Judging, Um, Well, Judging Food


I remember in a previous post someone was raving about So’s Your Mom located at 1831 Columbia Rd NW. The reviews on Yelp were equally glowing. So what’s the story – is this place as great as everyone says? Any particular specialties/sandwiches that are a must buy?

41 Comment

  • I don’t think it’s been particularly special since the original owner sold it off many years ago, but it remains a fine spot to pick up a pound of corned beef and a loaf of rye on the way home. My heart believes that deli meats taste better if there’s an actual Jew at the slicer (not ham, of course) but the new owners are very friendly and helpful. And they have a lot of weird stuff that you can never find when you need it — chutneys and sea salt and that sort of thing.

    A good place to have in the ‘hood.

  • loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooove it. not like its the most amazing food. its just the place has charm. And its cheap for a sandwhich on the go.

  • Irving. I agree and on that point where are all the good delis in this town? tere isnt really a lot to choose from. and how come its so damn hard to find good kaiser rolls. with poppy seeds. not seasame

  • Anonymous —

    If you find a good deli, please let me know!

  • someone once told me that all the delis in DC shut down after the riots and the shopkeepers made sure their kids went to college. Morty’s Delicatessen on Wisconsin Ave in Tenleytown comes recommended, but I haven’t tried it and bet it’s expensive.

    For my money, the diners like woodside and Grubb road are probably better bets in Silver Spring even if they aren’t delis.

    NY has Pizza and delis, DC does not. We’re a different city and after 25 years of lamenting this kind of thing, I’ve given up complaining. We just don’t have those kinds of stores.

  • POP- on a side note. I was driving a couple days ago down around the home depot and saw someplace called MG roast beef. or maybe it was MGM roast beef. looked like it was new but not yet opened. Anyone out there know if this is going to be a deli or fast food or what?

  • WAGSHALL’s!! True it is over west of the park, but it is worth it for once a week sandwich bliss!!

  • I used to live around the corner from So’s Your Mom and used to go a lot more often–haven’t had a bad sandwich there, though it did drive me nuts that it took forever to toast a bagel. Oh well. Love their pepper turkey with havarti on a soft sub roll. Good veggie pocket, too. Sandwich, bag of chips, and a cream soda on a Saturday afternoon and I was set for the day. Just might make my way down there today, now that you’ve put it on my mind again. I’m not looking for the most NY-authentic deli experience in DC–for that, I’d go to NY–but for great, cheap sandwiches with nice folks behind the counter, this place fits the bill.

  • Anon 12:08 – I would love to find a New Orleans style fried shrimp po-boy but I feel like I am doomed – so you are not alone in the wishing department.

    I have come to believe that because a large percentage of DC area folks are from somewhere else, nothing really developed and took hold locally food-wise.

  • Woodside Deli in Silver Spring has been around since 1947, I do not know Grubb Road, for deli food try the Tastee Diner in Silver Spring, the Lincoln House Deli and Restaurant which also houses the Waffle Shop as Lincoln’s Waffle Shop, the Colonel Brooks Tavern in Brookland or if on a drive in the country, the Olney Ale House, which makes its own bread and good sandwiches with soup, I am sure delis can be found off the beaten path.

  • ET, try the cajun place in Adams Morgan for the po-boy. Don’t know if they only have fried oyster though.

  • true wagshalls is good. but it doesnt have that deli feel. and there are too many republicans on the hall of fame wall. but what do you expect for a spring valley establishment

  • it would be very easy to make a Katz Deli type place in DC its just that nobody has. it would be wildly popular Im sure. I also like pumperknickles in chevy chase

  • What do your mean about too many republicans? Balance of power, with both parties.
    If you like pictures on the wall, a deli, Chick and Ruths Delly on Main Street in Annapolis is a safe bet!

  • ET: It costs two arms and a leg, but the oyster poboy at B.Smiths in Union Station ain’t half bad and the remoulade dressin’ will at least remind you of NOLA. Had it twice, haven’t ate anything else on the menu there.

    Speakin’ of NOLA, Lil’ Gal and I lit out of the Big Easy on Saturday with a muffaletta from Central Grocery to eat on the way through Mississippi and ‘Bama. The CG isn’t my favorite sandwich shop by a mile (there is a place on Airline Highway in Baton Rouge that makes the best muffaletta i’ve ever had), but kicks seven shades of shit out of any sandwich made in this town. We also had the traditional beignets and coffee w/ chicory at Cafe du Monde before we left town too.

    The worst part about coming back from the south is realizing you just aren’t going to get that food again for another year. So much about DC is really wonderful, but quality small eateries (sandwich shops, taquerias, road houses) are sadly missing in DC for the most part. Oh well.

