It's Friday night and neither my wife nor I particularly feel like cooking. A smile crosses my face as I think of a place we haven't been to in a while, one I know she will like. After a quick back and forth on who will drive, we head out to the area around San Diego State University for a little piece of home cooking, assuming your home was a Jewish deli. I smiled as we entered, it had been too long since I've been back to D.Z. Akin's.
Again I offer no prior or interpretive knowledge of Jewish cuisine. Perhaps the food is better over in New York, or Miami, where I am to understand there are large Jewish communities. Having no point of reference on Jewish cuisine does not matter though, as I have a very good, in my opinion, reference on what is great tasting food, and that can most definitely be found at D.Z. Akin's.
D.Z. Akin's can be found a little less than a mile away from San Diego State, yet every time I go I am surprised there are not more college students inside. Maybe they are trying to save money, but as far as prices go D.Z. Akin's is around the norm for restaurant food, and that doesn't include sheer size of the meals. Sandwiches stacked high with meat, salad's that looked as if they've used an entire head of lettuce, and dinners I've glimpsed on other tables, so vast I know that not even I would be able to finish them, but I digress.
When my wife and I showed up and there was a bit of a line so we wandered around the gift shop, a nice little set up for the tourists with San Diego nicknacks offset by gimmicky Jewish merchandise, in other words a gift shop. This, of course, was so I wouldn't head over to the bakery/deli section. I don't know what it is about the place but it is hard not to order a pastry on the way out. Mounds of cookies, cakes, and other deserts luring people out of spare change and diet plans. Then there is the deli, a particularly dangerous spot with my wife's love of cured meats. After a few minute or so drooling our name was called and I half dragged my wife to our table.
My soup came out first and as usual it was bigger than I had expected. I asked for a cup, but they gave me what would be considered a bowl at most other places. It was delicious, and I am very picky about my New England Clam Chowder. I could tell right off that it was home made, just by the taste of the broth. It was definitely clam broth, but there was a hint of something else that I still can't place, maybe oregano, or perhaps chilli. Whatever it was it added a zing to the whole dish that I had to stop myself from shoveling it down as quickly as possible. The clams were just the right size, not giant pieces that some restaurants try to pass off as hearty, but a few sizes smaller, and they were in every bite. I ended up stealing some of my wife's french bread so I could wipe up the left over broth from the bottom of the bowl.
Then our main meals came out. The Pastrami Dip was as good, if not better, as the first time I'd ordered it. The dip, a small bowl of onion soup, was also made fresh in the restaurant and was delicious. I gorged myself on that and steak fries, my favorite variety of french fry. My wife on the other hand was not overly impressed with her salad. She absolutely loves the blue cheese dressing, again made fresh at D.Z. Akin's but the salad was nothing to write home about. The Kreplach soup on the other had was in her words "yummy." I stole a bite of that and will probably order it next time I go.
Feeling full and happy we both made our way out the front door, but not before ogling the bakery one last time. I managed to not buy something this time, but that was only because I was stuffed. My wife took one sad look at it before heading out the door. So that brings our average to 1 for 3, and I'm not including the other five times we have been there as that was when the bakery had closed before we left. If you do find yourself still hungering dessert after finishing off your meal I highly recommend every cookie they have and everything with chocolate. Just not all at once.
6930 Alvarado Rd.
San Diego, CA 92120