Crossroads Delicatessen (Minnetonka, MN)
By Karen Cooper and Bruce Schneier
Oh, we miss the Lincoln Del. And Zaroff's. We're embarrassed to admit we haven't wandered the skyways to find the Brothers, and we haven't crossed the river to Cecil's in much too long. But we do like the Jewish soul food served in delicatessen restaurants. We, like most of you, don't even mind if it's Jewish without being kosher, the sort of food called "kosher style."
And so we go to Crossroads Deli. Serving soup and good sandwiches, breakfast any time, various entrees at dinner: it's a family restaurant with a kosher-style kick.
The half-sour pickle slices and pickled beets on the table as we sat down are in the best deli tradition. But it's the corned beef and pastrami that take the measure of a deli.
The pastrami was a bit dry, but still tasty and enjoyable. Better was the corned beef, which was bursting with flavor. We recommend ordering it on the excellent pumpernickel bread that comes standard with the pastrami, rather than with the default rye bread.
We heartily recommend the matzo ball soup. If you're unfamiliar with the concept, a matzo ball is a large dumpling: either dense and heavy or light and fluffy, depending on how your grandmother used to make them. The ones at Crossroads are right between those extremes, and are served in a delicious chicken broth with pieces of chicken, carrots, onions, and seasonings. The broth has that wonderful homemade character.
Also good is the cabbage borscht. This is a hot beef and cabbage soup, and this version has no beets in it. Certainly this is the best cabbage borscht we've had in years.
Chopped chicken liver is a Jewish-deli staple, and the version here is both creamy and flavorful. You can order it as an appetizer, served with chopped egg, onions, and capers, or as a sandwich. A schmear of chicken liver on bread is so good.
Potato latkes -- pancakes -- are another Jewish specialty. Crossroads makes perfectly fine latkes, although we prefer them with more onion in the batter. The three latkes come with sour cream, which is traditional, and a sweet cranberry applesauce, which is not. A tart applesauce would be better.
The rest of the sides are a mixed lot. The potato salad and baked beans were both too sweet. The sweet and sour red cabbage was much too sweet. And the French fries were often not as hot as they should be. On the other hand, the coleslaw was great.
The Crossroads' top dessert is a lemon-coconut cake. This treat is homemade, and has a dense, moist crumb and bright flavors. It's surprisingly difficult to find decent cake in the Twin Cities, and we were delighted by how good this was.
Crossroads is a fun restaurant, filled with families and large groups. The waitstaff is friendly, and the food comes quickly. The room is noisy when crowded, but that's just part of the fun.
Atmosphere: Family restaurant
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