Dining

ZoozaCrackers makes 700 pounds of pastrami per week

The Wynn deli does New York classics fresh from Vegas

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It’s meat-tastic! ZoozaCrackers’ Reuben with homemade corned beef.
Photo: Bill Hughes

Vegas lacks deli. We’ve got some neighborhood faves and big names from big cities making sandwiches on the Strip, but there are few eateries doing authentic delicatessen fare around town and even fewer making all those traditional goodies in-house.

Luckily, executive chef Samuel Morse is doing just that in an unexpected place: ZoozaCrackers, the deli at Wynn. Morse and his team do it all: matzoh balls, knishes, roasted turkey, latkes and Reubens with homemade corned beef.

Restaurant Guide

ZoozaCrackers
Wynn Las Vegas, 770-3463.
Monday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m.; Friday, 11:30 a.m.-midnight; Saturday, 11 a.m.-midnight; Sunday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.

“There is high-quality stuff at other places on the Strip, but they’re not making everything onsite,” says Morse, who opened Wynn in 2005 and took over at ZoozaCrackers three years ago. “We are very much a New York-style traditional deli, with a few extras. Everything from our cheesecake to our vegan ice cream is made right here.”

ZoozaCrackers executive chef Samuel Morse is all about making New York deli favorites, from scratch, in Las Vegas-like 700 pounds of pastrami per week.

ZoozaCrackers executive chef Samuel Morse is all about making New York deli favorites, from scratch, in Las Vegas-like 700 pounds of pastrami per week.

Don't call the doctor. All we need is a bowl of chef Morse's matzoh ball goodness.

Don't call the doctor. All we need is a bowl of chef Morse's matzoh ball goodness.

He’s also cranking out 700 pounds of his own pastrami every week. Morse struck up a friendship with Gary Canter of the famous Canter’s Deli in LA in order to learn everything about everybody’s favorite sandwich meat. After collecting the trade secrets, Morse took eight months developing his own recipe. “It’s definitely a scientific process,” he says. “We had to get the brine right, figure the perfect amount of time for that and for smoking ... there is a standard operating pastrami procedure. The smoking alone is a six-stage process that takes 19 hours.” It takes about 72 hours to turn a fresh beef brisket into ZoozaCrackers pastrami, which is “definitely smokier and a tad bit spicier” than what you get at the supermarket. Also, it tastes way better.

Order it on a straight-up sandwich on fresh-baked rye with homemade bread and butter pickles on the side, or sample some tasty slabs of it on the eight-ounce Angus beef ZoozaBurger. Then there’s the house Benedict, those amazing potato latkes with corned beef, pastrami, Swiss cheese, poached eggs and Russian dressing. You won’t finish it, and you won’t forget it.

There are plenty of options, but it’s hard to stray from that pastrami, Morse’s meat masterpiece. “This is a deli and we are nothing like the fine dining in the hotel, but we still expect that level of quality. And I’m a perfectionist,” he says.

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Brock Radke

Brock Radke has been writing about Las Vegas for almost two decades. He currently serves as editor-at-large covering entertainment and ...

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