BEST DELICATESSEN - 2006
Cecils Delicatessen and Restaurant
651 Cleveland Ave. S.
St. Paul, MN 55116
Not much has changed at Cecils these past 50 years. Thank God. Serving St. Paul's Highland Park neighborhood, Cecils has established itself as the classic purveyor of good things from the Kosher deli tradition—real corned beef and pastrami (not too salty and nicely marbled), soft and hard salami (shipped in from Chicago), knishes, latkes, kugel. All breads are made fresh on the premises—dark and tangy black Russian rye, chewy pumpernickel, rich and eggy challah, bagels, soft onion buns, and seeded rolls. You know the chicken matzo ball soup is made from scratch by the size and cut of those carrots; the lovely, light matzo balls; the shreds of chicken. The handmade blintzes and knishes are lovingly lopsided. Do try the borscht, of earthy beets, cabbage, and beef, nicely tart with a splash of vinegar. Oh, and don't get us started on chopped liver—it's silken, there's enough onion, it is very, very good. You can dine in at Cecils and sit down to a two-fisted sandwich, giant Reuben, or omelettes, pancakes, potatoes, and eggs. But there's also a grocery store and deli component of Cecils, so you can gather all those old-fashioned favorites—the potato salad and coleslaw, the sliced meats and cheeses, the homemade breads, the strudel—and then head home to make your own nosh.