NYC Dining: Liebman’s Delicatessen

Liebman’s Kosher Delicatessen
552 W 235th St, Bronx, NY

web site:

I love Jewish delis. The sad reality remains that they are quickly fading from the American landscape as generations of people who loved and prepared this type of food are dying off. Additionally, the climbing prices of urban real estate make it all to tempting to sell off and bulldoze these cultural landmarks in favor of condos or shopping centers. This realization that the days are numbered for the Jewish delicatessen makes me crave a good pastrami on rye with a kasha knish and a Cel-Ray even more.

One such deli that appears to be defying this unfortunate trend of decline is Liebman’s, in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, which remains a very strong bastion of older Jewish American residents.

Liebman’s, clogging Jewish arteries with love since 1953.

A trip to Liebman’s is like going back in time to the good old days when Jewish delis were in every major NYC neighborhood. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link for more.

The Liebman’s Deli storefront on 235th Street in Riverdale.

A view of the knish/hot dog grilling area. Liebman’s makes 3 kinds of round knishes in-house, kasha, potato and meat. The square ones are made by Gabila’s, the most common type of knish sold in NYC.

These are potato latkes, made with a mixture of potato and matzo meal. Each of these is like the size of a 12 ounce hamburger.

A close-up of the hot dog grill area.

Liebman’s hot dogs and salamis are Hebrew Nationals, which are the few items that are not made in-house.


Liebman’s smokes its pastrami and brines/cures its corned beef in-house, one of the few remaining Glatt Kosher-certified Jewish delis that still does. The “legendary” NYC delis such as Katz’s and Carnegie are Kosher-style delis, meaning that they serve Jewish foods, but are not actually supervised by a mashgiach and cannot be given certification. This is also due to the fact that by virtue of their food offerings they cannot follow strict Kosher guidelines, in that they serve dairy items alongside meat items and have dairy mixed in the same dishes (example, a Reuben Sandwich has swiss cheese on it). New York City’s most notable Kosher deli, The Second Avenue Deli, closed in 2006 and is expected to re-open at a new location  in Fall of 2007.

Here’s some of the pastrami which we bought from Liebman’s. While it is machine sliced and not hand-sliced like Katz’s, they are nice thick consistent slices and the meat is very well marbled. The quality of the meat is top notch, the seasoning is excellent and I’d easily put it up there with Katz and Carnegie.

Pastrami: The Breakfast of Champions.

Jewish Pornography

Rachel’s breakfast, a chopped liver sandwich.

Knish cross-sections. Kasha/Potato mixture (bottom) and Meat (top)

12 Responses to NYC Dining: Liebman’s Delicatessen

  1. racheld says:

    Jason and Rachel—Where have you BEEN????!!! e-Gullet is just not the same without your two bright voices, and really hasn’t been its old self in quite some time.
    I’m still there, but not posting as I used to. Just wanted to say hello, and that you’re both missed and fondly remembered.

    Who can forget that unbelievable Jello? Or your squirrel narrative, or your garden and tales of New Orleans trips, B. K.—those are memorable and serve to keep the spirit alive as it’s slowly re-building.

    I loved hearing your travels and adventures, and hope you’re both doing well.

    rachel d

  2. Where is this in New York?

  3. In the Bronx, the very northwestern part bordering near Yonkers and Westchester.

  4. Nina W. says:

    Thank you for this one. I’m going to try to hit it this weekend.

  5. Oh you will so not be disappointed.

  6. Ben says:

    When 2nd Ave Deli closed I nearly wept; aside from my mother’s, 2AD made the best matzah balls in New York.

  7. Nina W. says:

    So we went. Mixed results. Mushroom barley and kasha varnishkes were just okay. Tongue Polonaise was too sweet and tongue sliced too thin. Stuffed cabbage and stuffed derma both fabulous. Pickles excellent. Cole slaw delicious. Stuffed veal breast bad. Gefilte fish tasteless.

    We took home: knishes, tongue, pastrami, chopped liver, noodle kugel, potato kugel. Didn’t try these yet.

    But we loved the place, we loved the ladies in there speaking Yiddish. We loved the counterman. I drank a cream soda. It’s a throwback and we enjoyed it, but it’s not about the food – I mean it’s good for a fix of that stuff, but the food itself was not all that good.

    Try Sarge’s mushroom barley when you have a chance.

  8. Yeah, I didn’t have any of that other stuff. Just the Pastrami, Knishes and the Latkes. We didn’t actually eat at the restaurant because it was 9:30 at night and they were about to close up.
    Kasha Varnishkes and Mushroom Barley we make here at home… I find it a bit of a ridiculous expense to buy it by the pound at a kosher deli.

    I vaguely recall the Mushroom Barley and Kasha Varnishkes at Sarge’s, its been quite a number of years since Rachel and I ate there. Our best friends used to live a block away, but then they moved to Jersey and now they’re in L.A. I remember liking the Matzo Ball soup there as well.

  9. […] Yeah, we can now say that I fell off the wagon. This is excellent fatty pastrami, although less heavily spiced than other versions I’ve had, such as from Katz and Liebman’s. […]

  10. […] burger). All of those landmark delis are either downtown or in Midtown. Other fine examples, like Liebman’s in the Bronx, are lesser known but are part of the city’s restaurant culture that is in rapid […]

  11. jack says:

    which organization certifies liebman’s deli in the bronx as being kosher?

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