Tag Archives: deli

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.

VINTNER WINE MARKET
677 9th Ave
New York, NY 10036

Lioni

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!

LIONI
7803 15th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11228

Perdinci Meats

I discovered Perdinci Meats at a food show in the Javitz center. I contacted their representative because I was really blown away by the quality of their meats, especially the dried, cured pork loin, or lonza. They sent me a variety pack of sample meats, including salami, guanciale (pork cheek), pork belly, that delicious lonza, and some softer spreadables like nduja and finocchiola.

These babies were tucked away in my fridge for quite a while, and I was happy to see that they held up just fine and didn’t spoil with proper storage.

The lonza is still my favorite, but all of the other products are excellent. I highly recommend this stuff.

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.

CENTRAL GROCERY
923 Decatur St
New Orleans, LA 70116

Morton Williams & Whole Foods

I don’t really review supermarkets, but every so often I feel the need to pipe up about something that bothers me. And don’t be alarmed, I WILL say some good things too, but let me get to the bad shit first.

I don’t know if its’ some new fucking food waste trend, or if it’s just the shitty condition of Manhattan grocery stores in general, but the produce at these two supermarkets have royally sucked lately. Every time I go to the Columbus Circle, 9th Avenue and 57th Street locations of these joints, the greens, veggies and produce are half rotten. And Columbus Circle is supposed to be THE FLAGSHIP Whole Foods location, from what I understand.

I can’t even remember how many times I’ve picked up a head of broccoli only to have the stems bend like rubber under its own weight. I’ve purchased a head of lettuce for $3 or $4 and had to throw half of it out because it was turning fucking brown.

Yes, yes. None of us like to waste food. I know all about “ugly food” initiatives, and I support them. Why toss it if you can sell it, or give it to someone who is hungry?

But this garbage should be discounted if the condition is going to always be shitty. In Manhattan, this crap is double the price of the suburbs. We are getting raped here.

Part of the reason, I’m convinced, is because of those dumb fucking sprinkler systems that spray water on the produce every minute. Dumb. It just asks for rot to form on the food. The other reason, maybe more specific to Manhattan, is the heat in Summer, slow delivery times due to traffic, and poor refrigeration. Either way I’m not happy about it.

On the other hand, Whole foods has an awesome deli and fresh pre-prepared food area, along with a kick ass bakery, beer selection and olive bar. Morton Williams has a nice deli too. I picked up this sandwich the other day and really enjoyed it: smoked turkey, provolone cheese, roasted red peppers and pesto on a roll: $7.25.

Another item for the plus column: beef selection. While the items can get pricey at times, the quality is very good. Whole Foods offers dry aged beef, and both joints have some great sales if you watch out for them.

Also, sometimes the choice quality stuff at Morton is just as good as prime. You may recall my article about this from a while back.

White Gold Butchers

NOTE: THIS PLACE IS CLOSED

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.

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We also tried the roast beef sandwich for $8.

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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.

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WHITE GOLD BUTCHERS
375 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY 10024

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.

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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.

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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:

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Pastrami on top, corned beef on bottom:

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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Chopped liver:

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A mix of sweet potato and regular french fries:

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And of course Jewish Penicillin, aka matzoh ball soup:

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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.

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BEN’S BEST KOSHER DELI
96-40 Queens Blvd
Queens, NY 11374

Off the Block

My friends and family on Long Island have been telling me about this new joint in Sayville that serves some killer sandwiches and is set up like a gourmet butcher shop or deli. This past weekend I finally got to try it out.

OTB front

When you step in, you’re inside a nice little butcher shop. They sell prepared foods, and cuts of meat like you’d find at a deli, but they also have a nice dry-aging room right there on site.

OTB products

OTB steaks

OTB dry aged

There’s a cool bar area near the flat top grill for an old fashioned diner experience, and the menu is pretty simple but fantastic.

