PA Dining: Michael’s Jewish Deli

30 Town Center Rd, King of Prussia, PA

(610) 265-3265

When I’m travelling alone by myself on business, I frequently gravitate towards eating comfort foods to keep me from getting too homesick. One of those comfort foods for me is Jewish Deli cuisine.

My co-worker and fellow tribe member, Sam, recently let me know about Michael’s Deli, which is conveniently located in the Town Center shopping plaza in King of Prussia PA. I had to go there anyway because we needed to buy some last minute computer parts at CompUSA for an important customer, and well, I needed an excuse to go eat a pastrami sandwich and a knish.

While Michael’s is not a legendary-status type deli like Katz’s or the Carnegie in NYC (or Schwartz’s in Montreal) it is certainly deserving of significant respect for those that worship the fatty foods of Ashkenazic Jewish culture — however, for those that care about such things, and like many modern “Jewish” delis, it is not Kosher certified. There are things like Reuben sandwiches on the menu which are a definite no-no if you are observant. Since I’m not Kosher observant, that lack of certfication doesn’t make much of a difference to me. However, the hanging of Christmas decorations in a place that should be a sanctum sanctorum refuge from Christmas Trees, Wreaths, Pointsettias and other goyishe trappings was a bit unnerving. Oy. At least there wasn’t any carolling and they played Golden Oldies in the background.

Michael’s has a pickle bar where you can eat unlimited quantites of Kosher Dills. Outstanding.

I went for one of the benchmark dishes, the Hot Pastrami on Rye. Nice and juicy, good fat content, tasty, nicely seasoned. However, it’s machine sliced, so that gets some points off. Given the fact that so few Jewish Delis hand slice their Pastrami nowadays, I’ll not criticise Michael’s too much — and let’s face it, I’ll definitely be going back here when I have a Pastrami urge on future trips to the KOP area.

Pastrami Sandwich side view.

I’d like to call this photo Deli Still Life. Matzo Ball Soup (balls are the springy kind, which I like) with Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray soda. Despite my previous paranoid rant, it appears that Cel-Ray is not doomed to extinction, although according to Michael’s staff there was a “very scary” shortage of it during the early and middle parts of this year, a shortage that Canada Dry is now in the process of rectifying.

Kasha Knish, another Jewish Deli benchmark. Kasha (made with Buckwheat groats mixed with potato) was cooked in stock (very important) and the pastry crust was flaky and crusty, not too dough-y. A nice Knish indeed.

5 Responses to PA Dining: Michael’s Jewish Deli

  1. Bux says:

    How’s the bread? For all the increase in excellent bread available in Manhattan, old fashioned Jewish breads have been on the decline. I’m generally willing to trade bagels for croissants and Jewish rye for “pain de siegle” (French rye) until I need a pastrami sandwich. Unfortunately, Katz’s rye is sub par, although the pastrami at Michael’s Jewish Deli is less appealing from your photos. I suspect the machine slicing may have something to do with that. It all seems to fall apart.

    Rubber matzo balls are another thing. I wonder how many of us regard those “springy” matzo balls our grandmothers made as more “authentic” than the more ethereal kind a fine chef might have served us, had we known a fine chef in our formative years. I understand a good matzo ball can, and perhaps should, resemble a quenelle, but I’m partial to those that bounce.

    Nice looking crust on the knish–and boy do I ever hate those machine made knishes that look like deep fried pillows. In the spirit of the day where Christmas decorations appear along side pastrami and NYC bans trans fats, I wonder if they use hydrogenated shortening, lard or chicken fat to make the pastry. Neither Carnegie Deli nor Katz’s is kosher by the way.

  2. Bread was decent. I agree that old fashioned Jewish bread in NYC is hard to find, although in Teaneck, near where I live, theres a number of good Jewish bakeries where you can get some really nice rye breads. I also like the “Lithuanian” style rye bread you can buy at Kotcher’s, a German deli and butcher shop.

    I agree with you on Knishes needing a nice crust. I don’t like the “Gabila’s” brand that a lot of delis serve — which is why I tend to get Kasha, since its the less commonly eaten kind and almost always is hand made.

    I didn’t know that Katz wasn’t Kosher, but I knew Carnegie wasn’t. You wouldn’t see Christmas decorations at either, though!

  3. redbankblues says:

    I miss that place! When I lived in Philly, I used to go there with my ex who lived in Bridgeport.

  4. harry says:

    Celray! Now THAT is Jewish, I sure miss that stuff.

  5. Randi says:

    Black Cherry is the only way to go. Cel-ray is so gross, more power to you if you like it.

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