Category Archives: Deli

St James Cheese Company

This nice sandwich and cheese shop is a fun place to stop in for a quick lunch if you’re in the area. The bloodies are good, and the sandwiches and cheese are nice.

I could’ve used a little more roast beef on this sandwich, and thinner sliced, but the smoked blue cheese sorta made up for it. That was unique. But I think I’m starting to notice a NOLA trend with small amounts of sandwich meat down here. Not a good look!

641 Tchoupitoulas St,
New Orleans, LA 70130

Vintner Wine Market

My wife and I strolled by this cool spot on Sunday and popped in for a beer and a sandwich. Vintner Wine Market sports hundreds of cool and unique beer selections in their fridges, as well as wines (by the glass and bottle). But what really got my attention was the roast beef sandwich.

This baby comes with horseradish cheddar, mayo and red onion. Simple and delicious. And the baguette was nice and fresh.

Good sized sandwich. We will be back here for sure.

677 9th Ave
New York, NY 10036


Lioni is a famous place in Bensonhurst for sandwiches, mozzarella, and generally any Italian food specialties.

My wife and I stopped in here on the recommendation of a friend who grew up across the street. We ordered two sandwiches:

The Sophia Loren (#12) was made with prosciutto, fresh Lioni mozzarella, stuffed sweet peppers, lettuce, olive oil, salt and pepper.

This thing was awesome. At $16 and over a foot long it can feed two people with ease. The bread was superb, and the meat quality was awesome – no stringy bits, which is sometimes common with average, run of the mill prosciutto. They only use the good stuff here.

The other sandwich was one I concocted myself – generally a no-no in here as they like you to order by number (they have about 300 different sandwiches on the menu). It was bresaola, banana peppers and provolone.

The bresaola was incredible. This one cost $19 and that’s because the bresaola was so top notch. I’ve never had better. The sandwich, however, needed some kind of sauce or hydrating ingredient. I added a spicy honey at home and that seemed to do the trick nicely.

I highly recommend this deli. Great sandwiches!

7803 15th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11228

Central Grocery

This legendary Italian deli in New Orleans is world famous for creating the muffuletta sandwich.

Muffuletta is technically a massive sesame seeded bread, but the name has been coopted here to describe this particular sandwich. When I first saw them back in 2009, I thought they were giant burgers.

So what exactly is in the sandwich? It’s essentially an Italian hero (high quality Italian meats and cheeses) on that circular shaped muffuletta bread, but with one special ringer: the magical olive and giardiniera salad (pickled cauliflower, hot peppers and carrots).

There are lots of joints serving this sandwich all over New Orleans, and even now in NYC.

But the one and only, the original, is Central Grocery. It’s either $10.95 (half) or $20.95 (whole). Below is a half on top, and a whole in my hand.

If you can’t find a place serving muffuletta near you, and if you can’t hop on a jet to NOLA, I highly suggest making one at home. Olive salads and giardiniera salads are usually available in jars at gourmet grocery stores. If you can’t find the bread, just slap those salads on top of a regular Italian hero and you’ll pretty much have it sorted out.

923 Decatur St
New Orleans, LA 70116

Pat LaFrieda Meat Counter

I’ve been fixing to get to this spot in The Pennsy for a while, and I finally had the opportunity last weekend. I organized a bunch of Instagram food savages to come in and shoot pics, sample the menu and promote the LaFrieda brand, which I have come to love so much.

First up, the roast beef sandwich:

This baby is served cold cut style, with bleu cheese, horseradish aioli, pickled red onions and watercress on a toasted semolina roll.

It’s very difficult to choose a favorite among so many selections here. It really depends on what mood you’re in.

Next was the black Angus steak sandwich.

That’s sliced filet mignon with melted Monterey Jack cheese, caramelized onions, baby spinach and au jus on a toasted ciabatta roll. Awesome.

Grandpa’s meatball sandwich is pretty tight.

Tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella on a pressed ciabatta roll. Simple and delicious.

This fucker was intensely flavorful.

