Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Kibitz Room

Neighborhood: Rittenhouse Square
1521 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102


A Philadelphia deli is no New York deli. We are so different, deli wise, that I often forget that delis DO serve corned beef and pastrami in other parts of the country/world. Most of the popular delis in Philly are hoagie joints. And unless I had a specific recommendation, I am traditionally not inclined to order corned beef cold-cuts. I have always been a fan of Hershel’s in Reading Terminal Market for my Reubens and admittedly, in Philadelphia at least, I have not been super impressed, nor sought out the best Reuben. When I lived in LA, Canter’s was always the go-to spot, plus they were open 24/7 and didn’t care what kind of shape you were in when you showed up.

Today, in an effort to do something different (and perhaps reminisce), I decided to try out Kibitz Room, which is a new addition to Locust Street, and one I noticed on the aforementioned bike ride to Locust Rendezvous. With little research, I discovered that this Kibitz is apparently not related to Kibitz in the City on 7th and Chestnut, but rather is affiliated with another Kibitz Room in Jersey. That aside, I decided to give one of these massive meatwiches a go-around.

Upon entering, the employees were more than happy to take our order, and repeatedly asked for it, although we hadn’t yet had a chance to look at the menu. I then located a menu, and he kept asking what I wanted, though I clearly told him I would let him know when I was ready, numerous times. We decided to split a full Reuben, although I am aware most delis give you more when you order one half each than a full together. But considering it was $11 a half and $15 a whole, I was not going to find out this trip. The workers were great with the splitting, and with the order you get one side. We opted for the potato pancake served with a side of sour cream and a side of applesauce.

While walking to a table I stumbled upon the pickle bar. What’s that you say? The pickle bar? YES! The pickle bar. Literally ten FREE pickled side dishes, including (ironically) numerous kinds of pickles (Irony = pickle bar including pickles). Well, THAT certainly takes a piece of my heart. Soon enough, I had already consumed a week’s worth of pickles, and our order was called. So we stand up to grab it. But a lady comes by and tells us she will bring it over. Okay. She also asks if we are splitting, and grabs an extra plate and napkins. We certainly needed both.

The sandwich is served just like you would expect from a good Jewish deli, heaping piles of freshly sliced corned beef, on rye bread with a healthy dose of kraut, and a hearty schmear (yes I said it) of Thousand Island. It came together like a well planned Bar Mitzva. All of the ingredients played off each other seamlessly and it was a perfect (if not sloppy) melding of those involved. The real star for me was the corned beef, tender, yet held together in nice slices, and not overly salty, but maintained the salty tang one would expect from a cured meat. I was all too happy to take any and all scraps that were thrown my way by my lunch-mate. There was an abundance of meat; all of the ingredients were of great quality and served in the right quantity. I was highly pleased, and after a couple of pickles for dessert, I was ready to go back to work/take a nap.

No comments: