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Liver-haters, avert your eyes. Chopped liver tastes a lot better than it photographs.
But who makes the best chopped liver in the city? I recruited an intrepid group of tasters to blind taste six iconic versions—the good, the bad and the ugly after the jump.
Meet the contestants:
Russ and Daughters
2nd Avenue Deli
Eagle Provisions (a small Polish market on 5th Avenue in south Park Slope)
We set out six little bowls of the stuff, and started tasting, not knowing which was which. Predictably, much of the judging is a matter of taste—eggs or no, strong livery taste or mild, smooth or chunky?
But after much debate, and many bad jokes (what am I…?), we crowned Russ and Daughters and Katz’s the joint title holders of Best Chopped Liver.
We liked Russ and Daughters for its bits of caramelized onion, clean, mild livery taste and judicious amount of chopped boiled egg.
Katz’s had an appetizing consistency—light and almost fluffy—and a nicely balanced sweet-savory flavor.
As for the others, Eagle Provisions (the only non-icon in the bunch) had a surprisingly strong showing. Their chopped liver was assertive without being overwhelming, coarse and meaty.
I’m sorry to say that I hated 2nd Avenue Deli’s chopped liver. I’m sure that makes me a complete chopped liver idiot in many people’s minds, but there it is. That version was very dark and dense, and tasted overwhelmingly livery. One taster noted that it was the most authentically Eastern European of the bunch.
Zabar’s version was also polarizing—its big dose of chopped egg was enjoyed by some and hated by others. One taster said it tasted of sulphur, and the liver-hater in the group (who bowed out of the tasting) said he couldn’t think of anything worse than sulphurous chopped liver. I liked the eggy flavor, but each to his own.
Fairway’s chopped liver was solidly run-of-the-mill, prompting no strong reactions either way.
Did we miss your favorite chopped liver place? Email me and let me know.