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Jonathan Gold Raves About the Tableside Brisket at Freedman’s

And relates it to “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre”

Freedman’s Deli

Fresh off a Best New Chef nod from Food & Wine’s annual list, Freedman’s also gets the Jonathan Gold treatment this week. The Goldster describes chef Liz Johnson’s Echo Park delicatessen as “Jewish but doesn’t hit you over the head with it.” That translates to hints of nostalgia filtered through a contemporary lens:

The wallpaper looks like something William Morris might have dreamed up in his arsenic-green phase. Slender whitefish eggrolls are served in repurposed candy boxes. The china is mismatched in a way that suggests the year Morris and Yetta just gave up on the idea of separating the milchig plates from the fleishig ones, even on the holidays. A plate of cured yellowtail with green tomato splits the difference between an appetizing plate from Russ & Daughters and a dish you had the last time you went to Koi. [LAT]

The most spectacular dish, though, may be the tableside brisket:

She wheels a cart over to the table and flicks on a big battery-powered carving knife of a sort you may not have seen since your mom accidentally cut through the cord of hers on Thanksgiving 1983. She wordlessly slices the soft, herb-glazed brisket into thick slices, deftly angling the blade when she gets to the point. She turns the knife off, and you realize how ominous the sound had been; certain scenes from “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” come to mind. When you reach for a slice, you realize why the electric knife may have been a good idea — the meat is luscious, juicy, soft enough to eat with a spoon — but by the time you look over your shoulder to thank her, she and the cart have already disappeared. [LAT]

The most negative comment in the entire review is in respect to the pastrami, which is “good if not quite Langer’s.” That being said, it’s pretty high praise for the new critical darling. The review concludes with the Times critic endorsing Freedman’s brunch service, “when the soft, dense Toronto-style bagels are freshly baked, the cream cheese may be blended with whitefish or roasted Hatch chiles, and the streaky scrambled eggs are airy and light.”


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