Shelsky’s of Brooklyn


141 Court Street


Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Photo by Dominic Perri

Chef Peter Shelsky had been throwing around restaurant concept ideas for years — and his friends and family were constantly shooting them down. One Christmas, though, while waiting in an around-the-block line at Russ and Daughters, it hit him: He wanted to bring smoked fish and other traditional bagel accoutrements to Brooklyn. This time everyone agreed the idea was a hit. In 2011 Shelsky partnered with Lewis Spada to open Shelsky's of Brooklyn, a small storefront on Smith Street that, as Shelsky now explains it, aims to revive “an old tradition that never really died.” The partners began selling classics like whitefish salad, nova, sable, chopped liver, and latkes, plus a board’s worth of sandwiches slathered with cream cheese and loaded with seafood. The endeavor was so successful that Shelsky's soon outgrew the space and in May 2014 relocated to its current Court Street location. The eatery has since added modern takes on the standards (such as wild king salmon bacon) and, most recently, deli items like house-cured pastrami, corned beef, and tongue. Eastern European food is undergoing a modernization movement here in New York, and Shelsky aims to do his part for what he calls the “Jew food renaissance.”