Three years ago, Nate’s Deli closed its doors on Rideau Steet. Owner Dave Smith was 77 and had been serving Smoked Meat for 50 years at Nate’s Deli.
When it closed and before wreckers sent the place into memoryland, Nate’s was going through 1,500 pounds of smoked meat a week and making 24 pounds a day of its own chopped liver.
Of course, smoked meat lovers could turn to Nate’s Express, on Antares Drive by Hunt Club, who seemed to imply that sharing a name made them the successor. Unless there is another connection I’m not aware of – besides serving smoked meat, that is.
But much to Ottawa’s smoked meat afficionado’s pleasure, the original Nate’s, Dave Smith, got bored with retirement. So last year, Smith partnered with Scott Singer to transform Our Family Kitchen on Merivale Road (which was a Cora’s before that) into Nate’s Deli Family Kitchen.
So Dave Smith was back slicing meat behind a counter, and following a year of success on Merivale Road, Nate’s is back downtown – now open on Queen Street at Lyon.
And this is where I went for lunch today with an old Waffle fan, Mark, who suggested the location.
The menu is what you expect from a delicatessen: smoked meat, pastrami, chopped liver, salads, burgers, soups and stews. I didn’t look at the menu for long before ordering Nate’s King Size Smoked Meat Platter ($13.59).
In no time, the enormous sandwich on rye appeared, with a side of dark golden french fries, a cup of coleslaw and a pickle.
So yes, Nate’s is back.
Look at that stack of freshly sliced, thick pinky smoked meat. And it was as good as it looked! The meat was moist, juicy but not too fatty, great flavour. My lunchmate Mark disagreed: he thought the smoked meat was cut too thick and a little dry. But he had the regular sandwich, so maybe that’s why!
The rye bread had trouble to contain the meat, but still managed to do so throughout the meal. The french fries were good, a tad bit overcooked to my taste. The dill pickle is what it is, but I really like the coleslaw, a simple cabbage one, which I found had a right balance of sweetness and acidity.
This is a great addition to that area of the town, especially since Dunn’s on Queen shut its doors. It will easily build a regular lunch crowd, especially if the service remains as fast and efficient as it was for our visit.