Esther Allweiss Ingber Contributing Writer
Chicken soup, or “Jewish penicillin,” is the food many people crave when fighting a cold. I’ve traveled 20 minutes to Steve’s Deli in Bloomfield Hills to obtain a large glass jar of their house-made chicken soup. Brimming with noodles, white chicken and carrots, this heavenly concoction could make anyone feel better.
Joanee Hurwitz operates Steve’s Deli, a Jewish-style but not kosher restaurant. Opening day in 1993 was on the Oct. 10 birthday of her husband, Steve Hurwitz, founder of Mai-Kai Cleaners. He also owned Plaza Deli in Southfield, but his role here is “PR man behind the scenes.”
Located inside Bloomfield Plaza, on Telegraph at Maple roads, Steve’s Deli has been included in the national Zagat dining guide and named “Best Deli” in local polls. Besides five soups, the claims to fame include traditional sides like knishes, noodle kugel and kishka; appetizers, such as kippered salmon with cream cheese, whitefish salad and Nova Scotia lox; and overstuffed sandwiches, including corned beef, pastrami and brisket. Roasted turkey off the bone is especially recommended.
Most menu items are available for carryout. Display cases inside the Telegraph front entrance contain Chef Val’s daily entrees, appetizing choices like pineapple chicken (with its sweet, baked topping), stuffed cabbage, vegetarian lasagna and turkey meatloaf. About 300 entrees to-go are sold most days, according to Steve Hurwitz. Continuing around the corner are refrigerated deli delights, such as salamis and egg-white egg salad. Racks, shelves and counters near the register display the deli’s private-label items, including bagels, bread, drizzled popcorn, candy and other nibbles. Catering is the third prong of the successful Steve’s Deli business.
Chef Val runs a scratch kitchen and hasn’t missed a day in his almost 25 years with Steve’s. He interprets Joanee Hurwitz’s menu ideas and offers his own. The chef’s daughter, Shifra, shares co-manager duties with Ron Forman, former owner of the Nosherie, later Bread Basket Deli, in Oak Park.
At the restaurant’s back entrance, a whiteboard lists featured entrees and the “manager’s lunch special” — perhaps turkey pasta or honey garlic wings — served with a cup of soup.
In warmer weather, the dog-owning Hurwitzes welcome guests to dine with their canine companions at “patio” tables outside the door.
The long, narrow dining room within sports a fresh red-and-white color scheme.
Recognizing that deli food has lost popularity among some younger people and the weight-conscious, “we changed ourselves to account for changing tastes,” said Steve Hurwitz.
Dining with my friend Judy, she was happy to get their fat-free tuna salad plate and diet sweet and sour cabbage soup. Food is minimally salted, so I added a bit more to my Mish Mash soup — chicken broth with noodles, matzah ball, kreplach and carrots. Among 15 salads available, I did well to choose Brussels sprouts salad. It has mixed greens, crunchy sprouts, green beans, crumbled blue cheese, pumpkin seeds, tomato and dried cherries with a honey-mustard dressing.
6646 Telegraph Road
Bloomfield Hills, MI 48301
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