Joshua Marcus is doing his part in saving the endangered, practically extinct (especially in Miami) species that is the Jewish deli. But Marcus isn’t all schmaltz and is taking Josh’s Deli to the next level with an experimental small plates menu offered this coming Friday and Saturday night. On that menu is traditional Jewish fare with a modern twist. Mushroom barley soup with parmesan and truffle oil; chopped liver made with foie gras, charoset, Mainschewitz reduction and pressed challah; a matzo ball composed of dashi, pork belly (!), poached egg and nori; gefilte fish with shrimp (!), horseradish and beets; tongue with sweet and sour sauce, pineapple and roasted pepper; and a Reuben with corned veal cheek, sauerkraut, Russian dressing and melted Swiss. Not your Bubbie’s nosh at all. The combo of Asian and Jewish is quite clever considering Asian fare is certified Jewish food especially on non-Jewish holidays.
We asked Marcus about all this and he told us that after doing a trial for three days last weekend “just to see if people would get what we were doing,” he decided to try it out every Friday and Saturday and, “if it does well, maybe Thursday and/or Sunday as well.” As for what inspired him, “my desire to push the boundaires of traditional Jewish food,” he says. “How far can the Jewish palate be pushed before it is no longer considered Jewish food? Does Jewish food have a place in the modern day culinary landscape beyond pastrami? Are non-Jews interested in the flavor profiles of a group of people that basically wandered around Eastern and Central Europe? Can Jewish ‘soul food’ appeal to someone who didn’t have a Bubbie?” More than four very thought (and appetite) provoking questions that can be answered by doing what we Jews do very well–by eating.