Samuel’s is an all-day eatery in Rittenhouse from the Schulson Collective, the group behind some of our very favorite spots. The space (directly above Giuseppe & Sons) has been completely overhauled to look like a 20th century Jewish deli–black and white tile floors, counter-style seating, and vintage globe light fixtures. Not surprising, since this team is known for committing to over-the-top interior design (just look at Sampan, Double Knot, or Harp and Crown). What is surprising is that for all the style, there’s so little substance, resulting in consistently mediocre bagels, sandwiches, and pastries.
The menu is made up of deli classics like corned beef specials, towers of Nova lox, and challah french toast, but there’s also a cheeseburger, chicken pot pie, and for some reason, fried chicken. We’ve never met a bagel we don’t like, but we can’t get along with this one (that’s so chewy, it’s nearly impossible to eat). The bialys and babka are dry, and the Pastrami Triple Decker falls apart before you can eat it.
That’s not to say you can’t find anything worth ordering. If you’re in the area, pop in for an order of the crispy Latka Royale (with sour cream, lox, and caviar) or the soft and satisfying cheese pierogi. Lenny’s Egg Cream and Doc Brown’s Float are a sweet afternoon treat. But if you’re looking for a juicy zaftig sandwich, a succulent smoked fish platter, or a cakey black-and-white cookie, head to Famous 4th Street Delicatessen or Herschel’s East Side Deli instead (no interior schtick needed).