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Best Deli in Boston?

sharpless Jul 12, 2006 04:11 PM

Only stipulation is that it needs to be T or walking accessible. I don't have access to a car.

  1. g
    Gabatta Jul 12, 2006 04:13 PM

    "Deli in Boston" is really an oxymoron.

    1. hiddenboston Jul 12, 2006 04:29 PM

      Unless the T extends to Manhattan, I'm afraid you're out of luck. Boston is becoming famous (infamous?) for its lack of great delis. Having said that, I hear that Michael's in Coolidge Corner is very good, and Zaftigs (also in Coolidge Corner) isn't bad, though it can be inconsistent.

      One option would be to go to Sam LaGrassa's on Province Street in downtown Boston. It's not a true deli, but many people say it's one of the best places in town for corned beef.

      1. missykins Jul 12, 2006 04:30 PM


        Try this link or a quick search of "Deli" came up with lots of threads.

        1. p
          psora Jul 12, 2006 05:37 PM

          I'll put in another vote for Michaels in Coolidge Corner. I love his hot brisket and health salad (never gets mentioned, but as someone who's not a big mayo fan, this vinegar based cole slawish salad is perfect) and sweet potato knishes, and they have excellent lean corned beef although I rarely get past the brisket to remind myself how good. And of course nice garlic dills. He imports most of what he doesn't make himself from NY and treats it well after, so it's probably as close to NY deli on the T as you're going to get.

          1. b
            Biggie Jul 12, 2006 06:47 PM

            I don't even know if it still exists, but there used to be a place called Dagwood's on Beach St. (a 2 minute walk from South Station). They had a lot of good sandwiches, including pastrami & onions fried on the griddle, served on a french roll for $2 from 12-2PM

            1. steinpilz Jul 12, 2006 06:52 PM

              Having not been here long I'd be very interested in any Chowhound suggestions on where I can find "fatty pastrami" in Boston, man I love that stuff.

              6 Replies
              1. re: steinpilz
                9lives Jul 14, 2006 02:09 PM

                Sam LaGrassa's deli on Province St/near downtown crossing has the best pastrami in town..only open for lunch on weekdays. Ask for fatty.

                1. re: 9lives
                  BackBayGirl Jul 17, 2006 04:48 AM

                  I'd agree. Sam LaGrassa's is magnificent. Had the best corned beef sandwich there the other day. Yum!!!

                2. re: steinpilz
                  BobB Jul 14, 2006 02:31 PM

                  Don't know about fatty pastrami, but while we're on the subject of cholesterol-deficiency relief, what I really miss, and now have to go to New York to find, is rolled beef. Not a single producer still exists in New England, and there doesn't appear to be enough demand for anyone to import it (The Butcherie in Brookline has it on their deli counter menu but it's just a tease, they haven't actually had any in years).

                  1. re: BobB
                    jonathan Jul 14, 2006 06:07 PM

                    the true term is "juicy" as opposed to "lean" when it comes to corned beef and pastrami. if the brisket is not homemade, it is hard to buy commercial "juicy" meats. as an aside, I too have been searching for a decent deli in Boston-- just recently did a 2 day deli only stint in NY-- and have decided to open my own. stay tuned.

                    1. re: jonathan
                      steinpilz Jul 16, 2006 10:59 AM

                      The deli I used to get fatty/juicy pastrami from called it fatty. I wasn't getting a sandwich, just takeout sliced pastrami, so maybe that's the difference.

                      1. re: steinpilz
                        Karl S Jul 19, 2006 12:39 PM

                        Costco sells twin packs of Carnegie Deli pastrami, of the navel (fatty/juicy) kind....

                3. i
                  irwin Jul 12, 2006 07:03 PM

                  I believe Rubin's on Harvard St (1-block from the T) is the best deli in Boston, and is Kosher, so everything is available except service on Saturday's...............

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: irwin
                    psora Jul 14, 2006 04:17 AM

                    What do you like there? I've tried it a couple of times and given up. I found it a bit pricier than other places with food and service that didn't justify it. I assumed it was a matter of guaranteed audience, since it is actually kosher unlike the other deli style places around. Can't even recall what I had since I haven't been back in a while, but impression it left was that the food was tired and scraggly without a lot of taste and service that left me alternately sitting around ignored and begging. Is there something I should definitely try there?

                    1. re: psora
                      BobB Jul 14, 2006 02:33 PM

                      I must concur. I live around the corner from Rubin's, and would sooner walk to Michael's in a blizzard than settle for Rubin's bland, undersized sandwiches.

