Monday, February 17, 2014

Nosh –

from the Yiddish for nashn meaning to eat on the sly or to eat enthusiastically or greedily. Also the name of a Jewish deli restaurant in Albuquerque. And, while we did nothing on the sly, we were certainly enthusiastic.

I have given up on finding really good pizza in Albuquerque, but on every trip will Google “best Jewish deli.” Until this trip, I have come up empty, but sometime in 2013 Alisa Turtletaub-Young opened this very small eatery and bakery.
“Located on the southeast corner of Amherst and Silver in the Nob Hill district, Nosh fills one of the food voids most commonly lamented
A scene on Central Avenue in Nob Hill; the Sandia Mountains are in the background

by readers of this blog. It is an authentic Jewish deli and bakery with some contemporary variations on tradition. Those slight variations don’t include red or green chile; not a smidgeon is to be found. A Duke City restaurant not serving chile is as rare as, well…a Jewish deli has been” (

“Alisa Turtletaub-Young wants to satisfy Albuquerque’s knish cravings. She wants to fill us up on matzo ball soup, deliver heaping helpings of corned beef on rye, tempt us with some house-made black-and-white cookies. (She) wants to fill our stomachs and what she sees as a void in the Albuquerque dining landscape….

“Turtletaub-Young worked at a Jewish deli as a teenager in Los Angeles and has been involved in several Albuquerque area food and drink establishments since, but she cites her upbringing as the motivation for her latest endeavor. ‘I just grew up with this…. This is the food I was raised on’” (Jessica Dyer at

“Step ten feet into the cozy, 1,000 square-foot eatery and you’ll run into the counter where you place your order from menus hanging on the wall.
"From that counter, you’re witness to the heart and soul of the operation—the open kitchen and bakery where deliciousness is prepared.
“The diminutive dining room (Ed. Note: There are about twenty-five seats.) means seating is in personal space proximity. Weather permitting, al fresco dining on sidewalk tables is also an option…” (
The deli was a beehive of activity when we arrived at around 1:00 p.m. on a Saturday, but after placing our order at the counter, we were able to grab one of two remaining two-tops. So close were we to our neighboring table that I could have reached over and snatched a bite from those diner’s plates—a move that I am sure wouldn’t be appreciated.

The menu contains such Jewish deli restaurant staples as noodle kugel, potato knishes, potato latkas, matzo ball soup, matzo brei (fried matzo), challah French toast, and bagels and lox plus a list of about ten sandwiches. And good deli sandwiches were what we were hungry for.

Our plan was to order two sandwiches and take one home for dinner that night. And since none of the sandwich combinations included chicken liver spread, we would order a side and use it on the sandwiches. We didn’t expect this presentation of rye toasts and tomatoes. So we dug in and had the spread almost consumed before our sandwiches arrived.
Now we are most—I repeat most—particular about chicken liver spread. This may well have been the best we have eaten in a restaurant. It was creamy and not dry (there is nothing less palatable than dry chicken liver spread) and one of Turtletaub-Young’s secrets is the use of caramelized onions. (I guess it isn’t a secret any more.)

The sandwich to take home was a straightforward corned beef on rye.
The meats for both the corned beef and the pastrami come into the kitchen already brined, but Alisa Turtletaub-Young and her staff finish the preparation of both in house. The corned beef was good, but the pastrami on our next sandwich was wonderful.

Our second sandwich was the Amherst with pastrami (We could have ordered corned beef instead.), Swiss cheese, Russian dressing, and cole slaw.
How good was this pastrami? Don’t just take my word for it. Here is the blogger at “…I forgot about the slow counter service and overly warm dining room the moment I bit into my sandwich—the promised house-smoked pastrami on pumpernickel bread. This pastrami is not the same foodstuff as anything you might find in the grocery store, even in the deli case. Meaty, salty, and wonderfully smoky, with the perfect amount of fat, its melting yet brawny goodness made me yearn for more…”

And here is Gil Garduno at “The pastrami is lean and peppery with that distinctive deliciousness imbued only on pastrami…pastrami needs no amelioration as it is incomparably fabulous on its own, but if you want to let your hair down, you’ll want to try Nosh’s Amherst…. What makes this sandwich sumptuously successful is that the pastrami is still clearly the star. It’s not overwhelmed by the sweet coleslaw or the boldness of the Russian dressing. All sandwiches are served with a pickle spear and your choice of potato salad, coleslaw, onion rings, house or sweet potato fries, or fruit…”

As our sides we chose the cole slaw and the potato salad. The slaw was good, but I think that I enjoyed it more on the sandwich than out of the dish. The potato salad was very good and contained a small amount of both celery and red onion. And was that a hint of tarragon in there?

We both thought that Nosh was a bit expensive. Expensive but very good and worthy of 4.0 Addies.

To review the role of Adler, Kitty Humbug, and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.

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