Las Vegas, Nevada         Date of Visit  12/12/10             

Having such a great meal last year at the Carnegie Deli in Vegas we were excited to find a deli in the Wynn where we would be staying for a portion of our journey. Named after a long time friend of the owner, ZoozaCrackers boasts a top of the line deli. Couldn’t wait. Located right off of the casino (right outside the sports book; smart) we ended up waiting for about a half hour as they switched over for lunch. Having been in our rooms, which were a good bit more fancy-dancy than we are accustomed (seriously, everything in the room is remote operated and the bathrooms are almost as big as most other rooms I have stayed in Vegas) what could the deli possibly contain. It was time to find out.



Less than Exciting Potato Salad

ZooZaCrackers has an odd mixture of self-serve deli (ordering) and servers who deliver your goods to the table. We ordered a ZooZa Dip (Beef), a Reuben, and since Steph fondly remembers our Knishes in NYC, a savory potato knish. The seating is a sort of laid-back lush which made the wait for the sandwiches comfortable. One place described the sandwiches as “over-stuffed”. Apparently some folks have never been to a classic NY style deli. To be fair they do have their fair share of meat for a sandwich, it’s just when it comes to delis, overstuffed has a particular meaning. The corned beef in the Reuben was tender, trimmed and good but it would struggle to match the flavors of Carnegie or Katz or Primos or Slymans. The Potato salad was infinitely boring and would have at least been passable with some salt and pepper...they should try Slymans.

The cheese was nice but the kraut and dressing were nearly nonexistent on the sandwich and palate. The beef was the biggest disappointment for me. A great roll was filled with some ho-hum beef which really lacked in fundamental beef flavor. I hoped the dip would accentuate the positive but it was suspiciously underwhelming as well.

Reuben was Pretty Good

Beef Dip was Not

The Knish was Really Good

Now to the knish. Easily the best thing we tried. The pastry was warm and flaky, like a potpie, filled with a well seasoned potato mash and topped with a few slices of the pretty good corned beef. If I ever returned I would definitely pick the pastry.

Everything considered, when it comes to delis, you are far better off finding a place that has been around for a hundred years, started by less than well-to-do immigrants, who have survived by honing their craft and pleasing generations of diners. Billions of dollars will never match their abilities. If in Vegas, I would do the same.

Inside the Knish




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