I wasn’t raised on Jewish food, but growing up in NYC, I ate a lot of it. I love the stuff, and I miss the days of picking up a quick bagel, caw-fee and the New York Post to go every morning (I love a good schmear campaign). After seeing the way I piled lox on a bialy one morning, my former (Jewish) boss said, “Wow. You eat like a Jew.” It was a compliment of the highest order.
Since moving to DC, I’ve stopped eating bagels to spare myself the grief, and knishes are puzzling at best. I once got charged $6 for a bagel with cream cheese at Bagel City in 1997, which offended me both as a New Yorker and as an “honorary Jew.” So it was with the same intense scrutiny from a lot of people when DGS opened in November. Like waiting by the phone on a Friday night, people were desperate to see if they could finally get a decent deli sandwich around heyah.
And the answer is yes and no. While DGS does not claim to have deli classics, it does get very close to some, and updates others in a way that’s creative and tasty.
- Happily authentic, the matzo ball soup ($7) is savory rich and oh-so chicken-y. This simple soup is dotted with a fluffy, respectably-sized matzo ball, soaked to the core with broth. This is the perfect pick-me-up for colds, flus or a night at McFadden’s.
- Though I long for spuds and mustard, the baked lamb sausage knish ($8) with flaky, glazed crust is an interesting Mediterranean take (there’re raisins! Mustard! Lentils!) full of flavor and texture.
- A custardy eggplant Reuben ($10) is not overstuffed as you might expect, though filling nonetheless with tangy sauerkraut and white Thousand Island dressing.
- The corned beef sandwich ($13) is again Dupont Circle-sized, but amazing with spicy mustard on crusty rye bread.
- A dessert of sweet kugel ($7, pictured) reminds me of home and is really delicious with a scoop of cinnamon ice cream.
- And what’s a visit to the deli without a frothy chocolate egg cream ($3)? Whatsa matta wit you?! Get one, seriously.
Though the perfect potato knish remains elusive, DGS certainly fills a gaping void in the city. Just don’t fuget to call yaw mutha. She worries so…
1317 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20036
Mary was born and raised in New York City where her family owned restaurants. Instead of eating dirt on the playground, she ate duck blood, beef tripe and pork belly. She cut her teeth at The Mandarin Oriental and The Ritz-Carlton hotels, working with Barbra Streisand, Vanessa Williams, Michael Stipe, LeVar Burton, Jane Krakowski and others. Mary founded Girl Meets Food in 2009 as a cover for her debilitating addiction to fried chicken and was named Washington Post’s “Favorite Local Foodie.” After 13 years in hospitality, she started freelance writing for USA Today, The Washington Post, Eater, Washington City Paper, and more. Today, she provides digital marketing for hospitality clients as a content creator who’s contently creating content.