Sammy’s: Not For The Sensitive

September 29th, 2014 § 0 comments

Pete Wells, The New York Times restaurant critic, did a delightful, witty review of Sammy’s Romanian Steakhouse, The Cardiolgist’s Nightmare on New York’s Lower East Side. Sammy’s serves a nostalgia drenched, schmaltz (chicken fat) drenched, heavy on garlic cuisine. The place evokes the yesteryear Jewish New York of The Bronx, Brooklyn and the Lower East Side. It is loud and clamorous with music from a non-politically correct pianist. Customers, fueled by vodka from ice enclosed bottles, join in the songs and dance between the tables. There are no strangers, just one big family. Wells got it right when he called it a “permanent underground bar mitzvah where Gentiles can act like Jews and Jews can act like themselves.” The restaurant provokes strong emotions. Love it or hate it. Wells wrote: “Sammy’s is the most wonderful terrible restaurant in New York.” BSK is firmly anti-Sammy’s. HG and SJ love it. Sammy’s is a once (maybe twice) a year place. More than that is suicidial. HG once left Sammy’s full of vodka, chopped liver and silver dollar potatoes. Driving uptown on the East Side drive, HG’s equally sozzled companion pointed out he was driving in the downtown lane. Both survived. Barely. Some sensitive Jewish readers have complained about the Wells review. HG’s advice to them: “Lighten up. Sammy’s is just a Jewish joke. Have a shot of icy vodka. L’Chaim.”

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