Impossibly juicy pastrami, hefty Reubens and hearty matzo ball soup are all on the menu at Lenny Briskets. The new Darlinghust diner is dedicated to the cooking, food and culture of New York’s legendary delis, founded by Jewish European immigrants in the 1920s and 1930s.
“Every block used to have one,” Robbie Gal (ex-Bootleg Bar), who co-owns the eatery with Deborah Wiseman and Leonard Grunbaum (aka Lenny Briskets) tells Broadsheet. “But now there are only three real ones left. They’re dying out, so we wanted to preserve the legacy.”
Key to Lenny Briskets’ tastiness are two factors. First, every sandwich is absolutely stacked with ingredients, including 300 grams of meat (though light eaters can opt for a half-serve). Second, Grunbaum prepares and smokes the meat himself according to decades-old methods.
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“We’re trying to do it as authentically as we can,” says Gal. “If you can’t get to New York to stand in line at Katz’s Deli, then come to us because we’re as close as you’re gonna get.”
The trio started Lenny Briskets in 2019 as a food truck that roamed all over Sydney before settling in Darlinghurst in January 2023. Wherever Lenny Briskets goes, the hot hit on the menu is the Reuben, a mountain of corned brisket, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Russian dressing between two slices of rye. Not far behind is the signature sandwich, which features only pastrami and mustard, leaving “nowhere to hide”, says Gal. Then there’s the winter-friendly French Dipped, piled high with finely sliced beef dipped in jus and lathered in horseradish.
Beyond sandwiches there are traditional dishes such as matzo ball soup – a giant dumpling of unleavened flatbread, cooked for hours in hearty chicken broth. More classics, including pickled tongue and meatloaf, are in the pipeline, as are desserts such as cheesecake and pumpkin pie. Meanwhile, the drinks list offers craft beers by Sydney brewers Batch and Wayward, plus boutique wines from Australia, France and Italy.
In keeping with their aim to preserve a slice of old-school New York, the trio worked with construction firm Sheeth to give the diner a classic feel. Black and white tiles cover the floor, while seating comprises red-topped bar stools and yellow plastic chairs. Red neon signage provides the backdrop and all-American music (from ’70s punk rock and ’90s hip-hop to contemporary pop) the soundtrack.
For those who can’t make it to Darlinghurst, Lenny Briskets delivers via the usual suspects and sells its deli products online. This means customers can order sliced meats, giant jars of pickles, egg salad, heat-and-eat mac’n’cheese, and a cornucopia of other delights 24/7.