Deli Man - Blu-ray Review - Home Theater Forum and Systems -

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Deli Man - Blu-ray Review

Title: Deli Man


HTS Overall Score:74

Who doesn’t love a traditional New York Delicatessen? I mean, the rye bread, the stacks and stacks of corned beef and pastrami, the giant pickles the size of your wrist and all the tasty treats that Jewish culture has brought to America. I grew up eating from a Jewish Deli and to this day still make my own corned beef and pastrami sandwiches, made the old fashioned way by hand. Cut really thing, stacked really high and served on Jewish Rye bread with a spicy mustard and a pickle, that piece of culinary ecstasy alone is worth your time when you go to a traditional Deli. Years and years ago there were literally THOUSANDS of Jewish Delicatessen’s, but unfortunately there are about 150 (ish) deli’s left in the entire nation, even though it’s most popular creation, the Pastrami sandwich, still lives on in many a more modern restaurant.

The documentary is about many people’s deli’s as well as a myriad of Jewish celebrities who reminisce about the good old days, but the main guiding hand in the picture is the following after David “Ziggy” Gruber, and his famous roots. Ziggy Gruber is a self-proclaimed 3rd generation “Deli Man”, growing up with Yiddish grandparents and becoming interested in culinary arts at a young age. His father didn’t want him growing up in the same old cheap Deli that he did, and sent Ziggy off to culinary school, where he excelled beyond everyone’s wildest expectations. On the cusp of becoming a fancy chef like his father had dreamed about, Ziggy turned it all down and joined forces with his relatives and started a Jewish Delicatessen of his own, trying to perpetuate the tradition in an age where only the old remembered the deli.

The deli is really not a Jewish “staple” from the homeland as they would say. Much like Chinese food in America, it is a blending of ancient tastes and tradition with their own imagination in a new land. Jews from Lithuania, Poland, Germany etc, all flocked to America and instead of taking completely pure Hebrew cooking, they took cheap cuts of meat (like brisket) and created something completely new and unique for another generation. Ziggy’s grandfather was actually one of the FIRST people to open a Deli in New York City and his lineage is one of prestige in that art. Today he continues his work in Houston Texas, bringing a slice of the big apple’s cooking to the southwest.

Many different celebrities adorn the interview sections of the disc and rave and reminisce about the fantastic days of the Jewish Deli when it reigned supreme in New York. Famous Jews like Larry King, Jerry Stiller, Seinfeld, Woody Allen etc all make an appearance at their favorite Deli’s and to drop a few lines of thanks, or impart some wisdom about the good old days when they would work their tails off for those paper thin slices of pastrami stacked high on that fragrant rye bread.

It seems that the Deli has kind of fallen out of style in modern times as less than 200 traditional Delicatessen’s operate within the United States. The ones that do survive have to make some tweaks and changes to their menu’s as tastes have changed to a certain extent, and the price of meat has gotten so ridiculous in the last decade that a restaurant that literally THRIVES on 90% meat has to take a cut in profit margins if they want to stay in business. However, the owners who still thrive and push on do it out of pure love, as this piece of their history and their culture is a part of their very soul. Good food is fantastic and incredible food is worth paying that little bit extra, and if you can find a traditional Deli near you, then you are one lucky person.

The documentary is fairly simple and straightforward, taking a look at the origins of the famed Deli much like “Searching for General Tso” did several years ago. The imagery is superb and makes you want to take a bit of a sandwich even without being to smell a single bite. Ziggy’s fantastic 6 inch high pastrami sandwich on rye is so mouthwatering that I really just wanted to make one myself for dinner tonight, even though I’d already eaten (although I am corning some beef all this week, so hopefully in 9 days I can have some fresh pastrami to try it out again).


Rated PG-13 for brief strong language

“Deli Man” arrives on Blu-ray disc with a very pleasing 1.78:1 AVC encode. Colors are warm and inviting and the overall looks is very natural. Contrast levels are always well balanced with the darks and the fine detail on the disc is very good, although every once in a while some archival footage will sneak in with an inferior bit of source material. There isn’t anything to really complain about on the disc, as it’s free of digital artifacting and looks very pleasing to the eye all the way across the board. It isn’t a wild special effects driven film, but the simple docu-drama style of filming is well framed and has enough pop to leave me feeling well satisfied. A very good encode that allows you to almost smell the food you’re looking at.

The 5.1 DTS-HD MA lossless track on the disc is again, just exactly what you would expect for a film of this type. It may be a 5.1 encode, but the majority of the work in a documentary is all in the front soundstage. The dialog, the music, the effects, they’re all in those 3 main speakers and in this case, done rather well. Dialog is crisp, sounds are well detailed and the imaging is excellent. Surrounds are pretty much dead except for the musical bits that bring the back end to life, and the mild LFE is just there to add to said music. It’s a good track, but nothing special due to the very nature of being a simple documentary. Nothing to complain about, it is what it is. Well Done


• Ziggy and Dennis Talk Deli
• Ziggy Visits Acme Fish
• Sam Brummer’s Story
• Interviews
• Theatrical Trailers


“Deli Man” is different than the last several documentaries I have done recently due to the fact that it’s not about a polarizing or disturbing subject. It’s simple, it’s fun, and it’s about something that everyone on the planet loves, food. Erik Anjou and crew bring a delightful and hopefully not forgotten about style of cooking into the limelight and shines some love and care on the subject, making you desperately want to go out and start eating at a traditional Jewish Deli, even if you don’t even LIKE meat! The audio and video are more than satisfactory and the nice array of extras has a couple of cool tidbits that enhance the flavor of the disc a bit. Definitely worth checking out.

Additional Information:

Starring: Ziggy Gruber, Larry King, Jerry Stiller
Directed by: Erik Anjou
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, English Dolby Digital 5.1
Studio: Cohen Media
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 92 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: July 7th 2015

Buy Deli Man On Blu-ray at Amazon

Recommendation: Check it Out

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