This past Sunday, I went to Chutzpah Deli for lunch with my two roommates, Lyndsey and Amanda. A friend recommended Chutzpah to me about a year ago, but due to its somewhat inconvenient location, I had yet to make my first visit, until last weekend. I don’t eat subs or sandwiches very often, but when I do, it has to be a really good sandwich. Chutzpah prides itself on being a traditional, authentic New York Jewish deli. In the car on the way to eat, I was thinking to myself, “Will this place actually be worth all the hype?” A wave of excitement snapped me out of my slightly pessimistic thoughts, and I realized that I was about to eat at a place that would surely become one of my favorites in Fairfax. As fate would have it, Chutzpah is now one of my top three places to eat in the area.

Chutzpah is what I like to call a hole-in-the-wall, triple-D (“Diners, Drive-ins and Dives”), “Man vs. Food”-kind of joint. It is located in the back of the Fairfax Towne Center shopping plaza. Do you find yourself saying, “What’s that?” Exactly. This shopping center is not very popular amongst George Mason University students, but there are a couple of hidden gems there, such as Chutzpah.

by Katie Hennis

The deli itself is not very big, and diners are invited to seat themselves upon arrival — if there are any seats available. Seeing as it was a Sunday around noon when we decided to go, I found our 15-minute wait for a clean table to not be so bad. Once we sat down, we began to examine the bountiful menu that offered breakfast, a variety of sandwiches, entrees and desserts.

Our waitress came to the table with a bowl of their homemade coleslaw and what I’m going to assume were homemade pickles. She called it their “bread and butter.” I’m not a coleslaw person and I have only recently started liking pickles, but I was pretty hungry, so I helped myself to a crunchy pickle and a taste of the slaw. At this point in my life, it’s tough to change my likes and dislikes but Chutzpah’s coleslaw did just that. It had the perfect balance of tangy and sweet, which was exactly what I needed before consuming the gigantic sandwich I ordered.

It was a tough choice deciding what to order, but I eventually selected the Koufax from the specialty sandwiches menu. A heaping pile of thinly sliced beef brisket is topped with “Chutzpah onions” and a horseradish cream sauce served on a hero roll. This gigantic feast of a “sandwich” was so big that I wasn’t exactly sure how I would even be able to take my first bite. Fortunately, I was able to make it happen. As I sank my teeth into the Koufax, I sort of felt like I was participating in a “Man vs. Food” challenge. The first bite was so delicious that I just couldn’t wait for my second, but I had no idea how I would be able to eat the whole thing. Luckily, with the help of my best friend, Lyndsey, I was able to take the Koufax down. Every single bite was as good as the first.

Lyndsey thought she had ordered the tuna melt with onion rings, but in reality, she ordered a grilled cheese and tomato sandwich. When she was placing the order for her tuna melt, she decided on Swiss cheese on rye bread, which is what she got as a grilled cheese sans tuna fish. The grilled cheese tasted really good, but was a little too greasy for my liking. Amanda ordered the Bucko 46, which is described on the menu as, “Hot roast beef sliced thin, piled high with Chutzpah onions and melted mozzarella cheese served on garlic bread. Eat it just once and you’ll want to eat it again and again.” Unfortunately, I didn’t get to try hers, but it looked just as delicious as mine.

One would think that once we were finished with our smorgasbord, we would have no room for dessert, but heaven help me if we didn’t try one of their tasty treats from the display case. We ordered the chocolate cake and the apricot hamantaschen to share. The chocolate cake was good, but nothing out of the ordinary. The apricot hamantaschen was divine. Hamantaschen is a traditional Jewish pastry with a fruit filling. The pastry was the perfect complement to the sweet apricot filling. It was a great way to finish off our meal.

As far as I know, Chutzpah does not offer Mason students a discount. The prices aren’t steep, considering the quality of the ingredients and the generous proportions. One thing I will add, however, is that they only accept cash. I find this to be very inconvenient, but besides that and the location, everything else about Chutzpah is perfect. Until next time, I’d rather be eating…