Jeremy Umansky wants to be clear. His new restaurant in an 1800s-era firehouse in Hingetown isn’t a deli — it’s an Eastern European-style delicatessen. “In America, the deli has morphed into something reflective of diner culture, where the focus is convenience and the food is pre-packaged,” says the co-owner of Larder Delicatessen and Bakery. “The delicatessen reflects its neighborhood, and all the products are made in-house.” In Hingetown, that means using sophisticated techniques — such as seasonal foraging, smoking, and fermentation ingredients such as Koji, a fermentation mold used in Japanese soy sauce and miso. “People think of Eastern Europe as this peasant wasteland,” says Umansky. “We’re bringing a refinement to this kind of food that you hardly ever find.” Fill up your first tray with these three dishes that make Umansky’s Old World approach shine.
Three ingredients have never tasted so complex. Red cabbage sauerkraut and a mustard blend of chunky whole grain, smooth stadium-style brown and Bottlehouse Brewery-infused vinegar coat both slices of rye bread. The one-two punch accentuates hand-cut pastrami seasoned with Rising Star Coffee and dark cocoa powder in addition to the typical coriander and black pepper. “Pastrami is always smoky,” Umansky says, “but this gives it an earthy taste, too.”
Matzoh Ball Soup ($5)
With purple broth and green dill garnish, Larder’s take on typically bland-looking matzo ball soup is an Insta-foodie’s dream. In-house matzo balls sit in the chicken and veggie-scrap broth — part of the restaurant’s dedication to waste reduction. “It’s the same recipe my grandma used for years,” he says. “But we cut back on the water and add some Koji and baking soda because we like a floater versus a sinker.”
Bread Pudding ($4)
Umansky calls co-owner Allie La Valle-Umansky a “world-class baker” — and not just because she’s his wife. The full-loaf, chocolate-swirl babka ($9) showcases her talent. But 24 hours later, when she turns the leftovers into spongy bread pudding, it dazzles. “She knows the virtue of custard,” Umansky says. “It’s like bread soaked in creme brulee."