Restaurant Guide 2013: Kenny & Zuke's

1038 SW Stark St., 222-3354,

[BRISK BUSINESS] For my money, nobody in town does better brisket than Kenny & Zuke's Delicatessen. Kenny's killer pastrami starts with lean beef brisket that's brined for days before being slow-smoked until it's everything the downmarket cut can be. It's also a perfect ambassador for Kenny & Zuke's, the sit-down sandwich and bagel shop that walks a fine line between fast-casual and full-service, as it presents its unique brand of artisanal New York-style deli fare. Order the things they work the hardest on: for breakfast, boiled bagels instead of egg dishes; for lunch or dinner, pickled fruits and vegetables and house-smoked meats instead of tuna or turkey. Guys at the counter will chat you up, service is efficient enough to churn through large crowds and there are enough frills (beer, brownies, blintzes) to round out a meal. But whatever you do, get the brisket.

Ideal meal: Pucker Up pickle plate ($5.45) and a classic Reuben ($14.45) to share.

Best deal: The pickle plate comes with a huge selection of fun stuff—asparagus, jalapeños, green tomatoes—for less than $6.

Pro tip: Owner Ken Gordon also operates Bagelworks in Northwest Portland and Deli Bar in North Portland. They're quick-service counter places with the same great bagels and pastrami.

7 am-8 pm Monday-Thursday, 7 am-9 pm Friday, 8 am-9 pm Saturday, 8 am-8 pm Sunday. $$.


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