Feast on old-school deli fare at Josh’s Deli in Surfside

Josh Marcus makes the bagels, pickles and salami at Josh’s Delicatessen and Appetizing. The Jewish-style deli — with Cuban sandwiches and duck-and-pork paté on the menu, it’s not exactly kosher — is located in the old Chow Down Grill space in Surfside.

This is the place for hefty deli sandwiches, chopped liver, knishes and egg creams. At breakfast there are huevos hebreros (Jewish eggs), a take on cholent (an overnight bean, beef and potato stew) served on potato pancakes with poached eggs and challah French toast.

The “appetizing” section of the menu offers smoked whitefish salad (made from tilapia), pickled mackerel and spicy cured salmon with capers and bagel chips. The chicken noodle soup with a springy matzo ball is enriched with duck schmaltz and ginger.

Josh is from New Rochelle, N.Y., and studied film at Clark University in Massachusetts. Between projects, he bartended at a Chinese restaurant. After moving to Miami Beach a decade ago he worked at China Grill as a server. He asked for a tryout in the kitchen, and that’s where he found his calling. (He later worked at North 110 and Timo.) Jason Suttermiller helps prepare the meats, from braised tongue to gelatinous head cheese (made with a whole pigs head).

The curing takes time. First brisket is “corned” in salt brine for 10 days. (The term goes back to the days before refrigeration when salt crystals the size of corn kernels was used as a preservative.) Then it’s boiled for hours to make corned beef. For pastrami, the brined brisket is rubbed in crushed peppercorns, juniper berries and coriander seeds and smoked, then steamed for tender meat that is sliced and served warm on rye with house-made grainy mustard.

The handcrafted food here fits the neighborhood like a matzo ball in soup.


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