                      1. re: psora
                        irwin Jul 14, 2006 03:44 PM

                        Sorry to hear your unhappiness about Rubins. Yes, they do have a attitude, slow service, sometimes rude, but never found the food tired or scraggly. I think they feel they have the market tied-up because not only are they kosher, but they are now owned by the Butcherie, who also is rude. Kosher establishments need to charge more for a lot of reasons, such as closed on Saturdays, paying a Rabbi to check all products entering the building for kushruth (kosher), and kosher meat cost more then non-kosher. I don't know why some of these people need to be rude, but I guess if they are dealing with a lot of complaining bitching customers all day, then the clerks automatically become rude.

                        1. re: irwin
                          psora Jul 15, 2006 09:32 AM

                          Well I could have easily lived with the rudeness and slightly higher prices if the food had been decent. We're only talking a buck or so more and it's the sort of place your expectations are more about food than service. I also live around the corner and it would be really handy if there was anything I liked there. Anything you particularly recommend on the menu?

                          1. re: psora
                            irwin Jul 15, 2006 08:02 PM

                            Their sweet and sour soup is to die for, but their corned beef, as well as all their deli is very good.

                          2. re: irwin
                            gini Jul 17, 2006 05:58 PM

                            Just wanted to say that I've never found anyone working at the Butcherie to be rude. Their service is efficient and polite - never anything less.

                      2. p
                        psc109 Jul 13, 2006 05:40 PM

                        Barry's Deli in Waban if you want to get on RT 9.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: psc109
                          Blumie Jul 14, 2006 06:09 PM

                          It's also right across the street from the Waban T station on the D line. But while good, it's not worth shlepping to if you're not otherwise in the area.

                        2. Ernie Diamond Jul 15, 2006 02:30 PM

                          Sam LaGrassa's (as has already been put forth) is excellent. Besides that, Zaftigs does in a pinch. The meats are good though the servings can be a bit light.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: Ernie Diamond
                            Blumie Jul 15, 2006 03:12 PM

                            As to Zaftig's serving sizes, I actually prefer a more "normal" size sandwich like they serve at Zaftig's to a NYC-size sandwich (and of course the size of the sandwich is part of the reason you pay twice as much for it in NYC). Unfortunately Zaftig's meat is no where close to, say, Katz's in NYC. That said, I agree it's a decent sandwich.

                            1. re: Blumie
                              tomaneng Jul 16, 2006 04:54 AM

                              Oka, maybe I'm ordering the wrong things at Zaftigs but with a couple of exceptions (namely the stuffed french toast and some nice matzoh balls) I've been underwhelmed there. The brisket was so-so, the knishes had been reheated to dryness in the microwave and the borscht tasted like it came from the jar. Aer there things I should be ordering instead?

                              That being said, the best pickles in Boston are at Andreas in Putterham circle in Brookline. They do pretty nice Reubens and Rachels too. Don't know about the rest of their menu.

                              1. re: Blumie
                                9lives Jul 16, 2006 10:48 PM

                                Very few places in NYC compare to Katz's meats either.

                                I would say that LaGrasso's is better than a lot of NYC delis for corned beef, pastrami and brisket (Tues only)

                                1. re: 9lives
                                  Blumie Jul 17, 2006 01:51 AM

                                  I agree. People rightfully rave about the quality of many NYC delis, but for every good deli in NYC there are at least 10 bad ones.

                                2. re: Blumie
                                  BobB Jul 17, 2006 02:23 PM

                                  If you're at Zaftig's you might as well walk a block or two over to Michael's, which not only has the best corned beef I've tasted in the area, they give you a seriously large sandwich for only $7. And unlike the bizarre New York custom of piling a softball-sized mound of meat in the middle of smallish bread, they spread it out evenly between two very good (and good-sized) slices.

                              2. a
                                AnnieP Jul 18, 2006 02:27 AM

                                I recently tried Michael's, based on recommendations on this board. I went for an early Sunday lunch with my daughter. I liked the place, and the service was friendly and pleasant. The weird thing was that I ordered a turkey and chopped liver sandwich with cole slaw on it. He asked if I wanted some Russian dressing, and I said sure. When the sandwich came, it looked as though it was slathered with mayo. I brought it back and showed him, but he claimed that that was their version of Russian dressing. All I know is that if it looks like mayo, and tastes like mayo...I'm still puzzled.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: AnnieP
                                  steinpilz Jul 18, 2006 04:17 AM

                                  I'd say that guy needs further attention from his manager.

                                  1. re: steinpilz
                                    AnnieP Jul 18, 2006 11:52 PM

                                    Well, that's part of the weird thing- I'm pretty sure he was either the manager or owner!

                                    1. re: AnnieP
                                      gini Jul 20, 2006 03:51 PM

                                      I like the pastrami at Michael's, and his nova's ok in a pinch. The herring salad is disgusting though, so watch out.

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