All right, so it’s cold. But it’s colder in New York City, so forget those warm-your-bones knishes and oh-so-delicious hot pastrami sandwiches they have on every corner. Still, if you hop on over to the corner of Fifth Street and Rosemont Boulevard, Eli’s Deli on 5th Street might just fit the bill.
Eli’s Deli on 5th Street hits all the right notes when it comes to kosher offerings. In fact, it’s the only official kosher restaurant in town. Take it from Berti Brodsky, the advertising manager at the Arizona Jewish Post, who eats there on a regular basis.
“It being the only true kosher deli in town, it evokes memories for me of my upbringing,” the New York/New Jersey native said. “I grew up with a lot of the Jewish favorites and this is the only place to come get some of these things unless I cook [them] myself. If I were in New York I could pick up a knish anywhere on the street but here it’s not exactly everywhere you look.”
The menu includes such sandwich classics as hot brisket, hot corned beef, and a classic Ruben with either corned beef or pastrami. There are also “adaptations,” including a Sonoran hot dog, which uses a kosher hot dog wrapped in pastrami instead of bacon. Of course, because no deli meal is complete without sides, Eli’s Deli on 5th Street offers dill pickles, macaroni salad, curly fries, and babaganoush. Brodsky and her friend ordered a pastrami sandwich on rye with potato salad, stuffed cabbage, fries, a knish, and cole slaw. It was a feast.
“I come here for a good corned beef sandwich on good rye and good potato salad,” she said. “I’m a potato salad snob and their potato salad is really good.”
Also on the menu are dishes you probably wouldn’t find at your local sandwich joint, such as matzah ball soup, Turkish coffee, lamb burger or shawarma (Israeli salad, fries, thani, babaganoush and pita).
The restaurant is casual and friendly, as a neighborhood deli should be. The guys who work the counter are only too happy to help should you have a question. Be sure to ask about the day’s hot plate special and check out the groceries, frozen foods, and kosher meat counter while you’re waiting. It has almost everything that a person might need.
“I have a tough time getting certain traditional foods such as a beet horseradish, that’s very commonly eaten with gefilte fish, and it’s not always available in regular grocery stores … I’ve always been able to get it here,” Brodsky said. “Every grocery store has a Jewish section but how expansive that section is, is questionable. Here I can get quite a bit.”
The place is open every day except, of course, Saturday. There’s even a breakfast menu.
Eli’s Deli on 5th Street
5071 East 5th St.
Tucson, AZ, United States