Schmaltz it up at Sammy’s!

You wanna know what my childhood was like?

How I ate and my family get togethers resembled?

Then head on down to Chrystie street.

pix 030 Walk right into Sammy’s Roumanian Steak House(reservations required) and help yourself to a crunchy, mild new pickles sitting on the table. They are the best -they come from Guss’s, which used to be right down the street. Now that fabled pickle place is in Brooklyn, but they still make the juiciest pickled tomatoes, garlickiest dills, and best half sour pickles in town.

pix 031 Have some rye bread, too if you want…

pix 033 topped, of course, with schmaltz. Liquid chicken fat. Sitting on the table like olive oil.

pix 034 It’s surprisingly light, with a rich, fried-chicken taste.

Yes, I just called chicken fat light.

And compared to the rest of the meal, it really is.
pix 032 Don’t think that the rest of the meal is going to get any more refined. This is a mashup of a bar mitzvah, your grandma’s dining room, and the resort from Dirty Dancing. There are friendly but busy servers, bottles of vodka that come frozen in ice, and Danni Luv in the corner, playing everything from New York, New York to very dirty versions of Frank Sinatra Songs. D

Oh, and you are expected to get up and dance the hora. It will happen.

pix 043 Chciken liver with all the fixings

So very good and homey. Minerally, very rich chicken liver loaded with juicy fried onions, crisp shards of radish, and enough schmaltz to make the mixture positively silky. It’s definitely very liver-y tasting, but if you like chicken liver, this is the most classic Jewish interpretation on the planet. I wouldn’t dream of leaving here without ordering it.

pix 044 Karnatzlack

Dracula, take cover. These ultra garlicky sausages are made of beef, veal, and enough of the strong stuff to knock you on your back. They are juicy and meaty, with a coarse grind and a heavy dose of black pepper. The texture is a little too rustic for me, but others who like rough, country sausages will love this.

pix 046 Latkes

They look like the frozen crap that you find in cardboard boxes at the supermarket.

They taste like dense hash browned potatoes, loaded with sweet onion flavor and a light, thin, crispy crust. It is creamy and rich and crunchy and perfectly salty. Load it up with some sweet fried onions. It’s different from the latkes I make, but at least as delicious.

pix 048 Roumanian steak

The proudest Romanian export since Nadia Comaneci. This skirt steak comes hanging over both sides of the plate, doused in a garlicky, peppery, salty marinade. It is highly seasoned and incredibly tasty. The meat is fatty, though, and rare enough to statnd up to the seasonings – not bloody, but very moist and pink all the way through. I defy you to stop eating before you are sick to your stomach.

It’s just what you want when Dani up front starts asking which diners are shiksas.

pix 049 If you order the ribeye, just eat it off the bone like my Grandpa does, and leave the carcasses in a pile on the plate.

pix 053 Egg creams

Not my favorite dessert (because, really, who needs carbonated chocolate milk), but when the server brings you an entire carton of whole milk, an old fashioned seltzer bottle, and a brand new bottle of U-Bet chocolate syrup (the best chocolate syrup ion the planet)…well, you have to get a sip.

pix 054 Plus, you can always fortify dessert with the warm, buttery, chocolatey rugalech on offer.

pix 035 Sammy’s is a trip. It’s gonna cost you $50 per person without alcohol, there aren’t any nice bottles of wine on offer, and you may get bullied into singing, karaoke style, Hava Nagila. You pay for the privilege of eating homestyle Eastern European Jewish food in an atmosphere that is fun enough for your friends and familiar enough for Great Aunt Esther. It’s the place of all of my family reunions and some of my most fun party dinners.

To me, it’s home.

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  1. I need to go here, stat!

  2. Chicken fat in syrup bottles.

    “others who like rough country sausages will love these” TWSS