Sunday, April 4, 2010

Philly Foods: Famous 4th Street Delicatessen

Happy Easter! Fittingly my friends and I decided to go to Famous 4th Street Delicatessen, a fantastic, pretty, very Jewish diner. One of my friends had gone there at the beginning of the year and reported that the food was mind-blowing and the portions humongous. Both of these rumors were proven to be true.

Famous, as they refer to themselves, had some of the best food I have tasted in Philly so far. I first found them in the Philadelphia Magazine. They were voted Best of Philly for
Desserts in 2009. I looked over the menu then, skeptical about why anyone would spend $8 on an eclair. The reason is, as we discovered today, that the eclairs are each a foot long, about three inches across. These Jurassic dimensions apply to the rest of the dishes as well.

I got the pastrami Reuben (first picture), which was stuffed about five inches high with thick, hot, and delicious pastrami.

There was just a layer of Swiss, sauerkraut, and thousand island, but you could taste everything perfectly. The exciting thing is that there is a whole list of Reubens on the menu. My goal (my friends have yet to be convinced) is to try each type of Reuben they offer and determine which is the best there.

One of my friends got the bacon and cheese omelet with breakfast potatos. He reports that it was "as good as an omelet can be," which is pretty good. This was also huge, and he had to bring back about half of it.

Next came the John St Turkey Club. To the orderer's surprise the turkey club was a good eight inches high, packed with lettuce, tomato, bacon and turkey. Only half of that got eaten as well.

We had been slowing down our consumption for awhile, and our waiter (who was so nice) came over with our receipt and the complementary chocolate chip cookies, but we had our hearts set on the infamous chocolate eclair. We split the eclair into thirds and tried to eat the pieces before gravity pulled out the pastry cream. The choux, chocolate, and cream were all wonderfully yummy and balanced. As my friend said "it's surprising that in an eclair with so much cream, the chocolate can still be a star."

Overall, the Famous 4th Street Delicatessen was amazing. The prices were pretty steep, but the amount of food you get for each buck is worth it. The atmosphere is sunny and busy; the loads of families and couples seem all smiles and the staff is nice and responsive. So if only for the HUGE eclairs go to the Famous 4th Street Delicatessen.

I hope that Passover and Easter are/have been great for everyone and that Spring Break is not too distant a memory. Omnom!

Famous 4th Street Delicatessen
700 South 4th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147

P.S. Apparently the University of Pennsylvania (I gotta respect all Philly schools) has a food magazine and blog called Penn Appetit. I am pretty sure that every school should have a food mag/blog. Anywho, cheers to them for having one and check it out!