By the time Joshua Marcus and his partners opened Chow Down Grill in Surfside during the spring of 2010, he had already exhibited his talents at a number of well-known Miami establishments, including La Sandwicherie, Timo, North One Ten, China Grill, and BLT Steak. Last year, Marcus debuted a second Chow Down Grill, in South Beach, and two months ago he converted the original Surfside location into Josh's Delicatessen & Appetizing. If this all seems a bit much to absorb, sit down and have a bowl of chicken matzoh ball soup.
The firm, almost-baseball-size matzoh ball at Josh's Deli is unique in that it's spiked with ginger beer and enriched by schmaltz culled from duck, not chicken, which makes for a much more flavorful sphere. The other components of the soup -- deep chicken stock, twirled egg noodles, and bits of carrots and celery -- captivate in a more customary fashion.
Décor differs little from the space's Asian incarnation: some tables are arranged by the storefront window, and a long counter occupies much of the remaining rectangular room behind it. The main change is that a wall in the dining area now hosts framed photos of old-time comedians with faux autographs scrawled on each -- like in classic Noo Yawk delis (Marcus hails from New York's Westchester County).
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Not even big-city delicatessens are as authentic as Josh's, which boasts Josh himself, who at times runs the restaurant as a one-man show. You will never see a Carnegie delivering knishes to the table at the Carnegie Deli.