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The crowd skews young and pretty at Delicatessen in Soho, a lively new comfort-food initiative from the folks at Cafeteria. And what a surprise, this grub is good. Amazingly, we don’t feel fatally redundant. We’re actually welcomed as if we might be Miley Cyrus’s grandmother. The place is seriously dim, like a lounge, and packed, tables wedged close. And the retractable garage-door walls roll up to air-condition Prince Street. Deli classics like matzo-ball soup and chopped liver compete with such sacrilege as pork schnitzel and halibut tacos. Reuben fritters? Wonderful cheesy little croquettes with sauerkraut to dip into Thousand Island dressing. Cheeseburger spring rolls are fun, too. I am fussy about my favorite Cobb salad, but this one is pretty good (except for the unripe avocado), and the “BBQ meatloaf” is full of flavor under its smother of gravy. Our table is soon full of tiny tin buckets, big and small, toting paprika onions (not bad if you like Michelin-tire-type onion rings), first-rate fries, and a generous portion of marvelous fried chicken with spicy coleslaw (although the jalapeño biscuits are a tad tough). A 21st-century pastrami on rye—chunks of meat stuffed into a sensational rye roll—doesn’t really improve on the classic sliced version. The only real flub: tiny mussels not worth serving. It starts to rain, and the hostess walks around dropping the retractable doors. Good for the ecology, but Miley’s grandma is feeling claustrophobic.

54 Prince St., at Lafayette St.; 212-226-0211



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