Modern Matzo

Schmaltzy’s Is Deli, with Chutzpah

Jonny Silverberg delivers, and departs from, traditional Jewish fare at his new spot in Fremont.

By Allecia Vermillion April 8, 2020 Published in the April/May 2020 issue of Seattle Met

When you name your deli Schmaltzy’s, the matzo ball soup better deliver. The version at Jonny Silverberg’s new brick-and-mortar shop in Fremont shimmers with drops of chicken fat; more schmaltz resides in the herb-flecked matzo balls. Silverberg adds fish sauce to his grandma Sylvia’s recipe, a smart liberty on par with his original invention: subbing latkes for bread in hot pressed sandwiches.
Silverberg’s Napkin Friends food truck built a fan base off those latke sandwiches. They appear here next to more traditional creations, like pastrami or corned beef (or both!) heaped within a rye roll, and excellent bagels from local baker Beep Boop, schmeared and draped with delicate lox. The latkes, to nobody’s surprise, are sublime.
Silverberg thought plenty about balancing canonical Jewish deli with his own culinary self-expression. “I grew up in reformed Judaism,” he says. “I mean, the menu has a BLT.” But the real twist at Schmaltzy’s was the arrival of baker Sabrina Schneider. She packs the glass pastry case with rugelach and honey cake, brownies, macaroons, and two kinds of black and white cookie—traditional for the purists, chocolate for adventurers. Both equally great.
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