I was raised Catholic in Fargo, North Dakota, and married a fantastic, beautiful Jewish woman from Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley. (Yes, I married a hot Valley girl!) We honor and celebrate each other’s traditions and holidays.
She and her family introduced me to the wonderful world of Jewish delis. These establishments generally not only sell meats, fish, salads, soups, and other delights to take home — but many are also full-fledged restaurants. And they serve pretty much anything you want.
Whenever a family member doesn’t feel well, one of us visits Weiler’s Deli in Canoga Park, California, to pick up some matzo ball soup. (“The Jewish penicillin,” as it’s known.) When taking someone to the Hollywood-Burbank Airport, breakfast at Brent’$ Deli in Northridge is practically required. (The dollar sign for “Brent’s” is intentional. It’s delicious and the staff is amazing — but the prices are a little uffda. That said, their brisket sandwiches are fantastic.)
Speaking of uffda, I read with great interest a New York Times travel story about Fargo — my hometown. I’m delighted the profile’s writer, Danielle Braff, and her daughter enjoyed their Fargo visit. The city has grown and developed so much — especially in the 24 years since I left. (Was it something I said or did, Fargo?! 🙂 )
Ms. Braff visited a number of Fargo restaurants — and was particularly taken with a place named BernBaum’s.
“(As) a Jewish New Yorker currently living in Chicago,” she writes, “I can now say that the best Jewish deli I’ve ever visited was BernBaum’s, on Broadway, a five-year-old Jewish-Scandinavian deli in downtown Fargo.
My eyes lit up. I never knew Fargo had anything close to a Jewish deli. (There isn’t a large Jewish population in the area.)
“We have to go there!” my wife said when I told her about Ms. Braff’s glowing review.
So, we paid BernBaum’s a visit during a recent Fargo trip. Would it be the best Jewish deli we ever visited?
BernBaum’s Jewish Deli in Fargo — Review
BernBaum’s is open daily from 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM. You’ll find BernBaum’s at 402 N. Broadway in downtown Fargo. (Just above 4th Avenue.) Here’s their website.
Some of the dishes place Scandanavian twists on Jewish food.
We placed our lunch order at the walk-up counter and received this grasshopper praying mantis toy (thanks, GreggB57!). We placed it on our table so restaurant staff knew where to deliver our food when it was ready.
We ordered the Latke + Brisket, Sarah’s Blintzes, and Myron’s Chicken Matzo Ball Soup.
I love a good matzo ball soup. BernBaum’s was OK. Their soup featured some crunchy onions (or something like that). That twist didn’t do much for us. We weren’t very wowwed by this version of a usually wonderful comfort food.
The blintzes were quite good. The crepe was cooked to near perfection and the cheese filling tasted so good. We’d definitely order them again. Sarah deserves five stars for them 🙂 .
Both my wife and I love latkes and brisket. So, how could we go wrong with the Latke + Brisket?
We found the latke pretty tasty. The brisket was fine — but nothing too special. It needed a little more flavor. (And that’s me — Mr. Bland — saying that.) The meat also was a tad dry. That said, I know brisket can be a tricky meat to cook. My wife and René both know how to cook brisket. Some members of family will attest that I know how not to make brisket.
I’m glad we visited BernBaum’s in Fargo — and we truly hope it continues to do well. (Hey, it’s a Jewish deli in a metro area that doesn’t have a lot of Jewish people — and has been around for five years!) I love small businesses — especially in my hometown!
I think we entered with extremely high expecations. When someone who, we presume, grew up visiting New York City Jewish delis like Zabar’s, Katz’s, and Carnegie Deli said BernBaums is the the best Jewish deli she ever visited, we figured we’d love it. But “best” is usually a subjective term.
BernBaum’s is definitely the best Jewish deli — in Fargo.
Don’t get me wrong: we found BernBaum’s to be fine. I don’t know we’ll visit again — at least, for lunch. Maybe we’ll stop by for a bacon, egg, and cheese some morning during our next Fargo trip.
If you’ve been to BernBaum’s, what do you think? How do you think it compares to Jewish delis in major cities? Please share your thoughts in the Comments section below!
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