Slow roasted pork with broccoli rabe and melted provolone on a ciabatta roll. So juicy!

“World’s Greatest Hot Dog” is a bold claim for a menu item to make, but LaFrieda really delivers with this.

This baby is actually two hot dogs with honey mustard, caramelized onions and hot peppers.

As you can see, the dogs are split and grilled, which is a big win for me. I love that preparation.

And finally, the short rib platter.

This is slow roasted and maple glazed, served with greens and a celery root slaw.

For $15 this has to be one of the best buys in NYC for a steak.

This stuff is fork tender too. I was barely able to pick this up without it falling apart – that’s how soft it is!

Do yourself a favor and get this right away. 9/10.

My wife had the genius idea to pop all the items from the soft rib platter onto one of the LaFrieda homemade potato chips.

Pretty incredible! And wash it all down with fresh lemonade or iced tea from the taps.

The Pennsy
2 Penn Plaza
New York, NY 10121

White Gold Butchers


This joint came on my radar when I learned that it was serving a “Chopped Cheese” sandwich. Made popular by Bronx bodega operators, the “Chopped Cheese” sandwich is a cross between a burger, a cheesesteak, and a NY-style breakfast sandwich (minus the egg and bacon – in fact, it is mainly just likened to a NY bacon, egg and cheese sandwich because of the poppy seed sandwich roll).

The sandwich has been trending hard among food folk in the last few months, and it’s now making its way to the upper crust. Elite restaurateurs must be rejoicing, silently thanking the griddle kings who collectively invented this sandwich, for which they can now charge $11 to residents of the Upper West Side.

Mine was pretty good. There was a great crisp on the meat, which seemed to consist of a mix of chopped meat and thinly sliced steak. There was a ton of cheese, and some really nice pickles and peppers folded in. It was a bit salty, however, and after an hour it will certainly make you want to buy stock in Tums.


We also tried the roast beef sandwich for $8.


The quality of the beef here was incredible; there just wasn’t enough of it. The sandwich needs double the meat, lettuce and horseradish cream sauce. The bread just kills the ratios. Otherwise this sandwich was excellent, especially with the pop you get from the pickled red onions.

The cool thing about this joint is that it also serves as a butcher shop, where you can buy a variety of nice cuts like culotte and bavette.


375 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY 10024

Atlantis Resort – Paradise Island Bahamas

My wife signed up for some crazy credit card that rewarded her with a free five day stay at Atlantis in the Bahamas. Then she used some of her frequent flyer points to secure us our flights. It was just a matter of paying for food at that point.

I’m sure you have no interest whatsoever in seeing my amazing vacation photos, so I’ll share with you, instead, some pics of the food we ate at the resort.

This resort is known for having very expensive food. We tried to avoid that a bit by hitting some of the cheaper joints for lunch, and supplementing hunger pangs with the assortment of snacks that we packed into our suitcases. This place is indeed expensive, with some joints even costing more than what we are accustomed to, even as NYC food lunatics.

Murray’s Deli

This is a classic NYC style Jewish deli. We had a massive loaded baked potato and a pastrami/corned beef open faced sandwich. We just couldn’t get enough in New York, so we had to eat some while in the Bahamas.



Oh and the pickles…


This place was pretty good.

Burger Shack

Classic American style diner with burgers, dogs, fries and other comfort foods.


We actually ate here twice because the place we intended to visit prior to our second trip (Bimini Road – Bahamian food) was closed.

First Meal:

The burgers were pretty good. I can tell they use more fat in their patties than we do here in the states. That made for a more robust flavor but with a slightly less desirable texture. Either way a satisfying burger.




The banana nutella shake was on point, by the way.


And I’m sure you saw those fries creeping into the frame in the shots above. We actually ordered the combo of onion rings and fries.


Fries were solid. Onions rings, not so much.

Second Meal:

Goombay Punch, essentially fruit soda (pineapple, mainly), is big down here. And sweet. We tried two varieties during the course of our vacation, and this one was superior (the other was called a “fruit champagne” and it sucked balls).


