DGS Delicatessen is not a Jewish deli in the way that one would imagine. Meg Ryan won’t be faking an orgasm here in “When Harry Met Sally 2.” The place is too spiffed up and polished; it’s a Jewish deli gone upscale, with the accompanying pluses and minuses.
After shopping Sunday at the Dupont Circle farmers’ market, I met my friend Amanda and we rolled up to DGS at around 10:55 am.
What? Not open?? Haven’t they been cranking out bagels for hungry breakfast customers all morning? I peered through the window sadly. A man who looked like the manager unlocked the door.
“You look confused,” he said.
Turns out DGS opens at 11 am, and we were five minutes early. The manager kindly let us in and told us, “We’ll give you the best table.”
We were led up to the second floor and a nice table at a window overlooking 18th St. This is a look at the dining room. (Remember, we were the first ones there. It filled up quickly.)
The menu contained some of my favorite Jewish deli items, and it didn’t take long to make my decision.
I tore into this matzo ball soup and its light, fluffy matzo ball.
The soup, flavored with diced carrots and fresh dill, was excellent; a touch on the salty side, but that’s somewhat expected since a matzo ball doesn’t impart much flavor on its own.
Potato latkes with apple preserves.
Crispy with a hint of sweetness. I usually like mine more onion-y, but I was happy with these.
The true test: the bagel. The sesame bagel came toasted and I ordered it with smoked salmon cream cheese.
It was a thin bagel that didn’t quite live up to NY standards. NY bagels tend to be fatter and chewier. Is it because they’re boiled? Is it the NY tap water?
I had a bite of Amanda’s Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon, and it was quite good. We agreed that we liked DGS and would come back.
So the pluses are refined Jewish deli favorites (in DC!), a pleasing decor and excellent restaurant service. (The servers were all very friendly and attentive.) I liked the look of the dinner menu too and would be interested in trying that.
The minus? DGS is pricier than a Jewish deli. In the same way I object to Ping Pong Dim Sum inflating the cost of dim sum dishes which are normally far less expensive, I have a slight beef with paying $7 for matzo ball soup and $7 for two potato latkes. But this is Dupont Circle, with the accompanying city prices, and I get that this is not the hole-in-the-wall spot your Bubbie’s been patronizing for forty years.
Some friends and I are planning on visiting Parkway Deli in Silver Spring soon, so it’ll be interesting to compare experiences. It had been a while — a long while — since I’d eaten matzo ball soup. Tasting it reawakened my passion for Jewish deli food. I want more.
1317 Connecticut Ave.