Max's Appetizing and Kosher Delicatessen

1483 Broadway Hewlett, NY 516-374-0617

Max's Appetizing in Hewlett sells a variety of

(Credit: Newsday / Erica Marcus)

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Bob Leshansky gets nostalgic for the old days, when the Atlantic was still a source of wild salmon, when sturgeon were caught in the Great Lakes (they're all farmed now) and when lox wasn't sold at every supermarket, bagel store and price club. At Max's Appetizing, founded in 1947 and recently moved to new digs inside Sweet Pea Gourmet Grocery in Hewlett, the art of smoked and cured fish is still practiced.

Leshansky, who inherited the business from his father, Jerry, has his own method for slicing smoked salmon: First he splits the side of fish in half lengthwise, separating "back" from "belly." Then, using a long, thin, flexible knife, he slices -- but not too thin. He likes a slice with a little heft. He debones whitefish using shears and a hemostat, a scissors-like tool that surgeons use to control bleeding. He pickles his own salmon and herring, bakes his own farmer cheese, makes his own blintzes and kreplach and stuffed cabbage and nearly a dozen salads including a rich mushroom-onion-egg and a you'd-never-guess-it-was-vegetarian chopped liver among them. (Real chopped liver: also very good.)

Max's has a small selection of deli meats, but the emphasis here is on the bagel-friendly fish and dairy cuisine traditionally called "appetizing." Nova Scotia salmon and the richer, saltier belly lox are both $48 a pound. Silky, elegant smoked sturgeon is $60, as is the smoked sable; chubbs and brook trout are $20, salads range from $8 to $16, for the clean, bright whitefish salad. Leshansky also operates a catering business, Majestic, for which, he says, no job is too small.


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