Canter’s Las Vegas Deli
Complimentary Picked Cucumbers and Green Tomatoes
Cheese Blintzes – Fresh Berries
Potato Latkes – Sour Cream, Apple Sauce
Pastrami Knish Sandwich – Cavallas Pastry stuffed with Mashed Potato Onions, Hot Hand-Carved Pastrami
The Franklyn – Steamed Brisket, Grilled and Raw Onions, American Cheese, Over Easy Egg on an Onion Bagel with Sweet Potato Fries
Black & White Cookie
Open on Fairfax since 1931 Canter’s Deli was serving Los Angeles before Las Vegas’ population cracked 10,000 and although a previous attempt to expand into Sin City at Treasure Island in 2003 apparently did not go so well a recent re-launch at Tivoli Village in Summerlin sees the new space from Celebrity Brands Restaurants making a lot of good choices, though there is a lot of room for improvement as well.
Long considered to be Los Angeles ‘other’ place for Pastrami, Langer’s house-made version considered by most to be superior to that of Canter’s which is still brought in from New York, it was with one other that lunch was enjoyed on Friday inside the restaurant officially opened on September 28th and having already adjusted prices due to myriad complaints early-on about being “More expensive than Los Angeles” and even “Strip Priced” the new menu reads very much like a truncated version of the original with prices not so different from The Bagel Café just a few miles away.
Still doing some marketing by way of its Los Angeles legend, stories of the fourth-generation owned and operated Original told by both signage and a wait-staff that is universally pleasant and welcoming, though still quite green, it was immediately on entering that every guest was greeted with a big smile and “Welcome to Canters,” the seating spacious and laid out over the left side of the Restaurant while the right features a Take Out counter plus cases of Desserts, Bagels and Salads.
Mostly filled just prior to noon and completely packed by 12:30, the average diner sporting white or grey hair though several 30-something suits were seen in the midst, it was by a middle-age woman with great manners that the table beneath a continuously blowing vent was served, the offer of Doctor Brown’s Soda declined in favor of Iced Tea and Water and several Jewish Deli classics selected in addition to “The Franklyn” which appears to have been created specifically for the Las Vegas market.
Serve housemade Pickles prior to the meal, both Cucumbers and Green Tomatoes showing well and working nicely to refresh the palate between plates, it was after the first of two mis-deliveries from a younger waitress that all four plates arrived with a big smile and complete description, the Latkes suggested on the menu to be served as a duo in fact offered as three crisp and hot Pancakes with almost no residual Oil while the split-Knish stacked with Pastrami was a best-of-both-worlds way to experience each item without filling up, the beef appropriately fatty with a modest amount of seasoning while the mixture of Mashed Potatoes and Onions was creamy and comforting without being too dense.
Chatting while eating, the continuous blow of cold air admittedly uncomfortable after a while and not something that was able to be addressed during the course a nearly ninety minute visit, it was after enjoying the lightly sweetened rolled Pancake that the fork and knife Sandwich was approached, the toasted Bagel providing a good chew around steamed Brisket, Cheese, a soft Egg and two styles of Onions served next to Sweet Potato Fries that can be subbed for housemade Coleslaw, Steakhouse Spuds or Potato Salad.
Making both the Bagels and several styles of Cakes and Cheesecakes in-house, the Muffins and several styles of Cookies outsourced to locally-owned Freed’s, it was focusing on Canter’s own creations that four desserts were ordered, the $8 slices of Cheesecake a bit spendy but absolutely on-point in terms of taste as well as their velvety texture while the $5 Carrot Cake and $2 Black & White Cookie were both generously portioned, the latter not quite as fluffy as Weiss Deli but using far better frosting while the Carrot Cake was moist and dense with a lot of chopped Nuts and plenty of tangy Cream Cheese Icing.
THREE AND A HALF STARS: Thus far making a big error at launch in terms of pricing and still not up-to-speed with service it will be interesting to see how Canter’s at Tivoli Village evolves with time, the property already notorious for shuttering several restaurants not really a place where starting off on a bad foot seems well advised but the food, at least what was tasted, so far good enough that it can hopefully keep the place afloat as they work the kinks out.
RECOMMENDED: Latke’s, Pastrami Knish Sandwich, Cheesecake, Chocolate Cheesecake, Carrot Cake.
AVOID: Those expected smoked Brisket will be disappointed by the fact that Canter’s is steamed, so read the menu. Also avoid sitting in the back half of the room near the restrooms as it is approximately 10-15°F cooler than the rest of the space.
TIP: Breakfast not currently offered but reportedly “coming soon,” as is a second location set to open at The Linq before year’s end.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.