Saturday, March 27, 2010

Attman's Authentic New York Delicatessen

Attman's Delicatessen
1019 East Lombard Street
Baltimore, MD 21202-4505

To celebrate the glorious end – or perhaps more appropriately, atrocious beating – of another Pharmacy therapeutics exam, I dragged my friend Tiffany C. with me to a Baltimore deli I’d been itching to visit for quite some time now. I warned her that we would be venturing to the more ghetto outskirts of town, which she thankfully took into stride as she accompanied (or better yet, even offered to drive) me to my latest food destination.

Sure enough we were greeted by some rather interesting characters milling about the restaurant doors. Not to be deterred, we eased into the tight quarters past the dusty blue awning, only to be met by an unexpectedly long line of customers waiting to be served. The meat guys were friendly (maybe a little TOO friendly, as one of them proceeded to hook an arm around me and deliver a good-natured squeeze of approval to my usual flurry of picture-taking), answering patiently as we prodded them for recommendations. They worked efficiently but were in no hurry to push us to order, letting us linger upon the mind-numbing array of sandwich menu options behind the front counter. After a bit of indecisive floundering, I finally settled upon the Reuben (Voted Baltimore’s Best) with Jewish Corned Beef, Sauerkraut and Melted Swiss with Russian Dressing for $8.29.

Looking for a place to sit, we stumbled upon the main dining room (also known as Stuart Attman’s world famous kibbitz room), where the walls were replete with collections of black-and-white photos dating back to the early 1900’s, and other miscellaneous historical trinkets. It was during this enjoyable scrutinization of our surroundings that we learned Attman’s was established in 1915, and passed down through 3 family generations. If there’s anything that makes a hole-in-the-wall establishment even more appealing in my book, it’s knowing that years and years of history lie behind it.

Onto the Reuben: the corned beef here was reminiscent of some of the delis I’ve been to in NYC; flavorful and juicy, mingling perfectly with the melted swiss and sauerkraut. The Russian Dressing had a subtly tangy flavor, indulging our tastes for the sweet and salty. The sandwich size is appropriately sized for one person but if you’re looking to split with a friend, get the double or large size so you won’t be left yearning for more.

All in all, if you can look past the questionable location and take Attman’s for what it is – a historical landmark with an old school Baltimore feel – then you can better appreciate the good food and people this place has to offer. I’ll definitely be back to sample the pastrami, brisket, and side platter options, preferably with the slaw instead of the sauerkraut. And preferably before the hours of 3pm.

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