Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Heckman's Delicatessen Breakfast Review

Poppy's Breakfast Special

There's a new kid(s) in town... relatively speaking. The owners of Heckman's Delicatessen aren't your typical restauranteurs: They're young, but bursting with enthusiasm and a genuine desire to please their customers. They also make a mean breakfast... one of the best in Bethesda; and if they can iron out a few kinks, may be the one Jewish deli that actually makes it in this town.

Others have tried: Uptown Deli lasted more than a year and a half, before closing "for renovations" in August 2012. Nearby Bubby's didn't even make it six months, shutting its doors for good back in 2011. Heckman's needs to avoid the same pitfalls that doomed its would-be competitors... namely realistic prices. Nobody wants to pay top dollar for a corned beef sandwich; yet alone breakfast. Thankfully owners Ronnie Heckman and Marc Rosemond have the good sense of offering Poppy's Breakfast Special for the customer-friendly cost of just $7.

This consists of two eggs (any way) breakfast meat, homemade hash browns, and your choice of bagel, toast or an English muffin. Toss in $2.25 for a fountain drink, and you have all the makings of a huge success. I came by just before 11, and was happy to hear that breakfast was still available. The staff here couldn't be nicer: They're young, attractive and full of energy. Even the aforementioned Marc (who runs the kitchen side of things) yelled out a greeting to me... while standing atop said kitchen, fixing something. Way to go Marc!

Breakfast took a little more than 10 minutes to produce, but was well worth the wait. For starters, it's beautifully presented (remember, you eat with the eyes too.) I also love the fact that you can get a full bagel, instead of just toast. The hash is indeed homemade, and tastes delicious. Ditto for the eggs, which appear to be cooked on the grill and look absolutely divine (they taste good too.) The sausage patty is downright zesty, and rounds out a really, really good breakfast (yes, the bagels are... as you'd expect, darn good.) In regards to (breakfast) food, Heckman's hits a home run.

As for those kinks mentioned in the first paragraph, they're easily fixable. With such a young cast, it's easy to get carried away... especially if everyone is having fun. Sometimes, it gets a little too relaxed here. For example, I was a few feet away from Ronnie training a new server... during which time, I overheard some profanity and one mention of someone (not present) going to rehab. No big deal, but probably not what every customer wants to hear when they're eating breakfast. I also had to wait over five minutes for my check (I was the only customer in the restaurant at the time) even though I had it dangling from the corner of my table, right next to an empty plate with fork at knife at 4:00. Keep in mind, the owner is literally a few feet away from me... training, no less. Another server came by, and took my card; and when I got my check, I was delighted to find my soda was on the house. Score!

I can live with an extra five minutes if Heckman's continues to serve me delicious food. I literally can't wait to try Marc's Fried Chicken (served with mashed potatoes and cole slaw for $14) not to mention their hot pastrami s'wich. They've only been open for a month (May 4th) yet the sky seems the limit for what could be. I'm genuinely rooting for these guys to succeed. I'll be sure to keep you updated.