BEST FOOD REINCARNATION (1999)
Open since 1984 as the little brother of the venerable Black Forest, Strudel is perhaps the best local illustration of that Great Law of traditional cuisines, "Nothing Shall Go to Waste." The deli makes inspired use of the Forest's most adaptable staples: Here are the famous breads, both as full loaves and as building blocks for a full line of sandwiches ($3.60, sans cheese); the addictive apple strudel, by the slice ($3.50) or whole ($22). Spaetzle do encores in a $3.75 hot dish (okay, so they call it a casserole) and a soup ($1.85 a bowl). The hausfrau philosophy even extends to the deli's new outdoor space: If the Forest's famous courtyard next-door transports you to a beer-and-wine garden, Strudel's pansy planters and patio furniture invite you to a backyard lunch. Tea and coffee lovers take note: Between the pastries and the cozy space, this might be one of the area's least-appreciated spots for afternoon indulgence.