Hot dogs are split and grilled, which I consider to be the best method for grilling dogs. We covered ours with mustard, ketchup, mayo and Tabasco sauce.


Say hello to the Vitamin B: mac and cheese with blue cheese, chopped up hot dog, BBQ pork, and bacon. Insanity.



We had some free sake and sushi sampler platter to use at Nobu, so we figured we would eat a meat there.


The sampler platter kinda sucked. I can’t believe they normally charge $40 for that. But we did redeem the meal a bit with this conch sashimi:


And this crispy pork belly dish:


This small bowl of spicy seafood soup cost $19, which was a total rip off, but it was in fact tasty.


Unfortunately I was still hungry, so I ordered a noodle dish in hopes that the starch aspect would fill me up. Green tea soba noodles:


These were actually pretty good. And of course Katherine lifted them for my Instagram feed.



77 West

This was probably the best meal of the trip. We went for lunch, so kept it relatively light, but everything was excellent.

Good cocktails for the ambiance – not too sweet, just right.


Probably one of the best tuna tartare dishes we’ve ever had; served in a spicy coconut curry style broth that really popped.


And why not have another burger? This was much better than the ones at Burger Shack, and it came with fries or a salad for the same price, pretty much.


I kept it light with a salad instead of fries, and that was a good move. The salad was actually really great and fresh.


Seafire Grill

Of course we had to try a steakhouse. We pretty much shared a meal for one, since we didn’t want to break the bank.

We tried two cocktails (since we had credit for two free drinks): one was too strong and lacked finesse (the 1888 Rum Old Fashioned), but the other was perfect – a bourbon lemonade.

We started with this horrible crab cake. I’ve had better out of the freezer section of Shop Rite.


After dining at over 100 steakhouses, some of which are not NYC-based, I’ve learned my lesson: If there is no prime or aged beef on the menu, I should probably stick with a filet. You’re rolling the dice on quality with any other cuts – especially when you’re outside of the USA. Additionally, since a filet had very little fat content to begin with, you don’t have to concern yourself with marbling quality or things like prime and choice. Furthermore, I also took a peek at the butcher shop area of this restaurant (you can buy steaks to grill on your yacht at the marina), and I was not impressed with the strip and rib eye offerings. Filet was the way to go.

It was decent. I’d say 7/10. It was super tender. It lacked some juiciness and outer crust, but it was cooked perfectly medium rare from end to end. If I weren’t such a steak snob, being spoiled by the selections in NYC, this would have been an outstanding cut.



But at $58 for 10oz, however, this was incredibly overpriced. In NYC it’d be maybe $50, and that’s already pricey since its fucking NYC.

On the side we had some asparagus with Bernaise sauce. These were perfectly cooked, and they even shaved down the woody bottom part with a peeler.


As always, I have to talk about the table bread in some way. Here, it was lame. A little mushy, kinda like tan Wonder Bread. Not warm.


The ambiance and the bar were nice though, and it reminded me of something like Capital Grille in midtown. Rich and dark wood tones. If this joint were in NYC I’d probably score it in the high 60s or low 70s. Let’s just go with a 70, for the sake of ease, and because we really only tried three items.


Olives is a Todd English joint and it is directly connected to the casino at Atlantis, so the place has some standards to live up to. We weren’t planning on dining here, but when the entirety of Paradise Island lost power, we were unable to dine at the only Bahamian restaurant at the resort, Bimini Road, yet again. First time it was closed (peeve about the resort – random closures of restaurants on random days for random reasons), and the second time, which was our last night there, it was shut down because of the power outage.

Anyway, we ended up having a really nice meal at Olives. We had credit for two free cocktails (which we actually used after eating at Nobu earlier in the week).


That same day we tried the tiramisu flan, which was really delicious and unique, since Nobu was insanely overpriced and the dessert menu looked dumb there.


We split the rigatoni bolognese, which was really nicely cooked with sausage and ground meat.


