It's not every Connecticut town that has an honest-to-goodness New York-style deli.
Westport has been fortunate in being the long-term home of Gold's Delicatessen, where some members of the staff have worked for decades. Cathy Bellardinelli, for instance, has been a waitress there since Julius Gold opened the deli in 1958.
Though Mr. Gold sold the deli three years ago, to Jim Eckl, it remains as lively and complete as any in Manhattan.
Lunch hour can be a zoo, and Gold's is rarely totally quiet. But the food is worth the noise of diners thoroughly enjoying the pastrami, corned beef, pickled tongue and whitefish -- and some of the best rugelach I've come across in years, made by Erica's of Brooklyn (the apricot-nut is especially tasty).
Among scores of takeout items, there are various cheeses, hard kosher salami, prosciutto, roast beef, brisket, Black Forest ham and other meats, smoked fish (kippered salmon, Nova, belly lox, sable, sturgeon), pickled herring with onions or cream sauce, turkey that is roasted daily and various salads (whitefish, egg, chicken and tuna among them), all sold by the pound. In the freezer case are house-made soups (try the mushroom-barley) and appetizers like Greek spanakopita.
Breads from Fabled Foods in Deep River, including sourdough, rye, cornbread and the sensational 12-grain cranberry nut, are delivered daily, along with challah, pumpernickel, bagels and muffins from other sources.
The deli's huge, no-frills lunch business takes place in the rear of the store, which seats 72 diners.
A large board on the wall lists the many sandwich combinations available on various breads and rolls.
There are more than 30 choices, among them Virginia ham, Genoa salami, tongue, liverwurst, chopped liver, lobster salad, shrimp salad and whitefish salad, as well as the kosher hot dog and the Special (a quarter-pound knockwurst dog).
If you are really hungry, order the Super (corned beef, pastrami, Swiss cheese and coleslaw).
Gold's Delicatessen, 421 Post Road East (Compo Shopping Center), Westport; (203) 227-0101. PATRICIA BROOKS More Articles in Dining >