In 1956, Sanford “Corky” Kurland set out with Lenny Kaden to create a New York-style deli rich in Jewish tradition. Corky & Lenny’s became a place “where people meet to eat,” as their slogan goes, with their first location opening in South Euclid’s Cedar Center.
Today, a Chagrin Boulevard location in Woodmere and an express takeout spot inside Jack Cleveland Casino owned by Corky’s son Kenny Kurland remain — but it’s that need to feed that keeps them thriving. “There’s a very big tradition of feeding that’s kind of in our ‘Jewish mother bones,’ ” says Kenny’s wife Amanda Kurland. “I think that’s why the portions are generous. It’s better to have leftovers than to not have enough.”
Whether it’s the assorted delicatessen platter with salami, corned beef, steak pastrami and beef tongue, or the delicately prepared matzo ball soup — each dish is delivered to bring people together. “Our broth is a basic yet really delicious broth,” says Kurland. “Sometimes, I think our big superpower is actually having really simple delicious food. It’s not trying to go fancy.” While their matzo ball soup recipe is a guarded secret, Kurland offers up this close replica.
Matzo Ball Soup
6 cups water
1 whole chicken
2 stalks celery
1 medium onion
1 sprig fresh dill
3 cloves crushed garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
For matzo balls:
2 cups matzo meal
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
8 lightly beaten eggs
1/2 cup oil or fat
1/2 cup water
Place whole chicken into a 6-quart kettle. Add water and cover. Cook on high heat, bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer for at least 30 minutes and skim foam often. Add carrots, celery, onion, dill, garlic, salt and pepper. Simmer for at least 2 hours, skimming foam frequently. Once finished, strain out broth, discard the carcass and add the vegetables and chicken back to the broth as needed.
This broth can be refrigerated up to 3 days or frozen up to 3 months. To make matzo balls, combine water, salt, pepper, eggs and oil in a small bowl. Add matzo meal and mix together until fully combined. Cover and refrigerate the mixture for at least one hour. Bring a large pot to a boil. Moisten hands with cold water and form mixture into 1 1/2-inch thick balls. Drop carefully into boiling water.
Once all of the balls are in, bring the water down to a simmer. Cover and cook for 40 minutes, removing the balls with a slotted spoon when done and adding them to the chicken broth as desired.
When You Go: Corky & Lenny’s, 27091 Chagrin Blvd., Woodmere, 216-464-3838; 100 Public Square, Cleveland, corkyandlennys.com
Read More: Click here to read the full list of 18 Classic Cleveland Restaurants.