Where to Mamaleh’s Delicatessen, a take on the traditional Jewish deli from the team behind adjacent State Park (and, previously, Hungry Mother).
What for Some serious fressing. From matzoh ball soup to bagels and lox to pastrami sandwiches, all the classics are here, as interpreted by chef Tyler Sundet and crew.
The scene Lunchtime, midweek, crowded. The space was formerly West Bridge, and it’s been restyled with an old-school Jewish-deli veneer. A neon sign reads “MAMALEH’S” in red. At one end is a takeout counter, with a rotating glass dessert case, plus a gift-shop corner where shelves are filled with boxes of matzoh, “Orthodox Chews” saltwater taffy, Fox’s U-bet, Bamba peanut snacks, and more. Tables are piled with bowls of Gulden’s mustard packets and sandwiches on thick china plates adorned with the Mamaleh’s logo. Tech types and hipsters sip egg creams and apply cream cheese, capers, and smoked fish to everything bagels. Business casual sits comfortably beside maxi skirts, piercings, and dreadlocks on black-and-chrome stools at the bar, tiled to look like the lobby floor of a prewar apartment building.
What you’re eating Mamaleh’s dives headlong into the Jewish-deli oeuvre. Alongside the bagels, bialys, and smoked fish; corned beef, tongue, and chopped liver sandwiches; and babka, black and white cookies, and New York-style cheesecake, you’ll find deeper cuts: kasha varnishkes, gribenes, knishes, blintzes, kreplach, kugel, and more. For those times when it’s hard to decide, there’s the Jewish pupu platter, which offers a mix.
Care for a drink? House-made sodas come in flavors such as celery, lemon-cardamom, and cherry phosphate. Classic Dr. Browns is here, too. Egg creams are served with pretzel rods in flavors expected (chocolate) and otherwise (sherry). Boozy milkshakes are all over town right now, and Mamaleh’s is no exception. L’chaim!
Overheard Vociferous food-related debate: bagels vs. bialys, the best methods for smoking fish, what a proper celery tonic should taste like. “This one is too earnest,” someone says, sipping the house take. “It tastes too much like actual celery. Dr. Brown’s is better.” “The bialy is light and fluffy,” another guest enthuses. “Well it shouldn’t be,” declares a grump. “It takes guts to open this place,” declares a diner about to bite into an overflowing bagel. “We Jews have opinions about food!” A man with a long beard passes by. “It’s like a Williamsburg parlor game,” someone whispers. “Hipster or Hasid?”
One Kendall Square, Cambridge, 617-958-3354, www.mamalehs.com