Since we were intending to eat Bahamian food but got denied, we tried the conch ceviche, thinking it would be stellar, made from a local catch. It was just okay. The conch sashimi at Nobu was better.


On the side we had some of the free focaccia bread (which was nice) and this bland, flavorless broccolini.


Jonny Panini

I was never really a big fan of the panini as a possible sandwich substitute, until now. As you can imagine, I’m kind of an old fashioned dude. I like my meat and cheese slapped between the bread of a potato bun or hero roll, rather than squished down and toasted. After all, I like to preserve the sanctity of the inside of my mouth, sans cuts and scrapes, and avoid getting ripped to shreds in there from hard, crispy bread. French bread, for example. I love it to death, but as a sandwich bread it is borderline awful (maybe with the exception of a Cuban or Banh Mi). Paninis always just fell into that realm for me. “It’s toasted and crispy, so it will probably rip my mouth apart.” That was the inner monologue.

Enter Jonny Panini to change my mind. This joint makes amazing panini bread that has a supple softness inside to complement the outer crisped and toasted exterior. It’s almost like a thin version of focaccia bread, or even like a pizza crust. My panini mouth cut fears are now significantly abated.

Add to that a plethora of fine, quality Italian ingredients – like aged cheeses, fresh tomatoes, bright greens and top notch prosciutto – and you have the makings of some of the best panini sandwiches this city has to offer.

Jonny himself has decades of experience in the restaurant business. He meets his customers with a warm, vivacious and friendly personality. He exudes passion for his food, and it permeates the establishment. You feel like you’ve known Jonny all your life when you speak to him, and he knows you as well. He truly does; at least as far as your taste buds are concerned.


His menu of 18 panini sandwiches are static items that can not be swapped around or substituted. Oh, did you want the balsamic reduction on your #3 but it’s only offered on #1? Too bad. It’s on #1 and not #3 for a reason, and when you try #3 you’ll know it’s not meant to be there. That’s the kind of knowledge I’m talking about. And confidence. Jonny knows what works. Trust him. I did.

I came in with a gang of foodies for a special press tasting, so we tried a few things:

#1: Prosciutto e Mozzarella Panini ($13)
Prosciutto, mozzarella, arugula, shaved parmigiano and tomato with a balsamic reduction. This was my favorite of the three paninis we tried. It just really popped for me.



#2: Prosciutto e Provolone Panini ($11)
Prosciutto, sharp provolone cheese, tomato and lettuce with house made basil pesto. Jonny makes the pesto authentic to how his kin made it back in Italy. Family secret!


#9: Turkey e Avocado Panini ($11)
This is the only panini that isn’t pressed, toasted and heated. Why? Because Jonny doesn’t want to ruin the avocado. Smart, and like I said above: Trust in Jonny’s expertise. I do hate warm avocado, as a matter of fact. Anyway, the sandwich contains turkey, lettuce, tomato and avocado with a jalapeno aioli.


The Prosciurger
The first of it’s kind, the Prosciurger is Jonny’s trademarked burger patty, which is made entirely from ground prosciutto, mortadella and ham. It’s topped with juicy tomato, crisp lettuce, fresh melted mozzarella and an aioli that is to die for – all sandwiched in a soft, yet sturdy, pretzel bun.




I was a little worried that the texture of the patty would be rubbery and snappy, almost like a sausage or ham steak, but it wasn’t. It really had a decent crumble and savory bite to it. And it wasn’t overly salty, as one might expect with a patty made entirely from prosciutto and cured meats. It was just right.





Absolute heaven. I highly recommend this unique and inventive burger. Go get it now!

493A 9th Avenue
New York, NY 10018

Ben’s Best Kosher Deli

You can probably count on your hands the number of real-deal, old school, authentic Kosher delis that are still standing in the same place where they started decades if not centuries ago. Ben’s Best is one of those places.


Located out in Rego Park, Queens, it lacks just one thing that places like Katz and Carnegie have in spades: a massive line of tourists that trails out the door and down the block. This place is a small, quaint neighborhood spot that has withstood the test of time and NYC real estate economics for over 70 years, since 1945.

