I kept thinking about Spaceballs (the Mel Brooks parody of Star Wars) when I heard this deli had opened. Maybe it’s the Schmidt* (coming from blacksmith) compared to ‘the Schwartz’ (a Mel Brooks combination of the words ‘schwarz’ meaning black in German and ‘schwantz’ being the Yiddish slang for penis). Not exactly linear thought, I’ll give you that, but that’s the way my saturated-with-TV as-a-teenager-brain works (when let’s face it, TV was SO much better!).There are definitely some oddball factors at play here. Like Schmidt’s is in a unnaturally quiet pocket of Mitte (not peaceful like where Alpenstueck is, more dead, like the people have left the city type feeling). It’s next to The Dude hotel (I’m not going to succumb to the obvious jokes on this one but by all means, you go ahead). In the window are two white chairs, a white table on top of which sit two highly polished metal domes, the kind which waiters used to remove from your plate with a flourish to reveal still warm, albeit small portions of Nouvelle Cuisine some 40 years ago. (Points out of 10 for deli relevance? 0)
There is a neon in the window (which is sadly turned off, 4/10), when I step into the blasting hot room of the deli I am met by a woman in a stiff Iron Chef-Cat Cora type jacket, in fact come to think of it, this lady could have been her older sister, with blond hair shorn in a neat and orderly bob; worn with a hairband, which she pushed forward to make a little bump of hair. Cat Cora’s older sister and a young chef manned the space behind the counter, which housed a compact kitchen and the till. On the other side was a red dining room that was off bounds, serving as the breakfast room for The Dude hotel. You could perch on one of the high three tables under a large black and white painting of a man eating and a woman farting – no smiling (but doesn’t that smile look like she’s just let one rip?).I ordered to go because it was hot as hell in there and I would have come away smelling like grilled meat (and once I put my order for a BLT in: sizzling bacon). The BLT came poolside style: 3 slices of white bread, buttered, with crispy salty bacon, thick slices of tomato (fridge temperature) and a good helping of lettuce coleslaw. It was tasty although the combined effect of the chilled tomatoes and lettuce slaw was to bring the sandwich temperature way down, really fast. (Best best best best bacon in the world comes from Jimmy’s Farm)
It was good enough that I would go back and try the pastrami, or maybe even a burger. But I might wait until a warm summer day and get my food to go and eat in Köllnischer Park, where apparently there is a bear?
Schmidt’s Deli Deluxe
Köpenicker Str. 93
T. 30 4119 88170
Mon – Fri 12:00 – 22:00
Undergrounds: U Märkisches Museum (U2) or U Heinrich-Heine-Strasse (U8)
*The deli is named after Alexander SchmidtVogel who owns The Dude hotel and the adjacent Brooklyn Beef Club where the cheapest cut of beef you can get is €36 and weighs in at 350g but most cost about €50. Saving that baby for when I’m feeling flush and have a serious iron deficiency that needs to be addressed).