On this particular wet Wednesday night, Federal Delicatessen certainly wasn’t on our radar. But after a full day of visiting Nostalgem stockists and checking out vintage shops in Auckland’s city centre, this 1950s NYC Jewish diner was certainly what we needed.
Waitresses garbed in 1950s diner attire ushered us to our table, walking us past shelves lined with vintage trinkets and jars filled with pickles and sauerkraut. If you’re a fan of authentic American fusion cuisine, this deli on Federal Street should be on your “eat list”. And with current limits set on world travel, it’s probably the closest you’ll get to visit the Big Apple.
After the friendly staff handed us the menus, we were faced with the difficult decision of what to order: Matzo ball soup? A hot corned beef sandwich? A bagel with salmon lox and capers? We were spoiled for choice! But after much consideration, we opted for the Street Dog (an NYC-style hot dog with cart relish and ‘Old Yella’ mayo) and the Kahawai Hoagie (battered kahawai, creamy slaw, and Beaver’s Coney Island mustard). For dessert, we ordered the New York cheesecake and two forks.
Waiting for our food to arrive was no bother at all, as there was always something on the wall to feast our eyes on: eclectic art, old cookbooks and retro curios. The atmosphere buzzed with so much energy, which is why this cool place is so popular.
Here are some photos of our visit to Federal Delicatessen. Enjoy!
In a pickle about what to order? The shelves filled with jars of pickles and sauerkraut lend the interiors a homespun feel.
The retro vibe of Federal Delicatessen makes one feel like they’ve travelled back in time.
With their worn-out dust covers, tomes like America’s Great Delis, The Book of Jewish Food, Go Fish, and Where Chefs Eat add an old-school, wabi-sabi aesthetic to the place and tie in with the NYC Jewish deli theme.
Isn’t it ironic? This framed Kafka-esque artwork on the wall reads “I don’t cut the mustard”, but we think this deli certainly did for us!
Service de-lox. The friendly staff greeted us in 1950s style pistachio-coloured waitress uniforms. Their attire and exceptional customer service get a 10/10 from us!
New York “taste” of mind. Every bite of the NYC hotdog (mine) and the Kawahai Dog (Mum’s) was heavenly! All the flavours complemented each other exceptionally, and the sauces were divine. Everything was out-of-this-world delicious!
I’ve figured that there’s always a quirky and interesting new place you’ll stumble upon, no matter where you go. So keep exploring and being open to trying new things, and you won’t be the slightest bit dissatisfied!
P.S. Al Brown, you are a genius.
86 Federal Street, Auckland