What is Jewish cuisine without pickles? Nothing, I tell you. Can you imagine a pastrami sandwich without pickles on the side? And not just one measly spear, either: you need a whole bowl of them.
The best I’ve found, in bulk, are at The Pickle Guys on Essex Street. This was formerly the site of Guss’s Pickles, featured in the movie Crossing Delancey, but Guss’s has moved a few blocks away and its pickles have gone way downhill.
Here you’ll find not just “pickles”, but new pickles, sours, half sours, three-quarter sours, hot pickles, horseradish pickles, and garlic pickles. And if you’re not in the mood for cukes, there are pickled tomatoes, carrots, garlic, string beans, etc. And all are kosher, prepared “under the supervision of Rabbi Schmeul Fishelis.”
As owner Alan Kaufman proudly testifies:
I make my pickles from an old Eastern European recipe “Just the way mom use to make them”. This is a barrel cured pickle. The pickles are made by letting them sit in salt brine with garlic, spices, and no preservatives. Storing them in barrels, from a day up to six months, the pickles cure as they sit. Along with pickles we also brought back old traditional items such as: Pickled Watermelon, Cabbage Rolls, and Cabbage Heads. Two weeks before Passover we also bring our operation outside and grind Horse Radish from freshly peeled roots.
Make mine half sours.
You can order these from the Pickle Guys website, but it’s far better to visit, sample, and take home a quart or two.
Here’s a video featuring owner Kaufman:
Here’s the YouTube trailer (un-embeddable) for Crossing Delancey. Plot: uptown, uptight Jewish girl gets fixed up with a pickle salesman. The usual love-between-two-different-worlds business.