670 W B Street, Little Italy
(No longer in business.)
"What am I, chopped liver?"
This is Jennifer, standing with her hands flung out sideways.
Then she relaxes. "Everybody says that, when they see it on the menu."
Chopped liver sandwich is part of a way-big sandwich menu I've just noticed here on B Street near Kettner. Looks new. Looks like it's in the spot where a Quiznos was. The sign's definitely new: "Nosh." With tooth marks in the "h." Huh. Clever. It says it's a Delicatessen. And you can see through the windows the inside looks classic New York. Red-shaded hanging lamps, cream brick walls, black and white floor tiles, hanging salamis. And here outside, they have two or three tables under the flowering purple jacaranda trees. Beautiful. I have to stop.
They have a wall menu, but Jennifer hands me a printed one. Sandwiches, well, not that cheap. Like the chopped liver sandwich goes for $10.45. Most of the other "signature" sandwiches are basically $11. Wow. Not sure I'm up to that. Then I see they have half-size for about eight bucks.
Whew. That's more like it. In fact, now I gotta try it.
I ask for the chopped liver on rye with adds of tomato and onion. It's cheaper than the rest. It comes to $6.95. And there's a bonus: Turns out we're in happy hour. So you get a free East Coast soft drink. I pick one I've never seen before. Cheerwine ("since 1917"). Bottle looks a bit Coca Cola-ish, but it tastes like halfway between grape juice and wine. Nice.
But the big shock comes with the "half" sandwich. It's like someone took a maximo-scoop of chocolate ice cream and laid it on a slab of rye. Man. You almost expect four-and-twenty blackbirds to come out singing.
"That's a lot," I say to Jennifer.
"East Coast is renowned for its oversized sandwiches," she says.
The other surprise me is the taste. It's not icky like you remember liver, when gramma made you eat it. It's smooth, almost sweet, but oniony. Totally delish. And supping all this out on the sidewalk, under the falling purple jacaranda flowers, is kinda cool.
One thing I'll have to come back for is the stuffed avocado-tuna salad with spicy bleu cheese. Costs $11.45, but sounds glorious.
Jennifer says they're working on a wine and beer license, but I'm not holding my breath. Don't matter, long as they have that Cheerwine. It goes so well with the chopped liver.
More in upcoming Tin Fork.