Zylberschtein’s Delicatessen and Bakery
8 a.m.-3 p.m. Wednesday, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursday, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday-Sunday; 11752 15th Ave. N.E., Seattle; zylberschtein.com
The Skokie ($20) at Zylberschtein’s is hardly a sandwich; it’s more of an unruly heap of corned beef and slaw that doesn’t come close to being tamed by the buttered slices of rye bread.
The Frankel ($13.75) is smaller, but still hefty, with two fried eggs, pastrami and melted cheddar packed between the halves of a bagel.
Zylberschtein’s is a deli and bakery that serves breakfast dishes, pastries, bread, bagels, whole cakes and Jewish deli staples like housemade pastrami and corned beef. And it even has a “bagel club,” which provides a home delivery service. But it shines with what owner Josh Grunig calls its “big, ridiculous sandwiches” like the Skokie and the Frankel, the types of behemoths that mark any great Jewish deli.
Grunig grew up in San Francisco without a large Jewish community — he says there was only one other Jewish family at his high school. He went on to graduate from the San Francisco Baking Institute and moved to Seattle to work as the night manager at Grand Central Bakery before starting his own bread business. In 2016, he opened Standard Bakery, which mainly sold sourdough and croissants, in Pinehurst.
But Grunig says he was always interested in Jewish delis — the ones with the bagels and the ridiculous sandwiches that can be found all over New York but are hard to find in the Bay Area or Seattle. Nostalgic for the foods he ate with his family as a kid, he turned Standard Bakery into Zylberschtein’s in 2018. He says it’s not a traditional Jewish deli (it’s not kosher), but that many of the recipes come from family. And it’s named after his mother’s family name, which was shortened to Stein upon the family’s arrival at Ellis Island.
For certain Jewish holidays, Grunig makes special breads or pastries: round challah with raisins for Rosh Hashana, sufganiyah (Jewish jelly doughnuts) for Hanukkah and matzo for Passover.
Grunig’s bread background shows in the bagel on the Frankel — chewy, with a rich wheat flavor and a bit of tang from sourdough starter, holding its own against the sharp, super-tender pastrami that’s smoked for 12 hours.
And the caraway in the rye bread adds a layer of anise-sweetness above the flavors of corned beef and Swiss cheese.
Zylberschtein’s is currently only selling food to-go out of a window, but there’s a covered outdoor area in front of the deli with a few tables and a counter where diners can eat. Grunig says he often sells out early, especially on Jewish holidays and on weekends, so order ahead online if you want to try his sandwiches.
11 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday; 1510 N.E. 117th St.; jebenacafe.com
Jebena Cafe is a family-run restaurant — since it opened 10 years ago, owner Mesfin Ayele says the only people who’ve made sour wheels of injera, aromatic beef tibs and the other Ethiopian dishes on the menu are himself, his sister and his mother.
The menu’s packed with lamb, beef and chicken dishes served with injera, the sour, spongy flatbread that’s a staple in Ethiopia. But it also has great options for vegans (all the vegetarian options on the menu are also vegan, Ayele says.) The cafe also roasts its own Ethiopian coffee, which you can sip in the small dining room after a meal.
The “vegetarian combination” ($16) comes with an assortment of vegetable and lentil dishes on a 2-foot-wide wheel of injera. The cabbage is crunchy, contrasting super-soft pieces of potato. The red and yellow lentils are subtly sweet and spicy, and the shiro wat (a blended chickpea dish) is a notch hotter, with a rich tomato flavor and a hint of Ethiopian cardamom — a popular spice in Ethiopia, with more bite than the more-common green cardamom.
The “meat combination 2” also provides variety, with lamb, beef and buttermilk cheese along with all of the dishes in the vegetarian combination. The kitfo, made with ground beef, burns the tongue with spicy berbere seasoning (which also includes Ethiopian cardamom) and soothes with butter. And the qey wot adds sparks of raw jalapeño and tomato to chopped lamb.
Tip: You’re not going to get a fork, so wash your hands before you eat and scoop the food into your mouth with pieces of injera.
El Parche Colombiano
11 a.m.-10 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday; 11740 15th Ave. N.E.; elparchecolombiano.com
The empanadas ($7.99) at El Parche Colombiano are something to celebrate. Deep fried, the cornmeal dough crunches and flakes under the teeth before giving way to a soft blend of potato and beef. Drizzle them with spicy, bright ají and you have a snack you could eat all day.
El Parche Colombiano offers the empanadas and other Colombian dishes out of a restaurant in a strip mall in Pinehurst, which also has a full bar.
Beyond the empanadas, the bandeja paisa ($16.99) is a good choice for meat lovers, with a spread of grilled skirt steak, chorizo, ground beef and a large piece of chicharrón (fried pork skin) with an arepa (cornmeal cake), beans, sweet plantains, avocado and a fried egg.
And the sancocho ($12.99) is a satisfying stew of tender pieces of beef, green plantain, yucca, potatoes and a chunk of corn on the cob served with rice and avocado. The broth is thick with starch and tangy from the plantain.
Correction: A previous version of this story stated that Grunig’s mother’s family name was shortened by officials upon immigration through Ellis Island. Grunig isn’t sure how his name was shortened.