Thursday, July 11, 2013
There is a truly mediocre delicatessen in Los Angeles called Jerry’s. Well, that’s not entirely fair. Mediocre and over-priced. It’s a chain and recently a number of them have closed (including the one in Westwood where several years ago a cook who had hepatitis made sandwiches).
I try to avoid Jerry’s. Judging by all the closings, so does everybody else.
On Wednesday nights after our improv workshop a group of us usually goes out to eat. We’re all tired of the Italian place we usually go to (how many times can you order chicken parmesan subs?) so for variety we decided to give Jerry’s another try. Last time we were there was about a year ago. My order should be up any time now. We were seated right near the bar where a fight broke out.
So seven of us roll in at 10:45. Again, all of this is true. A waitress is screaming at the hostess for putting another couple in her section. The entire place is practically empty.
In the bakery section there are like six lonely cookies. This is how I picture a Jewish deli in Kansas.
I order kreplach soup. They don’t serve it. They usually put out pickles. No more pickles. What kind of deli is this? A menu recommendation was the Monte Christo – a fried ham and cheese sandwich. Seriously? Applebee’s is more Jewish.
The waiter leaves to put in our order and disappears. I'm guessing he's holding his arm pits up to a fan to reduce the sweat moons.
Barbara and I have ordered soup. Our orders are up in five minutes. The rest don't get theirs for a half hour. Sure glad we didn’t do separate checks. When we ask the waiter supervisor where the rest of the orders are he just shrugs and says, unconcerned, “I dunno.”
One member of our party excuses himself to use the bathroom. He returns moments later. Someone was throwing up in there. At least it meant his order arrived.
Barbara finishes her soup and leaves. Those six sad cookies will have to wait for another taker. Five minutes later our galley slave-sweating waiter comes over with a glass pitcher to refill glasses. It slips out of his hand and the entire glass pitcher filled with water shatters on the table right where Barbara had been. I’m drenched and there are now shards of glass in everyone’s entrée. (Or, as Jerry's likes to call it -- garnish.)
The waiter apologizes and says he hasn’t felt good all night. He thinks it’s something he ate. Oh, that's comforting. Your waiter has such a high fever he could could fry your Monte Christo on his head.
The supervising waiter returns, doesn’t offer to comp anything (I mean, no one was killed), but will remake the orders – like we’re going to wait around another half hour for potato skins.
Needless to say, we’re never going back. I imagine the comment section will soon be filled with similar Jerry’s horror stories. Meanwhile, I’m checking the LA Times website every hour to see if our waiter has come down with hepatitis.
The trouble is everything in the San Fernando Valley closes at 10, even the 24 hour restaurants. My kingdom for a Steak & Shake.
By Ken Levine at 6:00 AM