the latest to quash them, too.
Exhibit A: A runner brought a beef knish to my table one afternoon and set it down saying, “Here’s your nish.” The “nish” was also dry and crumbly.
Exhibit B: The bread is billed as rye, but it seems to have been manufactured in the Wonder Bread factory—so soft it practically dissolves into the meat. It undermines every sandwich it touches, including the otherwise good pastrami, which has a nice amount of fat clinging to the meat and comes in not-too-thick, not-too-thin slices.
The not-so-bad news? The matzo-ball soup boasts a lightly made matzo ball and a good, if salty, broth. And there’s a wide variety of sweets shipped in from Brooklyn, including babka, that will satisfy hungers both literal and nostalgic.
If only the same could be said of Uptown Deli itself.
This article appears in the March 2011 issue of The Washingtonian.