Dear Janice: We lost our last real kosher deli in Buffalo when Mastman's closed its doors. Are there any delis left in our area worth mentioning?
It's so sad a cuisine that bestows its grace in all the boroughs of New York City is gone now from our area. Too bad we can't have a franchise of Katz's NYC deli here in Buffalo, or Second Ave Deli. The argument still stands, even today, about which one served the best knisch or matzo ball soup.
If in your food travels you see anything close, feel free to post it. With all the students who come from New York, you would think a restaurateur would jump at the chance -- even a food truck. (Now that's a thought!)
-- Jimmie S.
A: Jimmie, there are a few kosher (or kosher-style) delis in Buffalo, but I make no claim that they reach the glorious heights of Katz's.
You might try the Nosh Cafe at 7900 Transit Road, Amherst -- the no-nonsense surroundings here also house a kosher butcher shop. You can order the delights of chopped liver, stuffed cabbage, tongue, a brisket sandwich (don't order it lean as the menu suggests -- when it comes to brisket, a little fat is all to the good). And, yes, matzo ball soup.
Also check out Jonny C's NY Deli and Caterers at 9350 Transit Road, where you can buy sandwiches made with pastrami and corned beef, but no brisket. Jonny Cohen also operates the NY Deli in Talbert Hall on the UB North Campus. The parking is tough, but the place had a pretty good lineup of knishes (filled pastries) when I was last there. Also consider Nathan's Hot Dogs. Yes, that Nathan.
(Jonny Cohen is the same guy who operated the restaurant in the Buffalo Statler before he went suburban. It was called "Jonny C's New Yawk Deli" after the colorful speech of some Big Apple residents. Used to break me up every time I passed by.)
Then there's Risa's, now moved to the M&T Building at 285 Delaware Ave. Risa is Risa Paonessa and she is deli royalty -- her father operated the late, great Stumpy's on Hertel Avenue. Very good corned beef and matzo ball soup.
And finally, newly opened at the Jewish Center, 2640 N. Forest Road, Amherst, is the Myers Family Tel Aviv Cafe. It is a kosher dairy restaurant, right now open for breakfast (challah French toast!) and lunch (salads and wraps); soon to be open for dinner.
By the way, Mastman's operates a small takeout deli section in the Wegmans on Sheridan Drive in Amherst.
Send your restaurant questions to email@example.com