I went there with a few elderly relatives tonight, and the restaurant is thankfully not too crowded or overly loud at around 7:30. The service is efficient, the waitress was still a little rusty with the menu items and had to go ask for clarification at one point. The gin menu is impressive, and they had quite a few interesting house soda - the grapefruit shrub was tasty and I would definitely get it again. DH had a gin cocktail that he enjoyed as well.
That said, the food is just meh and not as delicatessen-y as I would like, if that makes sense at all? We got a few small places to share (Israeli salad, charred eggplant, and a cheese/spinach pastry thingy) and a few mazo ball soup, and the portions are pretty small/tiny for vegetable mezze. We got individual large plates (pastrami sandwich, za’atar salmon, duck breast, challah crusted cod) as well, and the portions are more reasonable. Some of the a la carte sides are interesting (tahdig?!), but we didn’t get the chance to try.
I like the liberal use of spices (dukkah and za’atar aplenty), and the eggplant is nicely charred and smoky, yet everything from the small plates to the main dishes, feels SO salty. Is this just a chefy gimmick to get more flavor out of a dish by throwing sodium at it? The challah crusted cod was an interesting concept - it seems to have a layer of buttery dough directly baked on top of the fish, but the mussel broth and the sauteed greens was so salty that I had to eat around it.
The older New Yorkers in attendance liked their dishes enough, but also complained about this place looking nothing like a delicatessen, and I think that’s my problem with this place as well. The takeout wing with the sandwich offering is sorta like a deli, but the restaurant side seems more like a Mediterranean fusion place with some Jewish elements thrown in, and the Jewish dishes don’t seem very good either, e.g. pastrami comes shredded instead of slices - why? (Oh, and their fish plate claims to use OMG bagels - at least have the decency to source a good local bagel; they are not that difficult to find!)
If it’s old school delicatessen fare executed with skill and confidence you are looking for, go across the river to Mamaleh’s - you won’t be able to find it at Our Father’s. We certainly won’t be going back unless we just want some gin drinks.