OTB bar

OTB griddle

OTB menu

We did take-out (me, my brother and our wives), but here’s what I thought of everything we tried:

Chili Espresso Wings: I really liked these a lot. While I was hoping for a bit more heat on these, I really enjoyed the flavor combo, and they were nicely crisped. You don’t normally see fun and interesting wing flavors like this. I’d definitely get these again.

OTB wings

Duck Buns: These come in an order of three, and are nice and tasty. The duck is simultaneously crispy and tender, just as it should be. While pricey, at $12, you don’t often see these on the island.

OTB buns

Filet Tips in Gravy: These were tasty meat morsels. They were fun to pop and snack on, and the gravy was great with the fries. I’d pass on a future visit, perhaps opting for the riblets instead.

OTB filet tips

16 Hour Brisket Sandwich: The meat was so tender on this fucker. It was topped with melted provolone, pickles and pickled red cabbage for a good southern flavor profile. It was delicious, but I think the provolone wasn’t the best match for the other flavors. Maybe a brie or a cheddar would work better? Something more southern.

OTB brisket

OTB Brisket 2

Porchetta Sandwich: This was clearly the big winner of the day in terms of brute flavor and awesomeness. The pork was caramelized and crisp on the outside, but soft and tender inside. The tomato and sautéed spinach toppings added juiciness and a nice hit of fresh green to balance that savory pork meat. I want more!

OTB porchetta 3

OTB porchetta 1

OTB porchetta 2

Chicken Sandwich: While I didn’t get to try this, it most certainly looked amazing. A simple grilled chicken with lettuce, tomato and cheese. Check out the cheese strings!

OTB chicken

I’ll definitely be back here again the next time I’m home. One other menu item was really screaming for my attention that I didn’t get to try: the Pastrueben. Pastrami + Rueben. I’ll just let that brew in your minds until next time…

OFF THE BLOCK
501 Montauk Hwy
Sayville, NY 11782

Carnegie Deli

There are few eating holes as iconic as Carnegie Deli. This joint is known around the world for serving up Jewish style deli sandwiches that are piled high with mountains of meat. I hadn’t been here since around 2000, so it was great to finally go back and really sink my teeth into some classic NYC shit.

My buddy and I split the Woody Allen combo, which is about a pound each of pastrami and corned beef on rye bread, but without the statutory rape. We ordered to go so we didn’t get nailed with the $5 share charge (and a tip) if you eat there.

This place still delivers high level quality like I remember. The meat is juicy and tender, sliced thin but not dried out, and piled high as fuck.

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One sandwich can easily feed two, but I have to tell you – I was wishing that I had my own sandwich as I got down to my last few bites. So much meat, but I wanted more!

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Now that I live nearby, I’ll be picking up sandwiches a lot more often. This place is totally worth the hype, and there are really only three places that still operate in this classic Jewish Deli fashion now: Katz, 2nd Avenue Deli, and Carnegie Deli. Get here. Even if you’ve gone many times. It still delivers a powerful punch of flavor.

CARNEGIE DELI
854 7th Ave
New York, NY 10019

Sau Voi Corp

NOTE: THIS PLACE IS NOW CLOSED

This little corner Vietnamese bodega was a staple spot for me and my wife when we lived nearby.

SV outside

They sell everything from Vietnamese variety show VCDs to music CDs, over the counter meds to dry goods and trinkets.

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But they also sell banh mi sandwiches.

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I grabbed two on my way home from jury duty, which brought me back into my old stomping grounds.

The classic: ham, pate and slices of pork roll with pickled veggies, cilantro, mayo and sri racha.

The spicy BBQ pork: BBQ pork with pickled veggies, cilantro, mayo, BBQ sauce and sri racha.

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Both were really tasty and flavorful. The bread here is likely made early in the morning. When I arrived it was still being kept warm in a toaster oven type thing, but it may have dried out a bit in the hours it was there. The French bread was crispy and flaky, so much so that the roof of your mouth gets raped pretty hard, but the sandwich flavors make it worth the pain. These sandwiches are pretty solid for a cheap Chinatown deli shop. Stop in if you’re nearby.

SAU VOI CORP.
101 Lafayette St #3
New York, NY 10013