I finally got to Stopsky's Deli on Mercer Island yesterday, and despite all the good things I heard, I gotta say I was disappointed. Stopsky's menu claims its pastrami and corned beef are "hand-sliced," and maybe they are, but if so it's proving to be a disadvantage. Yesterday at least, the meat was cut thick in uniform rectangular slices, which made for an attractive presentation, but an unnecessarily chewy sandwich.
Hand-slicing meat and fish is an art, and something a menu should only boast about when it's done right. For example, the Pacific Northwest produces some of the best Nova-style smoked salmon I've ever tasted, and at great prices, but few people here seem to know (or care) how to slice it. The result is an experience that pales in comparison to the expertly hand-sliced lox I enjoy when I'm back East.
These days I eat a predominantly vegetarian diet, but as a culinary Jew I retain a soft spot for good authentic deli. Stopsky's alas, with its thick cut meat, simply isn't authentic. Perhaps it was just one bad day, so I'll have to give it another try. (The service yesterday was friendly, but extraordinarily slow. How long does it take to assemble a couple sandwiches?) But while I've got my gripes with Goldbergs' Deli too, next time I've got a hankering to clog my arteries with fatty/salty beef, I'm driving the extra 10 minutes to Factoria.