Retiring Democrat Rep. Gary Ackerman passed the torch Thursday night in the "Best of New York Delis Throwdown." New York Democrats Steve Israel and Jerry Nadler hosted Ackerman's famous 30-year-old fundraiser and Ackerman served as judge in the "Throwdown" between each lawmaker's favorite deli.
The event, which raised money for Israel and Nadler's joint fundraising committee, has become legendary in Washington circles. Members from both sides of the aisle have flocked to it for decades to get their fill of matzah balls, soup, knishes, corned beef and pastrami.
Israel shipped in Ben's Kosher Deli from Long Island and Nadler called on Liebman's Deli from the Bronx. The two traded barbs about whose choice would reign supreme.
And while guests, including House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, got a taste of both Ben's and Leibman's, Ackerman made the final calls.
Leibman's got the nod for having richer chopped liver, but Ben's was judged healthier. Leibman took the prize for matzah balls. And Ben's got points for better pastrami and soup, according to Israel spokeswoman Samantha Slater.
The group bestowed Ackerman with title of "Kosher Caucus" president, presenting him with an award.
Photo: Retiring Rep. Gary Ackerman was honored at the "Best of New York Delis Throwdown," hosted by New York Democrats Steve Israel and Jerry Nadler. Ackerman hosted the fundraiser for three decades. (Photo courtesy of Israel's office.)