  • Mmmm…curry chicken salad…on pita…mmm.

  • Is Louisiana Express still open in Bethesda? It made serviceable Po Boys since the late 1980s. I know prices got out of whack with quality, but they had plenty of interesting options and were a Washingtonian Cheap Eats staple from 1992-1998.

    I don’t compare them to something really southern, but if you have to have a shrimp Po Boy, they sell it.

  • Neener: how come it is whenever someone mentions a good sandwich or Mexican place it’s always out in the ‘burbs? That’s so weird to me because I’m used to all the good small places being in the city and the Ruby Tuesdays being out in the boondocks. DC is back-ass-wards.

  • Thumbs up. It might not be authentic, but it’s really good. When I want a good, deli-style sandwich I head to So’s Your Mom. And I join in on the lament of so few establishments in the district proper with good Jewish food.

  • Like, for instance, I understand there is great Vietnamese food to be had in Virginia at some Vietnamese mall. But frankly, my desire to have decent Vietnamese pho isn’t strong enough to travel by car for an hour both ways. In Houston a good section of midtown is rife with about 100 Vietnamese places (the street signs are in Vietnamese and English). But in central DC we get joints like George’s that sell Pizza/Hotwings/Chinese/Subs — all of which is inedible — DC is funny that way.

  • Second that curried chicken salad!
    Also the emmenthaler and avocado!

  • I used to like Loebs Deli at 15th and I, I don’t know if they’re good anymore.

  • I used to live pretty close to this place. I don’t think it’s that good….
    When it comes to this town and delis, well, a nod is as good as a wink to a blind man.

  • Loeb’s on 15th and I rocks! I go there for lunch at least once a week – YUMMY!

  • So’s Your Mom is very good. But no, it’s not a deli. As far as that is concerned, I’ve heard good things about Deli City on Bladensburg Rd, but I haven’t had a chance to try it yet.

    As far as sandwiches, in general, go though – So’s Your Mom is great. And then you’ve got A. Litteri’s and Mangialardo”s (which reminds me I have a post on the latter ready to go; just need to send it to PoP) for Italian subs, which are both serviceable. I, of course, also love Chicken Madness at Wisey’s in G’town and the chicken sandwich at Pollo Sabroso.

    But, for a real deli – I head to my beloved Baltimore. Attman’s or Lenny’s. The Grubb Rd. Deli is great, but I think the Baltimore delis have it beat. (Though, Grubb Rd has that pickle bar…)

    OH, and for your po’boy, try Southside 815 in Old Town. They do a decent approximation. Breadline used to have po’boys from time to time – I used to work above it and ate there almost daily, but I no longer have the menu schedule memorized.

  • Odentex–

    are you walking to Arlington? because if you live in Petworth or Columbia Heights and have a car, you can be at Eden Shopping Center (the Vietnamese Mall) in less than 30 minutes. i go there from N. Capital and New Hampshire at least once a month.

    the one thing i really miss is Eastern NC BBQ (pig-pickin’s). dear lord, there is nothing finer. and every time someone locally claims to have “NC barbeque,” it doesn’t taste anything like NC barbeque. there is a place in NOVA east of Dulles i have to check out sometime that claims to have won some NC BBQ contest–Carolina Brothers BBQ.

    we all lament what we think DC doesn’t (and should) have but don’t always appreciate what we do have. i grew up in a small southern town, and we had nothing but burger joints and fried [insert any meat or vegetable here] cafes. when i came to this area, i was overwhelmed with the great food choices locally. There are excellent Indian, Ethiopian, Salvadoran, Jamaican, Spanish, Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese and Afghan places within a 20 minute drive of Petworth (some within a 20 minute walk). There are even two great little Bosnian cafes in Alexandria if you don’t mind spending an extra 15 minutes on the road. i’ve traveled all over the US, and i don’t hesitate to say that with the exception of San Francisco and NYC, i’d stack DC-area restaurants up against anyplace else in the US.

  • I’ll have to check it out–the name alone is great!

  • Odentex,

    Honestly, honestly, since I grew up in Bethesda, do people want to know why bethesda restauranteurs put their places outside of the city? really?


    In the 1980s that’s all it was. Soft racism like fear of the crack wars and Mayor Barry’s minions of graft/bribe-seekers predominantly. I managed a retail outlet in 1988 and the health inspectors did ask for do-re-mi from the owners. But while some of those concerns were justified-ish, there were a solid 15-20 years of plain racism. So the city has had about 10-15 years to work up from that.

