Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Kenny and Zuke's Deli

Kenny and Zuke's Deli is located near the corner of SW 11th and Stark in downtown Portland, Oregon.

Carafe of water

They now pickle their own veggies from more local ingredients!
I arrived at this spacious location on a Monday, around lunchtime. I took a seat at the counter, getting a great view of the cooks preparing each sandwich and pouring cups/bowls of soup. The one thing that caught my eye was the broiler/toaster oven. I saw controlled flames peeking from the top of the broiler, ensuring that anything going in there (likely a cheese-covered sandwich, open-faced) would toast, melt, and become all sexy for the noshing party to follow.

Broiler/toaster oven in the upper center of the photo
I ultimately went for the lunch special, a pastrami on rye with a cup of Hungarian mushroom soup ($8.50). I got some Russian dressing on the side. Unfortunately, a real Reuben sandwich (complete with sauerkraut) was not an option for this lunch special. It came with a few pickled green beans and carrots. I learned cucumbers are out of season, so they'll go with other in-season veggies. I've also seen pickled okra used.

Menu cover (January 2012)

Half Pastrami on Rye with Hungarian Mushroom Soup
(Kenny & Zuke's Deli)
I really loved the pastrami, just tender slices playing games with my mouth. Great call on my part put some Russian dressing AND deli mustard in this sandwich...win! Creamy, zingy -- and there was probably sleepy, dopey, and happy also in the equation. The zingy-yet-crunchy pickled beans and carrots were very good.

I probably should have requested the rye bread toasted, as it kept getting stuck to the roof of my mouth. Reminded me of those days in school where I'd bring a sack lunch from home (usually a sandwich) and I'd look like a fool scraping the food off with my tongue or my finger.

The highlight was the Hungarian mushroom soup. An creamy, hearty explosion of mushroom flavor. I'd head back there just for a pot of that soup. Without question, one of the best soups I've had.

Quite pleased overall with the experience. I'm sure this was a requested toasted sandwich away from an elite rating. A note to myself for next time, if anything. Head over here, it's awesome stuff! 8/10

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