Pass the Pastrami


Consider this Jersey girl psyched about the recent opening of Solomon’s Delicatessen, a Jewish-style deli in downtown Davis.

You’d think that, after living in California for 30 years, I’d have lost my taste for corned beef and pastrami. But no, absence has only made the heart grow fonder. I felt a sense of rising anticipation as I scanned the menu, filled with classic East Coast deli fare: matzo ball soup, house-made Nova lox, chopped liver. I ordered a hot pastrami and wasn’t disappointed: Sandwiched between two slices of rye from Grateful Bread, the meat was tender, thickly sliced and nicely speckled with fat. (Yes, fat is a good thing.) To the deli’s credit, the sandwich wasn’t an obscene pile of meat like the crazy, towering concoctions that New York’s Carnegie Deli used to serve to unsuspecting tourists. And the little bag of Utz potato chips that I ordered tasted like my childhood. 

Another nice callback to my bridge-and-tunnel days: Solomon’s New York-style bagels, which are smaller, harder and more authentic than any I’ve eaten in Sacramento. And my heart skipped a beat when I saw chocolate egg cream on the menu. Made without eggs or cream, it’s basically a chocolate-milk soda, fizzed with seltzer. Unfortunately, it wasn’t available the day I was there, but I’ll be back to see if it tastes as good as I remember it from my soda-fountain-going youth. Other sweets include babka, a yeast bread swirled with either chocolate or cinnamon, and rugelach, a cream cheese-based crescent-shaped cookie filled with chocolate or apricot preserves. You can get a slice of babka with a scoop of ice cream—I’m not sure how authentically Jewish that is, but it sounds tasty.

This is the first of two local Solomon Delicatessens; the second is set to open later this year on the 700 block of K Street in downtown Sacramento. If it’s as good as the Davis outpost, Sacramento will have something to kvell about. 500 First St., Davis; (530) 792-7015;