Wednesday, April 29, 2009

D.Z. Akins (San Diego, CA)

Before I went on my pescetarian diet I had myself a few beef filled adventures. I've been hearing about a Jewish Deli "around" (15 minutes away wtf!) my place that served a killer pastrami sandwich. I asked around and was told about D.Z. Akins, THE "local" delicatessen. Serving 134 different sandwiches, D.Z. Akins has been a staple of the San Diego community since 1980.

Located in East San Diego, DZ Akins has your standard Large Jewish Deli Fare, cheese blitzes, potato pancakes, "Jewish penicillin", pastrami sandwiches, tongue.. you name it. A take out counter for carved meats and preserved seafood (shudder)

Baked goods just like your momma used to make them, that's if your momma loves using a lb of butter per cookie.

And of course a gift shop, selling all the necessary D.Z. Akins souvenirs, trinkets, and other.. completely random accessories that really fit more at a truck stop than at a full service restaurant. The menu is like a tome of food. Each page results in more and more sandwiches, entrees, desserts, fountain drinks and appetizers... I'd probably be sitting there flipping through the menu for a good 20 minutes if this was my first time there with no idea what they are "famous" for.

Since I did know what I was going to order, I decided to nom on some house cured pickles while I waited for the waitress.

A crisp pickle with a hint of brine, the pickle has yet to "erode" into the mucus color exterior that we all know and love. I actually prefer this type of pickle, that hasn't had the opportunity to "ferment" and still has the light crunchy texture that I love so much from raw cucumbers but have a slight kick of sour from the brine.

Of course, if you dig deeper into the giant pot of pickles, you'll find some that are really hitting their pickly stride .. if that kind of stuff floats you boat.

Now on to the sandwiches! All Sandwiches are served with fries and radioactive coleslaw.

Look at this thing, I thought someone had spilled slime into my coleslaw when it first appeared. Isn't this the same stuff that mutated 4 normal turtles into the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle? Is Coleslaw supposed to be scary neon green?

If you think the slaw is scary looking, check out the sauce

I am now 100% sure that someone dropped OOZE into my coleslaw. So far I haven't grown ninja powers so I think it's pretty safe. Obviously, I finished the coleslaw.. so it was pretty good =P. Finely shredded cabbage with a sweet tangy sauce, I enjoyed it, it's no KFC coleslaw but it was good enough for me.

If you want to add the coleslaw into your sandwich, it costs $1.50 extra. Or you can be like me.. save yourself $1.50.. by stuffing it in yourself.

First up , French Dip Sandwich.

Typical well done thick sliced roast beef. *shrug*. Jeff didn't think it was anything amazing, decent sandwich.

I'm going to combine the next two sandwiches, since the ingredients are pretty similar.

Next up, Corned beef and beef tongue sandwich with lettuce and tomato.

And a tongue, corned beef, pastrami sandwich.. with no lettuce and tomato.

What I expect from tongue, is a very rich concentrated meaty flavor mixed with a metallic after taste. What I got here, was a piece of salted beef. It had the rough and thick texture of tongue, but none of that dense flavor that I love cooking over an open grill.

The pastrami had a light smoky flavor with a hint of the salty cure. I wish it were thicker cut, the thin cuts I don't think give you the opportunity to taste the meat and the cure, no matter how high they stack the thin slices up. You need those fat slices of meat interlocked with fat and skin to really get that deep cure.

Corned beef was alright, a bit salty. Didn't stand out.

The rye bread was dry and un-unique (is that a word?). So thinly sliced that the beef mushed into the sandwich. Yet the crust was so hard that I ended up leaving the 3/4th of the crust cause it made the sandwich so difficult to eat.

The best part of this meal? The deception by the restaurant. Usually when you're at a Jewish deli you get those fat stacked sandwiches that are filled to the BRIM with meat. You can't even finish the meat cause it's stacked so high up you can't grasp your hands around it. In this case, buyer beware. The meat is double folded in the front so it looks like they give you a huge bulging portion.. but if you look in the back half of the sandwich there is almost NO meat. I ended up laying the meat out evenly and it was a pretty standard deli sandwich.

All in all a pretty average experience.

I'm getting more and more confused with San Diego. So many "institutions" of San Diego have disappointed me. Why are these places even popular? Is it because people can't bring themselves to criticize places like this? The places their parents/grand parents took them to as kids? Or is it that so many in San Diego are devoid of taste and just follow people like sheep?

I can understand people liking the restaurant. It's not bad, the prices aren't horrible.. if you want some pastrami I don't know of too many places in San Diego. But to believe this is one of the best Jewish delis out there is a fallacy and an insult to places like Langers who are true institutions .. not just average restaurants trying to create a "Jewish dining" feel to bring in the target clientele. I felt it was such a gimmick, walking in and seeing a gift store there.

So if you want to try it yourself and tell me I might have been there on an off day here's the address

D.Z. Akins
6930 Alvarado Rd.
San Diego, California 92120



Anonymous said...

Give Elijah's ( a try. I'm a big fan of pastrami and they have yet to disappoint.

Melissa Good Taste said...

My grandfather always used to eat cow tongue sandwiches. White bread with a sesame seed crust, salt and pepper and a brined cow tongue. Yummy.

Charlie Fu said...

Anonymous: I've actually been there, it's been so long I dont remember how it was. That's for suggesting it again!

Melissa: I do love my cow tongue =) especially with a little bit of sea salt? *DROOL*

He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named said...

that's a funny picture of how only one side of the sandwich was packed. i've been here once. i tried a whitefish sandwich for the first time and didn't really like it. nothin against dz tho...just that i didn't really like that kind of fish in a sandwich. place definitely has a large menu.

Anonymous said...

I actually really love this place. They're not pretending to be a Jewish deli, they are one! The food is almost always excellent and I've never left hungry. And the gift shop is adorable and one of only a few places across town to get Judaica. You might have to give this place another try... get the Reuben and Matzo Ball soup. And just ask for a thicker cut of pastrami...

Bill said...

If you're ever around LA you should swing by Langers. I think they have some great pastrami. But that's just me comparing it to The Hat and Tommy Pastrami.

Anonymous said...

Bill, you might want to finish reading the article before leaving suggestions!

Anonymous said...

City Deli in Hillcrest for real Jewish style sandwiches that don't disappoint.