“It is kind of a deli.”

That’s the simple tagline of Josh’s, a delicious gem of a restaurant tucked away in Surfside, and it perfectly captures what makes chef Josh Marcus’ offerings so special. The foundation of the food is Jewish deli fare — including cured fishes, matzo balls, and sliced meats — but then the kind of kicks in.

Marcus is constantly playing mad-scientist with these traditional staples, turning them into original, and ever-evolving, new dishes. The corned beef gets put onto a “benediction” with potatoes, onions, peppers, a bagel, poached eggs, and hollandaise; the pastrami gets folded into a “hee–bru-rito” with scrambled eggs and chili; and the Reuben definitely isn’t bubbe’s — it’s made with kimchee and crab.

The ultimate example of Josh’s approach to deli food may be the latkes, which are one of the few regulars on the menu. The small potato pancakes are cooked traditionally (and perfectly), then are topped with house-cured slices of tuna and Sriracha cream cheese. Like many things at the restaurant the dish sounds like it might not work, but, somehow, it does.

The best part about Josh’s is that the high-brow approach to cooking is paired with a very relaxed vibe. The prices are decent ($12 – $17 for mains), the space is cozy and comfortable, and the service is friendly. It’s basically feels like a neighborhood spot that happens to serve daring, exceptional food. In other words, it is the best kind of deli.