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Cheeseburger Spring Rolls

September 24, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

Frank Bruni’s review in today’s New York Times of the restaurant Delicatessen on Prince Street has whet my appetite. He opens the review with admiration for one of their inventions:

This invention is called the cheeseburger spring roll, and it’s just that: a spring roll with the makings (ground beef, melted American) of a cheeseburger inside, or rather four such spring rolls, because that’s how many come per order, nestled in their look-how-plain-and-functional-I-am metal pail and ready to be dipped in the ketchup nearby.

And the point of them, the brilliance of them, isn’t how they taste, which is sort of vacuously oily, crunchy and beefy, truth be told. It’s the name, the idea, the tidy wedding of classic diner staple and trendy Asian canapé.

They promise comfort with a bit of spin and a dash of international sophistication, comfort with a cheeky tweak. And in doing so they crystallize the appeal of this seriously mediocre but ingeniously conceived restaurant, a delicatessen that’s not really a delicatessen, in the same way that its forebear, Cafeteria, isn’t really a cafeteria.

And then there are the “Reuben fritter (Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and corned beef inside a densely battered shell)” and the “’blintz trio,’ one … filled with banana and Nutella, another with sweet corn and ricotta.”

I could learn to like serious mediocrity.

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