    And I mean, there were problems with city services and the kind of thing where the city would build community centers that would fall apart while Baltimore built the Inner Harbor to attract people downtown. There are/were definitely issues of competence in this city and too many really dumb ideas like the Nehemiah Center.

    but… I remember when people wouldn’t drive into Friendship Heights because of the murders in Anacostia and that’s just not rational.

  • I agree with Anonymous 3:32. You won’t find a higher concentration of Ethiopian restaurants anywhere else outside of Addis Ababa, and although Silver Spring may have the best Salvadorean restaurants. Mt. Pleasant, Columbia Heights and Petworth do have quite a few (with Guatamalan and Honduran thrown in for good measure).

  • Parkway Deli on Grubb Road. Try the “Meal in Itself” sandwich. They also have a Pickle Bar. I’d weigh 300 lbs if I lived near that place

  • so’s your mom is where its at. the italian hero is beast. they opened a 2nd spot in the palisades called “the paliasades deli” not quite as good (slight different), but a much nicer location with regards to selection. and yes, so’s your mom is a deli…
    vaces makes a pretty solid italian as well. i loves me some sandwiches.

  • Anonymous 3:32:

    Yeah, the Eden mall is the one I’m speaking of. I’ve heard good things, and perhaps you can make it to Falls Church in 30 minutes by car, Speed Racer, but I haven’t had that experience myself. It’s not even close to the metro, so you’d have to drive.

    I go to Virginia as little as possible and my experience is that a trip any further than Alexandria is basically a 2 hour driving commitment. I may end up heading to Eden one day, but it’s not exactly convenient.

    Point is It’d just be nice if you could get some good authentic (and cheap?) food inside the city other than Ethiopian, Salvadorian, or Jamaican (which I agree, we do have good options for). That’s not exactly a dynamic selection, and there are just so many papusas one man can eat. That’s all I’m saying.

  • Speaking of sandwiches, has PoP ever asked for the best gyro?

    Two categories: “(1) Best gyro in the area & (2) Best gyro actually in the city itself and near a metro since Oden is scared of driving to Virginia and being runned-over by SUV’s.”

    I don’t have an entry per se as the only one I’ve had more than once is from the Acropolis in Union Station basement, and while it’s no award winner (and a bit dry), I’ll eat it. Had one at Old City on Columbia once too — also sorta dry meat and average taste.

    There has got to be a better gyro in this town, don’t there?

  • the gyros at Ambrosia (behind the Target off Rockville Pike in Rockville) is pretty damned tasty, but requires wheels and driving beyond the Golden Diamond of DC. i can’t recall a decent gyro in DC proper.

    there’s also a killer israeli schwarma with about 25 fixin’s from which to choose at Max’s Kosher Deli in Wheaton, within a 5 minute walk from the Wheaton Metro. Note that it is closed for the Sabbath, but any other day, you an hit it for lunch and sit with the kitchen rabbi as he eats his daily bowl of soup in the dining room.

    now you have me jonesing for a good doner kebap.

  • Odentex, try Taverna the Greek Islands on Penn and 3rd on the Hill. It’s not fantastic, but it doesn’t suck and since you work in the hood, you should check it out. Also, it’s open well past 6, just in case you’re around that late! Ha!

  • I also like the Greek Spot (11th and U) for a passable gyro. I really like the staff, and the price is right.

  • Odentex,
    I’m not sure what you are talking about with regards to driving to VA…I am not driving that fast and I can get from Petworth to Arlington or West Falls Church in about 10-15 min or to Dale City in about 25 min, Fredericksburg in 1.5 hours… are you driving 10 mph?

  • Taylor, up on H St, makes excellent sandwiches. They source bread from Sarcone’s in Philly and, well, just go eat one.

    Loeb’s is still my favorite source of the jewish deli staples — anything involving corn beef, cole slaw, rye, pastrami, etc.

    I also love the Dupont Market on 18th & S. The sandwiches are good, especially the muffaletta, but what makes it great is that you can buy a six pack of beer and a sandwich, take both outside onto their patio, grab a seat, and kill them both. You don’t run into too many $12, 6 beer al fresco lunches in the city.

  • what about krupins?

  • What about the Greek deil at 19th and L, NW? Everything there is homemade and pretty awesome…can’t recall if I saw gyro there or not.

  • One of the reasons that many ethnic restaurants are located outside of the city proper is that is where their customers are. Recent Chinese and Indian immigrants have tended to congrugate in Montgomery County, Koreans and Vietnamese in Fairfax. Why? Many reasons, but some of it is due to racism and the fact that those areas have better school systems, which many asians value, and that’s where the jobs are. Additionally, many of these newer immigrants from the middle class and can afford it.

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