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A Good Jewish Deli for Returning Native

I was born and was bred (bread?) on kosher-style delis in the boroughs. I'll be visiting for the first time in a couple of years, and since then the Second Ave. Deli has closed. Carnegie seems too touristy and kitschy. I know that Katz' is still around. But is there anywhere else worth exploring for the pastrami, kosher hot dogs and stuffed derma of my dreams?
(I figure that what goes on outside my cardiologist's office, stays outside my cardiologist's office).

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    1. I hear Ben's in Midtown is the "new" go to place. Katz's just isn't up to par at this point I don't think.

      3 Replies
      1. re: rjm

        Ben's is an overpriced tourist trap, and third rate food. Katz's pastrami is unchanged - still the best.

        1. re: gutsofsteel

          Don't know about the Manhattan Ben's' prices, as I am an Island/Queens person and don't see the magic in going into Manhattan for something good I can have nearer to home. That said, I have eaten at various Ben's locations in Queens and on Long Island over the years (Greenvale, Bayside, Carle Place and Woodbury, particularly the first two many times) and they may not be cheap (nothing Kosher is) but the food is very good, so I am surprised that the food at the Manhattan locale would be much different. The potato salad and cole slaw are not the same industrial stuff they throw on the table at most deli's and they have some great other sides to supplement the traditional stuff. I never went to the Carnagie until a cousin from out of town recently wanted to go there and it is "touristy and kitchy" bit the food is pretty good. My sister raved over the rugelah cheesecake--that's something you would not get at a Kosher place...

          1. re: Shayna Madel

            I have not been to Ben's in Manhattan but, several years ago would go to the one in Queens.. Was a big fan.. I could eat a bucket of the coleslaw..

      2. Katz's, of course, for superior pastrami. However, if you're willing to shlep to Brooklyn, everything at the kosher Mill Basin Deli is delicious!

        http://www.pastrami.net

        5 Replies
        1. re: RGR

          Cant compare Bens to Katz's. if you're stuck in midtown its convenient, but the best deli is still to be had at katz's.

          and btw wasnt there talk of 2nd ave deli reopening on east 33rd st near 3rd ave sometime this summer? anyword on this?

          1. re: ricky7

            That info about the 2nd Ave. Deli re-opening on 33rd St., b/t 3rd & Lex, is correct. We've passed by that location several times, and renovations are underway. They don't seem to be far enough along for a summer opening. Some time in the fall seems more likely.

            1. re: RGR

              That's great news! I was heartbroken when 2nd Ave Deli closed. (And infuriated when a Chase Bank opened in the space.) Thanks for the info. I work in the nabe, so I'll stop by and check out the progress.

              It would be great if they could pry the plaques up from the sidewalk outside their old location and somehow install them at the new location. But something tells me Chase owns them now.

              1. re: RGR

                SHUT UP!!!! Oh wow that is soooo awesome! That makes me sooo happy! I'm coming to NYC in a week but I'm sure they won't be open then. But maybe the next time around. I'm dreaming about their chopped liver sandwiches already. Mmmmmmm!

                1. re: Elyssa

                  If you like chopped liver, you have to stop at Russ and Daughters and buy a container to go. Its heavenly!

          2. Katz's is the way to go!

            1. No one has mentioned Sarge's yet, so I will.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Fydeaux

                I love Sarge's. They've always had amazing pastrami sandwiches, chopped liver, sweet noodle pudding (the best!). I've recently moved out of the neighborhood, but will definitely be making my visits back to Murray Hill for Sarge's.

                1. re: Fydeaux

                  I have never been to Sarge's before midnight.. Place delivers up and down the East Side and had ended many a drunken night in my early 20's.. I am glad to hear it is still doing well, havent thought about that place in some time..