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Fans of the Jewish food renaissance have yet another reason to get excited this month. Shelsky’s of Brooklyn (141 Court Street, Brooklyn; 718-855-8817) is expanding its selection beyond appetizing to include deli items in just a couple of weeks.
After six months of tinkering with the idea and several deli tours (partners Peter Shelsky and Lewis Spada managed to consume four tongue sandwiches in a matter of five hours on one such trip), Shelsky’s will begin serving a larger array of Eastern European specialties. All of the meat for the pastrami, corned beef, and tongue sandwiches will be cured in-house, transported to and from Fletcher’s Brooklyn Barbecue to be smoked, and then set between Orwasher’s rye bread. Like the smoked fish, it will be sold by the pound.
Look, too, for prepared dishes like knishes, stuffed cabbage, fried kreplach, and health salad (mayo-less coleslaw), some of which will be sourced from outside the storefront. Petchah (jellied calves’ feet) and kishka (organ-meat sausages) will round out the offerings of rarer delicacies. “I’m a huge fan of kishka,” says Shelsky. “It’s another one of those gross Jew things; it’s just so good.”
With the goal of eventually opening a standalone deli, Shelsky and Spada decided to roll out the new menu as a means of testing the water. But for Shelsky, the concept stemmed from personal motives. “I got sick of eating smoked fish and wanted pastrami for my own fat-ass needs,” he says. “It’s all part of the New York Jewish food renaissance.”