The space feels warm with sepia-tinted photographs of grandmothers; a corned-beef Reuben. Photographs by Scott Suchman
Bubby's isn't deli Valhalla—what is, around here?—but among the things this Bethesda newcomer gets right is texture. I reviewed Bubby's in the June issue.
I'm not referring to the quality of the pastrami or the grain in the rye bread. I mean a mood, a spirit—a certain quality of zestiness. At a real deli, it's not just the mustard that's supposed to have bite.
The staff is a throwback in its engagement with diners (winks, "darling"s, "honey"s are as plentiful as the pickles), the general manager may sidle up to the table to tempt you with a piece of halvah, the wall of sepia-toned bubbies is a touch right out of the neighborhood Y, and the appealingly rumpled, unfinished look of the place puts it at odds with its trendy competitors in downtown Bethesda.
The food? Uneven. But what's good is pleasing on an almost primal level: the corned-beef and hot-pastrami sandwiches, the gravy-drenched brisket over challah, the matzo-ball soup (featuring a giant "floater"), the chicken-fried chicken livers with horseradish.
Skip the knishes and blintzes, and save room instead for a slice of cake from Junior's in Brooklyn.