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  1. THAT WOULD BE THE "HIT YOUR CAPS-LOCK BUTTON CAFE". Ah, there, I feel much better talking in a normal tone of voice.

    As any transplanted New Yorker can tell you, deli is not Boston's long suit. I like Rubin's Kosher Deli in Brookline, but it's kosher: you can't get cheese on your corned beef sandwich (and it's closed on Saturday). Zaftig's in Coolidge Corner does a kind of Epcot version of deli, pretty tasty, big portions, but sort of sanitized, and not especially a bargain.

    Michael's in Coolidge Corner is a decent small deli, with good corned beef, but its menu is rather limited, and it closes early (5pm weeknights, 3pm weekends).

    The many Russian markets in Brookline and Brighton sort of have the feel of an Eastern European Jewish deli and a few of the products, but they really are their own thing. There's a worthy Polish deli across the street from Cafe Polonia in Andrews Square.

    1. It's not New York, so lower the bar. Maxie's and Eliot's, 2 delis in Stoughton, serve respectable corned beef sandwiches. There is also a good deli in Sharon in a strip mall on Washington St.(?), whose name escapes me.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ShelT54

        I frequently point out on this board that it's unreasonable to expect Boston's 600,000 population to sustain the same restaurant breadth, number, and quality as New York's 8,000,000 people.

        But New York has a claim on deli excellence that has far less to do with its sheer size than its highest-in-America population of Ashkenazi Jews, the wellspring of American deli culture. Mexico City arguably has as interesting a restaurant culture as New York's, also due in part to its comparably huge size, but it's not the same kind of destination for deli.

      2. If a corned beef sandwich is your grail, you can't do better than Michael's Deli in Coolidge Corner. It's actually preferable to the New York deli experience in my opinion (and I've eaten at Carnegie, 2nd Ave, etc), because not only is the corned beef itself just as good, they actually know how to make a sandwich instead of just putting a big ball of meat in the middle of the bread.

        1 Reply
        1. re: BobB

          I totally agree plus you can order a half sandwich, still fat and delicious, much easier on the waistline and wallet.

        2. Best Corned Beef in Boston belong to Sam's La Grassa behind Washington Street. Warm sandwich with a great homemade roll and awesome steak fries and pickles.

          2 Replies
          1. re: fabeneag

            2nd Sam LaGrassa's - but not the roll. They use a portuguese roll which is just too sweet and detracts from the moist, home-made meat (very much like Katz's - NY Deli style). Get it on rye. The fresh pickles are also the best in Boston - a side gives you a whole plateful.

            1. re: fabeneag

              I know a lot of people swear by Sam LaGrassa's but IMO it reminds me of a "deli" that you'd find in Iowa.

              I find their corned beef to be unnecessarily fatty and really bland.

            2. Rubins on Harvard Ave in Brookline gets my vote... a Boston area institution.


              2 Replies
              1. re: WineTravel

                No offense, but have you actually eaten there lately, or is this a post from nostalgia? Granted you could call Rubin's an institution, it's been there forever. But I live a block away and when I'm in need of a corned beef sandwich I walk the 1/2 mile to Michael's - and would do so in a blizzard before going back to Rubin's! The last time I went there I paid twice as much for a sandwich half the size and with half the flavor of Michael's.

                Unless you keep kosher I just don't see the point of eating there.

                1. re: BobB

                  Hmmmnn. Hadn't been in a while and did bulk takeout (by the pound) about 9 mos ago... quality was good. So, can't say what they give you on a sandwich, etc. But if you live so close youre more up on the scene than I am. Will def try Michael's next time im in the area. thanks for the tip

              2. For corned beef, I like Zaftigs a lot (though I'm not crazy about their other food, for the most part). I also like the corned beef at Barry's Village Deli in Waban. Rubin's is pretty good, but I think I prefer Zaftigs for corned beef.

                2 Replies
                1. re: hiddenboston

                  My last few sandwiches at Zaftigs have been somewhat disappointing. I find the meat to be too bland.

                  My strong preference is Michael's. (Unless I can somehow get Zingerman's!)

                  1. re: heathermb

                    Gotta agree. My sandwich experiences at Zaftig's have been not-so-hot (including one sandwich that had an inordinate amount of inedible gristle in it). For the prices they charge, plus the wait, it's not worth it.

                2. The only two places that qualify as great for corned beef are Michael's and Arthur's Deli on Arlington Street in Chelsea, near the entrance to the Tobin Bridge and the produce barns. It's on a little side street right near the ramp. Arthur's makes their own, while Michael's is from NYC. Arthur's is clean and fresh tasting, while Michael's is saltier and has a slipperier mouth feel. Both make large sandwiches. If you go to Chelsea, you can also go to Katz's Bagels for the best bagels (and bagel dogs) in Boston.

                  I thank Eddie and Dan Andelman for the Arthur's recommendation.

                  1. Thanks to the wisdom above, I greenlined it Coolidge Corner and had a Michael's sandwich this week. It will make the wait until I get to NYC in April more tolerable! I grew up with frequent visits to family in the city and years in retail with lots of trips to the NYC HQ.

                    My friend enjoyed her Ruben but I feasted on corned beef on rye with just a smear of mustard. They even got the smear right.

                    This will be a regular stop when I'm in that area.

                    Thank you , Thank you. The hounds have pointed me to a good choice once again.

                    1. I still need to try Michael's. I was impressed by the corned beef at Barry's in Waban, but have heard that Michael's is at least as good.

                      I'll be in NYC for a few days later this week, so perhaps I'll just get about 10 pounds of corned beef from Zabars or the Carnegie and hold off on Michael's for a bit!

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: hiddenboston

                        No need, Michael's gets theirs flown in daily from NYC and it is fantastic! I've gone through two pounds so far this week (with a little help from my friends).

                        1. re: BobB

                          Excellent! Maybe I'll stock the cooler with 25 pounds of potato pancakes from Veselka, instead. :-)

                          Where does Michael's get their corned beef? Is it from the same wholesaler in NJ that Carnegie gets theirs from?

                          1. re: hiddenboston

                            I don't know, I just know it's great stuff.

                            1. re: hiddenboston

                              Mildly off-topic, but I wish Veselka would franchise, I'm jonesing for some of their borscht like nicotine.