Where to Our Fathers Restaurant, Bar & Deli, an Allston spot meeting all of your corned beef and cocktail needs, from the people behind the Franklin Cafe, Citizen Public House, and Tasty Burger.
What for Earlier in the day, takeout bagels with lox or pastrami on twice-baked rye. At night, sit-down dinners of modern Jewish/Israeli fare from chef Jameson Poll.
The scene The takeout shop is brightly lit, lined with gleaming white tile, a man behind the counter poised to slice corned beef and pastrami for any comers. Next door, in the restaurant, things are pleasantly moodier: The midcentury light fixtures are turned down low, the walls and ceilings are painted peacock blue, the Beatles play in the background. Two bartenders make gin drinks behind the zigzagging bar, adorned with brass bowls of citrus. Groups of deli enthusiasts sit at the tables, examining their food with forensic intensity.
What you’re eating If it’s your first visit, old-school deli: matzo ball soup, potato pancakes, hand-cut corned beef sandwiches, a giant, shareable pastrami board with pickles, rye, and mustards. If you’re back for more, branch out with spinach bourekas, seared chicken liver, shakshuka, “Shabbat chicken,” and steak entrecote with horseradish.
Care for a drink? As Citizen Public House specializes in whiskey, so Our Fathers does with gin. You’ll find plentiful riffs on the martini and the gin and tonic, classics from the Alaska to the Singapore Sling, and house cocktails. The Bernard DeVoto (named for historian/husband of Avis DeVoto, who was Julia Child’s BFF) combines gin with coffee syrup, Campari, and orange bitters, while the Dorothy Parker mixes the spirit with lime, grapefruit, cucumber, and rhubarb bitters. The conceit is successful: It reminds us ably of gin’s versatility.
Overheard Conversations about cocktail proportions, how fatty corned beef should be, and the joy of deli pickles. A patron samples a matzo ball and weighs in: “It’s good, but it’s not my mom’s.” “You’re right near Manchvegas,” says one bartender to another, debating the merits of New Hampshire living. “I can’t decide between a Bijou and a Bernard DeVoto,” says a customer, bemoaning the curse of too many options. “Well, what kind of mood are you in?,” the bartender inquires helpfully. The next Beatles track comes on, and somewhere in the restaurant, someone sings: “I am the egg cream, goo goo g’joob.”
196 North Harvard St., Allston, 617-303-0101, www.ourfathersdeli.comDevra First can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @devrafirst.