Sausage? Fah-goetta-boutit.

Cincinnati Bites
Gordo Burger from Gordo's Pub and Grill

Posted Monday, October 4, 2010
Note: the following review is for a restaurant that has since closed.

Rascals' NY Deli is a new Blue Ash restaurant occupying the space vacated by TCBY, sandwiched between Jersey Mike's and Samurai Sam's Cafe Mediterranean.

From what we can tell, they've been inundated with business: we'd tried to visit once before but it was too crowded; and even on our return stop a week later, we waited about 15 minutes for a seat. All told, we were there a total of 40 minutes before getting to eat anything. Quite an impressive wait for a deli.

Rascals' Deli counter

Rascals' is owned by a family from Manhattan offering a menu that's as intimidating as it is overwhelming. Three flaps, front and back, are all filled with just about every variety of Jewish deli-related item ever made, plus a few I've never heard of. Everything from the obligatory Matzoh ball soup to bagels with lox and cream cheese are here, as well as potato knishes, latkes, blintzes, Kasha Varnishkes, pierogies, (take a breath) a full breakfast menu, hot sandwiches and deli sandwiches, double-deckers, and complete dinners featuring schnitzel, stuffed peppers, cabbage rolls and more. There was nothing on the menu that I didn't want to try.

When we were finally led to our seat, we were served our glasses of water and waited another 10 minutes to place our order. We decided to split a double-decker sandwich and order a couple of their hot appetizer offerings. Prices are a bit on the expensive side, especially if you consider their closest, more established competitor, Decent Deli, located a couple miles north.

We chose the Brisket and Turkey double-decker sandwich, a slow-cooked brisket with "off-the-bone" turkey breast, lettuce, onion and tomato. The sandwich comes with two potato latkes and a side of pickles. We also ordered the Sweet & Sour Turkey Meatballs and the boiled Pierogies.

Brisket & Turkey double-decker
Sweet and sour turkey meatballs and Pierogies

Of all the items offered, I was most intrigued by the sweet and sour turkey meatballs. We weren't sure what to expect, but on some subconscious level, our assumption was that they'd be something akin to an Asian sweet-n-sour, with a thin, viscous sauce. Not at all. In fact, in most ways that mattered, this appetizer was the highlight of our lunch.

The turkey meatball sauce was so pleasantly surprising that we wished we'd ordered six of them instead of three. The meat was very moist and the sauce was like a chunky marinara with raisins and other spices to give it a mildly sweet and slightly sour flavor. It was so good that I would love to order it again in the form of a sub sandwich. Rascals' doesn't yet offer such a thing on their ridiculously huge menu, but they should.

The double-decker sandwich was indeed large, yet not as stuffed with meat as I'd expected or seen in other, less expensive double-deckers. It was still impressive. Unfortunately, the bread was just a little too hard and dry: we had to slather it with liberal doses of mustard to get it down. The accompanying potato latkes were excellent: crispy, not too greasy and well seasoned, with a vibrantly pink, cinnamony dipping sauce. The pickles were refreshing, neither overly spicy nor vinegary.

The pierogies were entirely underwhelming: four puny, ravioli-sized dumplings of flavorless potato. The side was supposed to come with sour cream, cottage cheese and tomato wedges, but only the wedges arrived. We didn't realize they'd forgotten the rest until after we'd left and re-examined the menu.

Rascal's NY Deli has a lot of potential and there are certainly plenty of things we still want to try. Having been open less than a month, they're obviously still tweaking all aspects of their restaurant to assess what works and what doesn't.

A recommendation to the owner: scale down the menu. We've all seen enough "Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares" episodes to know that being all things to all people does nothing but hurt business. Perhaps in time, Rascal's will widdle it down to something more manageable. As a patron, it's hard to mull through it all and as cooks, it must be difficult keeping up with all the variety.

Rascals' NY Deli on Urbanspoon
Rascals\' NY Deli

Price: Cheap (under $11 per person)
Service: Fair
Rating: 3.0 out of 43.0 stars

Other Recent Reviews

  1. Sandwichy Impressions: Fond: Lunch & Deli
    -posted Tuesday, April 3, 2018
  2. Our first look at Cooking with Caitlin's restaurant
    -posted Monday, March 26, 2018
  3. Chicken Impressions: Revolution Rotisserie & Bar
    -posted Saturday, March 17, 2018
  4. Seitan Worship: Losantivill3
    -posted Wednesday, March 7, 2018
  5. Chinese Impressions: Kung Food Chu's AmerAsia
    -posted Monday, February 26, 2018
Ratings Legend
four stars = Outstanding
three stars = Good
two stars = Fair
one star = Poor
  • From Leslie about El Trio Mexican Grill:
    El Trio closed last week :(
    posted: Tue., Apr 3rd, 2018 @ 3:19 PM
  • From TJ Jackson about Bourbon Smokehouse:
    Best pulled pork in town: webbs bbq in Newport, open ONLY on Fridays. and cheap.
    posted: Thu., Feb 1st, 2018 @ 12:39 PM
  • From Natasia Malaihollo about Dope! Noodle and Dumpling Shop:
    Thank you for the review and background on the restaurant history! I was a huge fan of huit and super disappointed when they “closed.” Was wondering what’s going on with this musical chairs of a restaurant strategy so thank you for clarifying!
    posted: Fri., Jan 26th, 2018 @ 6:50 PM
  • From Jeff about Dope! Noodle and Dumpling Shop:
    Thanks for the thorough review! It honestly does seem like a new restaurant is opening every other day..but the thing about the wait staff..they might be getting paid a higher hourly rate because they are only open for lunch. I’ve worked at a restaurant where I was paid $10 an hour but the owner kept the tips, it sucked but sort of made sense for the lunch shift.
    posted: Fri., Dec 22nd, 2017 @ 9:00 PM
  • From heather about Wild Eggs:
    we liked it too - things are fresh and made from scratch and high quality - good experiences all around
    posted: Wed., Dec 20th, 2017 @ 10:55 AM
  • From Cincinnati Bites about Dope! Noodle and Dumpling Shop:
    Thanks for writing, Heather. I definitely like their other restaurants. Lalo's pazole and fish taco are better than Mazunte's, I think. But I agree they are definitely hit-or-miss. I'm still rooting for them, though. There's talent there. :)

    posted: Mon., Nov 20th, 2017 @ 1:30 PM
  • From Heather JOhnson about Dope! Noodle and Dumpling Shop:
    I tried Huit & Lalo and they were both expensive and so mixed - one thing great - another thing barely mediocre. More of the same it sounds like - hits and misses for a really expensive lunch. Nope on Dope.
    posted: Sun., Nov 19th, 2017 @ 12:41 PM
  • From TJ Jackson about Udupi Cafe:
    I do not know if it is truly a match for the product you remember, but Frostop Root Beer is sold at Jungle Jims and is a personal favorite of mine.
    posted: Fri., Sep 29th, 2017 @ 6:00 PM
  • From Jones about Haru Korean Restaurant:
    As a long time reader, I found this review to be one of your loveliest and most enthusiastically vivid. I can't wait to try this place!
    posted: Tue., Aug 29th, 2017 @ 9:48 AM
  • From Jordan about Grand Central Delicatessen:
    posted: Sat., Jun 3rd, 2017 @ 12:16 PM
Where The Locals Eat featured blog
Cincinnati Web Design | Cincinnati Mobile Web Design