But more importantly, Ben’s Best is serving some really high quality deli fare. This was, hands down, some of the best pastrami I have ever tasted.




Better than Katz, better than Carnegie, better than 2nd Ave. They use a proprietary secret blend of spices to make it their own and differentiate their product from other delis, but the execution is really where it shines. It was juicy, thinly sliced, not fatty and super fucking tender.

I usually prefer corned beef over pastrami, any day of the week, but this place flipped my preference on its head. In fact I even put together a sandwich with both on it, because I was so torn:


Pastrami on top, corned beef on bottom:


Absolutely magnificent, and it wouldn’t be a meal without some pickles and cole slaw:


And if that’s not what gets you going at a deli, then check out this platter of beef cold cuts:


On the far left (above) is rolled beef, something you really can’t find anywhere else that I know of. It’s a deli meat made from shoulder and rib meats that are rolled into a log and then sliced for sandwiches. It’s amazing. Going from left to right (below) we also have thin sliced brisket, roast beef and beef tongue.


That tongue was outstanding, by the way. It almost tasted like really good ham. So for all you Jews out there who keep Kosher but often wonder what ham tastes like, it tastes like Ben’s Best beef tongue.

This joint also does BBQ brisket sliders, which rival any smoke house I’ve been to in the city. Crazy good.


Ben’s is clearly a meat lover’s wet dream, but let me drop some other shit on you guys too. This is a plate of cabbage stuffed with chopped meat. It has an almost sweet flavor from the tomato and carrot sauce in which the meat is stewed.



Beef goulash on egg noodles. Simple and delicious. The meat was so incredibly tender.


Chopped liver:


A mix of sweet potato and regular french fries:


And of course Jewish Penicillin, aka matzoh ball soup:


I was invited here for an Instagram influencer event, so I ate for free, but I wholeheartedly recommend this place. It was a quick 30 minute subway ride on the R from midtown Manhattan, and the subway stop is directly below the restaurant. Not too bad. I’ll definitely be back for that amazing pastrami.


96-40 Queens Blvd
Queens, NY 11374

Duran Sandwiches

Mouth is alive
With juices like wine,
And I’m hungry like the wolf.
-Duran Duran

New York City and its surrounding ‘burbs are well known havens for killer sandwiches and all things tasty that get slapped on or between some kind of bread item. The subs of Long Island, the American heroes of the city proper, and the wedges, hoagies and grinders of Westchester and New Jersey… we have it all here.

In fact, over the centuries this glorious city has taken very kindly to the sandwiches of our rich and diverse immigrant communities, whether it’s Italian sausage and pepper sandwiches, Grecian lamb gyros, near-eastern falafel-stuffed pita, Vietnamese banh mi (with a touch of French colonial influence, of course), or tomato-, cream cheese- and lox-crammed bagels from the Jewish community. We truly are a melting pot that embraces different food cultures. Shit, even just a few weeks ago I had some nice Brazilian sandwiches and burgers in Astoria. The international sandwich community here just keeps expanding.

So what’s left? Which other cultures’ sandwiches are missing from the NYC foodscape? Enter Eastern Europe: Austria, to be precise. At least at first.

Duran Sandwiches was started by the Duran brothers, Tomas and Vladimir, in Vienna, 1969. From there, the family began operating bakeries and restaurants in the city. They later expanded to Hungary, Turkey and the Czech Republic in the 90’s.  This joint on 27th and Madison is the first franchise to hit the USA. It’s operated by Hungarian-turned-American Tom Szebeni, who was a TV producer in Hungary, where he used to eat sandwiches at Duran during breaks from work.

It’s been open since October, and in my opinion the timing couldn’t have been better. “Elevated Toast” has been crushing the food world lately, trending hard, and the concept of Duran Sandwiches is to deliver light, open-faced, cold sandwiches that are clean and easy to eat, don’t fall apart or drip, and focus on high quality, delicious, natural ingredients that happen to be presented beautifully.



