Goldman’s mother, Rozalia Goldman, and step-father, Greg Cervantes, co-own the 3,300-square-foot restaurant filled with refrigerated deli cases packed with sweet and savory Jewish treats. Anat Goldman, who is from Israel, has worked at the Jewish and Chicago-style deli and restaurant for 19 years.
“My mom is from Moldova, which is former Russia and south of Ukraine. My stepfather, Greg, is from Mexico; he’s our chef,” she says.
The deli opened in 2000 and serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as beer and wine. The deli’s soups are the best sellers, Goldman says. But during the holidays, customers line up for other items.
“They come here for the latke,” Goldman says, “and we’re making them all day.”
Latkes are potato pancakes that have a strong resemblance and texture to hash browns. They include grated onions, flour, eggs, and seasoning, Goldman says.
“We’ve got a big pan back there, and he can fry up about 30 latkes at a time,” she says. “It’s best when they come right out of the oil.”
The deli sells large latkes for $4.49 each, which are typically eaten with a knife and fork and dipped in apple sauce or sour cream, and smaller, handheld latkes that are better for holiday parties, Goldman explains.
Essential Foods for Hanukkah Festivities
“Hanukkah” means dedication in Hebrew, and the Jewish holiday is also known as the Festival of Lights. For eight nights, lit candles are propped in intricately designed menorahs to convey comfort, warmth, and a miracle.
“We light one candle every night until we reach the eighth candle on the eighth night,” Goldman explains. “We usually say a blessing before we light the candles, and if you have children, they open up presents these nights. Then we eat latkes and jelly doughnuts.”
The tradition celebrates the miracle of the oil lasting for eight nights, when it was only supposed to last one, Goldman explains. Food fried in oil further represents that miracle.
As for the jelly doughnuts, Goldman says her family’s deli begins making them two days before the first day of Hanukkah.
“They’re deep-fried dough,” she says. “We poke a little hole in the top, and it is filled with raspberry jelly filling then coated with powdered sugar. So you could see the jelly sticking out from the top. That’s what makes it different from regular doughnuts.”
Another fried specialty is kreplach, which Goldman’s serves in plates of five for $16.99. The hearty dumplings are crisp on the outside and filled with chopped beef brisket blended with sautéed onions.
A Valley Staple for Deli Dishes
While certain foods are in high demand during the holiday season, Goldman’s continues to serve its classic dishes year-round.
“Even in the summer, people eat our soups: Navy Bean, Mushroom Barley, Sweet and Sour Cabbage, Beet Borcht, and Matzo Ball.”
The Matzo Ball soup contains a softball-sized ball made of matzo meal, eggs, salt, melted schmaltz, and baking powder. Next, the chef adds chicken broth, pieces of chicken, and vegetables.
The Rueben is the best-selling sandwich and includes rye bread stacked with corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Thousand Island dressing. Another popular item, often mentioned in the hundreds of reviews online, is the Chopped Liver, which comes with a choice of bread, sliced onion, tomatoes, and lettuce.
“It’s grilled liver, sautéed onions, and garlic, and there’s chopped eggs inside,” Goldman says. “Spread it on rye — that’s the most popular way to eat it. But some prefer it with challah.”
And for dinner, Goldman suggests the fish plates. The chefs make White Fish Salad, Tuna Salad, and Gefilte Fish, a significant portion that could feed two people and comes with carrot slices and horseradish.
“The customers take it home and slice it up,” Goldman says. “It’s a popular Shabbat dish.”
To wash down the various foods, customers can pick between coffee, fountain drinks, beer, wine, and deli classic Dr. Brown sodas.
If you’re planning to come in for Hanukkah, come early. According to Goldman, most people come in after work during the holidays, and there could be a line waiting to purchase latkes and doughnuts during those special eight days and nights.