Address: 1700 Corydon Ave
Some days call for wild new flavours and exotic ingredients to wrap your tongue around; other days require the simple comfort of hearty, homestyle cooking.
On any day, Bernstein’s Deli hits the spot.
The bustling deli-grocer in Corydon Village mall buzzes with vibrant chatter as servers skirt tables with prompt refills of coffee. Since opening in 1984, the sunny space has collected its fair share of regulars with a menu of deli classics and traditional Jewish specialties to eat in or take away.
But times change, and Bernstein’s has changed too. Not where it counts: thickly layered sandwiches piled with housemade corn beef are still favourites. Alongside traditional nosh, however, are some fun and fresh additions.
Aaron Bernstein, son of founding owner Marla Bernstein, is the driving force behind the deli’s recent participation in buzzed-about local foodie events, from specialty burger event Le Burger Week in September, to the outdoor brunch at RAW:almond in February. Under the guidance of head chef Beth Jacob, new menu additions have punched up the selection with innovative flavour.
Items like housemade jams and granolas meld DIY spirit with culinary prowess. Other dishes play on trend food, like the fried chicken and waffles inspired pairing of chicken fingers and pancakes.
Instagram friendly shakshuka is another popular pick. This Middle Eastern mixture has been showing up on menus (and in food magazines) all over town, but this hearty version – stewy, spicy tomato dotted with chickpeas, spinach, and saline crumbles of feta – gets bonus points for perfectly sunny runny yolks and an attractive trail of spice and sesame blend za’atar.
Other items put new twists on deli staples, like the ubiquitous pickle: here, find tangy Elman’s sliced, dunked in buttermilk batter, and flash fried to an airy crunch.
Traditional fare is tried and true, from buttery lox and a thick smear of cream cheese on a Gunn’s bagel to crispy-fried latkes. A peppercorn-punched bison burger meets its match with all the fixings usually piled on top of a reuben sandwich.
Extended hours and a liquor permit make this bright deli an even more appealing hang. With an unpretentious knack for making diners feel at home, Bernstein’s could easily become a daily habit.