There are three different styles of bread: rye, pumpernickel and whole wheat. Vegan options are available, but the bulk of the menu showcases classic Austrian fare like sausages, salamis, sliced meats, cheeses and cream-based salads.


The sandwiches range from about $2.50 to $3.50 each, and there are nearly 40 different sandwiches you can choose from.


I was invited in for a press tasting by my friend Jay at The Dishelin Guide and Duran’s PR folks, Benvenuti. You guys know I’m brutally honest in my reviews. If something bugs me, I say it! And that’s regardless of whether it was free or for the press. I must say: I was really happy with this place. My first instinct was “I’m not going to get full, these sandwiches are too small.” But after about five I was stuffed. That’s only about $13-$15. Not bad at all! But then Tom kept feeding us more and more, and since they were so good we couldn’t stop! I think we ended up trying eight or nine in the store, and then Tom packed up a box of nine for each of us to go.







All in, I tried about 15 different sandwiches. They break down into three categories: meat, fish and vegetarian.

My favorite vegetarian sandwich was probably the the sun dried tomato and date sandwich. The fresh tomato and sun dried tomato had just the right amount of sweetness added in from the dates, and that struck a perfect balance. Pretty funny: The steak guy ended up loving the vegan option!

Sun Dried Tomato & Date: fresh tomato, sun dried tomato and dates.

As for the fish, I liked the salmon sandwich. Resting beneath the smoked salmon was a scoop of celery root salad that was really unique and flavorful. To me, this made for a much better cream element for the smoked salmon than the more familiar cream cheese. And, in fact, you can get just that celery root cream salad by itself, on its on sandwich, if you want.

Salmon: smoked salmon with celery cream, lettuce and dill.

My favorite of the meat sandwiches was the spicy Hungarian salami. It had great fat flavor content, it was super soft and tender, and had a really nice spice level to it. In fact I might have to find out where Tom gets the salami, so I can keep some stocked in my fridge at all times. If not I’ll just have to keep coming back here! I even got to sample the slices of salami by themselves back in the kitchen.


Spicy Hungarian Salami (left): spicy salami with Duran spread, boiled egg, cucumber and carrot.

Here are the others I tried:

Turkey Breast: carved turkey breast with horseradish cream, Duran spread, carrot and cucumber.


Roast Beef: carved roast beef with Duran spread, onion and chives.


Traditional Hungarian Salami (center): salami with Duran spread, boiled egg, cucumber, and carrot.


A salami sample from the kitchen:


Traditional Hungarian Sausage: paprika sausage with Duran spread, pickles, carrot, boiled egg and cucumber.


Salmon Caviar: salmon caviar with Duran spread, lettuce, boiled egg, tomato, cucumber and lemon.


Tuna Salad (right): tuna in water mixed with tuna in oil (makes for a very creamy tuna salad), with tomato, onion and lemon.


Lobster Salad (left): lobster salad, tomato and lemon.


Sheep Cheese: sheep cheese, farmer’s cheese, tomato, cucumber, onion and olive.


Egg Salad (left): egg salad with parsley and boiled egg.


Hot Pepper & Egg Salad (right): egg salad with Hungarian hot pepper, tomato and jalapeño.


Egg Salad with Curry: egg salad with boiled egg, curry and cucumber.


Curd Farmer’s Cheese (center): farmer’s cheese, sheep cheese, paprika, and caraway.


Asparagus: pickled asparagus with farmer’s cheese, cucumber, boiled egg and tomato.


This place is a lot of fun, and it’s perfect for summer eating, since it’s cold, not messy, and easy to eat. In fact, if my wife and I ever throw another scotch party at our place, I’m going to cater it with Duran Sandwiches instead of busting my ass cooking for it! A large chunk of their business, both here and overseas, revolves around external catering, providing food for corporate functions, private parties, etc. The full-sized sandwiches lend themselves well to hors d’oeuvres or tapas, but Duran also caters bite-sized, circular versions of every sandwich for even easier, mess-free eating.

62 Madison Ave
New York, NY 10016