In its literal translation, nosherei means morsels or little tastes. The play here, Nosher (translation, someone who enjoys snacking or noshing), and Rye, the ubiquitous, aromatic deli sandwich bread, makes perfect sense. Someone who owns a deli named Nosher Rye wants you to feel welcome to sample, to savor.
When’s the last time you had a really good corned beef sandwich, meat mounded high between two moist, soft layers of sour bread? Or a pastrami sandwich, with a delightful perfume from a balance of spices that pastrami wears so beautifully? Well, your yearning days are over. Allendale’s Nosher Rye is the real deal. From the moment you walk in the door and the aroma of chicken soup, steaming corned beef and pastrami, appetizing and zesty pickles hits you, you can tell you are in experienced deli hands, so to speak. That wonderful scent promises good things will follow.
This 48-seat restaurant, which recently added 24 outdoor dining seats, is guided by Steve Vaccari, owner of Goldberg’s Bagels of Wyckoff, veteran deli man Bobby Hayes and Brett Vaccari, Steve’s son. It’s all in the details for these deli men, who verge on the fanatical when it comes to just the right bread (rye from Rockland Bakery, Challah from Zadie’s in Fair Lawn), just the right slicing thickness of meats (thinner for tongue, a bit thicker for pastrami and brisket), the purveyors and cuts of meat they prepare, the perfect pickle to provide that gratifying crunch, very specific condiments. You get the picture.
My visits to the restaurant have confirmed that Nosher Rye excels in meats, and the sandwiches, platters and soups are generously served up. Their motto, “We don’t just make sandwiches, we BUILD them!” is visible in the heft and craftsmanship that goes into their sandwich making. Sandwiches are comprised of neatly stacked meats and accompaniments, carefully sliced halves, served up so interiors face opposite direction, defying balance and gravity. Homemade is the order of the day here, from soups and chopped liver to latkes, chicken pot pie ($5,95) and rugelach.
Rare without seeming raw roast beef is tender and full of rich, beefy flavor. Sliced from the bone turkey breast is moist and well-flavored. Brisket is lean and served up thin sliced in sandwiches and thicker with gravy in entree form. Jumbo specials (those chubby franks) are split and served with baked beans or fries ($10.95) are a menu item that will bring back fond childhood memories for many.
Chicken soup with matzah ball is delicious, a tender, well-seasoned ball served in a golden broth boasting plenty of flavor (no soup starter at Nosher Rye, just hours of cooking and then straining chicken and aromatics). Chicken in the pot is served in a hefty bowl with ladle to provide a comforting dose of TLC. This is soup that grandma would be proud to serve.
The restaurant welcomes sampling before an order is placed. I asked for a taste of the chopped liver and was delighted. The texture (chunks of liver, egg and sauteed onion perceptible) was solid enough to provide a layer in a sandwich without getting lost.
I lost my stuffed derma virginity at Nosher Rye. Was it a memorable experience? Yup. Neat little disks of delicately minced carrot and onion blended with matzah meal and served with a deeply rich, brown beef gravy. Lovely little casseroles of noodle kugel are equally reminiscent of holidays at grandma’s, nicely browned noodles atop a sweet swirl of raisins and chopped fruits underneath. Crispy, eggy, onion-studded latkes may have a hard time edging out the plank fries, which got better reception amongst the sandwich eaters at out table.
Smoked salmon and fish may seem easy to resist, thanks to the intense aromas of the smoked meats, but they are worth exploring. Herring and other appetizing staples are available, along with smokey joe (tuna salad, whitefish salad, egg salad and nova, lettuce, tomato, onion) and sloppy joe (corned beef, pastrami, roast beef, turkey, salami, cole slaw and Russian Dressing) sandwiches, $15.95, encased in paper thin slices of rye.
For a couple guys enjoying a ball game together, go for the Big Kahuna, a 1 lb. assortment of any sliced meats on rye. Or try the Triple Deckers, which are massive and easier to eat when deconstructed.
Nosher Rye has a full arsenal of Dr. Brown’s. But don’t miss the egg cream, hand-stirred and a taste of old New York. Sandwiches start at $8.25. Soups at $2.95. Knishes at $2.95. Reubens start at $11.95. Burgers start at $8.95. Plenty of vegetarian options and a kids menu are also available. The restaurant offers catering. Essen bubelluh!
Open 7 days. For information, call 201-995-1204. www.nosherrye.com. 51 West Allendale Road Allendale, NJ
Hours are Monday-Thursday, 10AM-8PM, Friday 10AM-9PM, Saturday 9AM-9PM, Sunday 8AM-8PM.
Heidi Raker Goldstein is our Bergen county regional editor. A locavore, cooking enthusiast, publicist and mother of three junior gourmands, Heidi is equally comfy in greasy spoons and high-end restaurants. When not visiting local farmers markets and farm stands in Bergen and Rockland counties, this New England native, former Manhattanite and Bergen county resident is busy running her PR and green marketing agency, Raker Goldstein & Co., buying food, planning menus, cooking food, writing about food or simply eating. To reach Heidi, email her at email@example.com.