A LocalBozo.com Restaurant Review
54 Prince Street near Lafayette Street, Nolita
Getting There: 6 to Spring Street; N,R to Prince Street; B,D,F,M to Broadway-Lafayette Street
Restaurant Review: Delicatessen
The name delicatessen invokes thoughts of a supermarket counter, salty cured meats and men donning oversized white coats and using a silver colored slicer. Not so however at Delicatessen, a restaurant which sits on the corner of Prince Street that become a legitimate staple in Nolita, following in the footsteps of its sister restaurant Cafeteria in nearby Chelsea. It’s equally as challenging to secure a table here for their perpetually packed weekend brunch, but once seated, the fare and the atmosphere here are equally as satisfying.
Though Delicatessen can technically be described as a higher end diner, that classification really does the restaurant a disservice. (You’d certainly be ill advised to order a “New England Lobster Roll” ($20) at your nearby 24 hour diner.) From the outside, the first floor space is adorned with sleek silver columns and an illuminated vertical nameplate that seems to promise a club-like atmosphere inside the restaurant, which isn’t technically misleading considering that the dinnertime crowd certainly seems dressed for a night on the town. The main dining room meanwhile is decorated with similarly modern flare as clean all white tables are shadowed by refurbished old wood that extend around the room from the back walls and to the chair backs. And down a few stairs, Delicatessen’s courtyard reveals a space that is truly special with artistic renderings and an open air setting above that looks down upon the intimacy of a chic lounge.
Led by Chef Michael Ferraro, the place breathes some new life into traditional comfort foods with a menu that begs for guests to step outside their comfort zone, with a vibe inside that finds common ground between stylish and sophisticated. Passing on nine different macaroni and cheese options (dubbed ‘Macbar‘) proved difficult during our recent weekday lunch visit, which still managed to have the seemingly requisite 45 minute wait. Instead, we quickly gobbled up Chef Ferraro’s excellent “Duck, Duck Goose Dumplings” ($13) four succulently prepared pouches filled with smoked duck, foie gras, confit and doused in a glaze of brown butter vinaigrette and chutney.
With a lingering hankering for lunchtime sandwiches, we found ourselves in the right place. Their oversized “Award Winning Pan Roasted Chicken Thigh Sandwich” ($17) was deliciously sloppy. Bulbous hunks of chicken meat were falling outside of the realm of the long rustic bread loaf. The thin spread of olive pesto meshed effectively with a sweet pepper aioli, adding a wave of flavors to an already tasty layer of rich white burrata. The bucket of French fries that accompanied the sandwich proved too filling even for us, despite the decadent addition of “Truffle Parmigiano” for an additional $2. Also worth tasting is Delicatessen’s “Atlantic Salmon Burger” ($15) replete with caramelized onions, crispy capers and the addition of cream cheese which secretly seems to bring the ingredients together capably inside of the fluffy whole wheat bun.
Delicatessen brings a style that feels high end to a unique space and puts its own signature twist on traditional comfort food. Is the concept truly novel? Perhaps not. But Chef Ferraro and company never have claimed to reinvent the wheel. They’ve simply perfected a dining experience that works for just about anyone.
Rundown of the Meal
Chef’s Signature Dishes
Duck, Duck Goose Dumplings ($13)*
Atlantic Salmon Burger ($15) - sub Truffle Parmigiano Fries ($2)*
Award-Winning Pan-Roasted Chicken Thigh Sandwich ($17)*