1 at 238th St.
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Old-fashioned Jewish restaurants may be a dying breed (RIP, Second Avenue Deli and Ratner's), but no one has informed the folks up in the Bronx. On a commercial strip in Riverdale, packed with kosher bakeries and grocers, Liebman's has been dishing out kishka since 1953. You wouldn't guess it from the slightly antiseptic coffee-shop atmosphere: no cranky old waiters, no photos of forgotten comedians. Owner Yuval Dekel inherited the delicatessen from their father, who bought it in 1981, and their menu is not, thankfully, evolved. Deli offerings are the most popular, if not best, choices; the pastrami is tasty but lacks the tenderness and funky kick of a top-notch version. Briny corned beef is a step up, and the multi-layered combo sandwiches are messily satisfying. But Liebman's real strength is straight-from-the-shtetl home cooking. Chicken soup is has a deep, focused flavor; the matzoh ball has just the right amount of texture and heft. Stuffed cabbage 's tender leaves filled with meat and rice in a sweet and tangy tomato sauce is delicious. This stuff is soul food: no fussy preparations or fancy ingredients. Doing it well requires lotsa love, and Liebman's has plenty to spare.Extra
Need your next mah-jongg game catered? Liebman's will sell you a pound of pickles for around $5.50, provide a deluxe mini banquet (complete with whole roast turkey and 100 hot hors d'ouevres) for around $540, or do just about anything in between.Recommended Dishes
Matzoh ball soup, $4.50/$4.95; stuffed cabbage, $6.95; chicken in the pot, $15.95; beef flanken, $16.95