A 30-year veteran eatery and its much newer next-door neighbor have stressed quality, portion size and freshness.
Since debuting in November 1982, Margate’s Downbeach Deli has cultivated, earned and maintained a sterling reputation for classic New York City-style delicatessen fare.
Owner and founder Robert Hammerschlag describes that fine tradition, telling us, “We seem to have a pretty good following” and “I don’t like bragging about our business, but we’ve been excellent for 30 years at just about everything we do.”
That includes full-service breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week, perhaps the most difficult trifecta to pull off successfully in the restaurant industry.
Downbeach provides those meals, exceptional in quality as well as portion size, alongside fine baked goods — most notable their bagels — plus rotisserie chicken and a wide array of smoked fish.
They also excel at the preparation of party trays and prepared foods for takeout.
In fact, their enormous menu offers pretty much anything you could desire under one roof: appetizers, soups, wraps, salads, burgers, subs and, of course, more than 40 different sandwiches.
While not a kosher restaurant, Hammerschlag allows that they do provide a number of kosher items, along with non-kosher versions of traditional ethnic specialties like blintzes and latkes.
He also is quick to point out the Downbeach offers a selection of cold fish delicacies, which is unparalleled locally. Customers choose from a selection including Nova and regular lox, kippered salmon and sable, pickled herring, Scotch kippers and whitefish.
Speaking of fish, or more accurately, “Fisch,” fans of last season’s breakout eatery Fisch Kitchen will be pleased to know that the ancillary food enterprise reopened just about two weeks ago.
Attached at the back end of Downbeach, fronting Ventnor Avenue, Fisch Kitchen was founded last year by Hammerschlag’s daughter Lauren and son-in-law Paul Erbacher. They’ve since opted not to return. Chosen to head the kitchen for the 2012 season is new chef Bob Tewell, a veteran of many years at the former Trump Marina.
Having worked in high-end rooms there like Portofino and Finestra, this graduate of Pennsylvania’s Institute of Culinary Arts in Pittsburgh brings a different, mainstream approach to the bill of fare.
Calling his charge at Fisch Kitchen “to keep things as fresh as possible,” Tewell seems well suited for the task at hand.
For starters, the prior concept of a daily series of blackboard offerings largely disseminated through the Internet has been eliminated. Replacing it is a set menu, broader, deeper and certainly a bit less daring. But probably also more marketable, with items like fish tacos and lobster rolls still holding over from last year.
This time, Fisch Kitchen’s vision appears to be more in line with traditional Jersey shore seafood house chow. Shellfish — clams, oysters, mussels and shrimp — in various styles from on the half shell to steamed or fried feature prominently.
You seemingly can’t throw a rock at a TV today without hitting a show dedicated to the terrors being foisted on the American south and Midwest by hoards of feral boar.
Fisch, in case you were wondering, is simply the German language word for that most indigenous seashore foodstuff. It’s also a play on the shared ethnic heritage of co-owners Paul and Lauren (nee Hammerschlag) Erbacher.
In defining “delicatessen” – Webster’s Seventh Collegiate Dictionary says, “A store where ready-to-eat food products, such as cooked meats and prepared salads are sold” — often proves easier than locating a legitimate provider. Unless, of course, you make that inquiry to a food-savvy resident of Absecon Island or its immediate environs. Those knowledgeable palates will undoubtedly point south to the aptly named Downbeach Deli.
When my wife Pat told me she won $28 on the Kentucky Derby and she's betting on Barbaro to win the Preakness and Belmont Stakes to take the Triple Crown of racing, I had the hook to hang my Downbeach Deli review on. It's a bit of a stretch, but Robert Hammerschlag's Downbeach Deli has been the winner of the Triple Crown of restaurants for more than 20 years. There's the kosher and non-kosher Downbeach Deli that sells bagels, smoked fish, fresh cold cuts, sandwiches, salads, cheeses, cakes, cookies and pastries, prepared foods for take-out, fresh rotisserie-grilled meats and poultry, party trays and buffet catering for all occasions. There's also the Udder Place at Downbeach, which dispenses delectable delights such as smoothies, old fashioned ice cream sodas, sundaes and milkshakes, made-to-order ice cream cakes for special occasions, and new this year, creative frozen desserts. The ice cream, custard, Italian gelato and water ice are all made on the premises in a large assortment of flavors. Then there's the jewel in the Triple Crown, the full-service Downbeach Deli Restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner 365 days a year. Luncheon fare includes appetizers, sandwiches, bagelwiches, subwiches, burgers, hot dogs, salads, soups, smoked fish platters,...