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Harold's New York Deli

The Deli from Helli. If you like huge portions, beautifully presented, this is the place for you. If you think you know what jewish deli is supposed to taste like, don't go. I drove 40 miles to meet a friend who drove 60 miles to be there. A great photo op of me and a 12 inch high sandwich but; pastrami with a smokey flavor? The brisket was dry! The latke is a doormat! Even the water had a chlorine smell! The fried kreplach would have been good if they hadn't poured the liquid onions all over it, making it a gooey mess within minutes. Sorry, guys, the Carnegie, Katz's, but not Harold's New York Deli.

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  1. did you eat at the one in Parsippany NJ? That one has changed ownership a few times and has been closed a couple of times due to cleanliness problems.

    1 Reply
    1. re: northNJfoodie

      Lyndhurst or Parsippany, they have both suffered over time from the early days.

      Classic case of quantity over quality. I would suggest only if you really need a fix of the deli meats you prefer. The only positive is they do not mind when you share your selections and the pain is only half as bad.

    2. I just had lunch at Harold's in Edison this past Saturday and had a terrific pastrami sandwich. I can't imagine we are talking about the same place.

      7 Replies
      1. re: albinoni

        I agree with albinoni - Portion size aside, the food at Harold's in Edison is very good.

        1. re: albinoni

          I have always been pleased with the quality of the meats (and pickle bar) at Edison, but I didn't think that Edison was connected to the others anymore.

          1. re: dkupersmith

            It would be interesting to know how the various Harold's relate to one another (or not). Years ago, there was a Harold's Deli near the Quakerbridge Mall (Mercer County?). I don't know what happened to it. Perhaps it morphed into one of the ones that still exist.

            1. re: ambrose

              I remember that place! I was just a kid though, so I don't remember much about it. I'm still trying to figure out what building it was actually in on the Mercer Mall complex. I just can't place it. I remember thinking the turkey was dry but tasty and that the sandwiches were as big as my head. I don't know how good of a deli it was though...

              1. re: Heatherb

                The building was right on Rt 1 and was torn down about 2 years ago.

            2. re: dkupersmith

              bgut1 and dkupersmith,

              My comments are specific to the Parsippany and Lyndhurst locations only. I have never been to the Edison spot and I do not know if they are affiliated by ownership or in name only.

              I will say on the <nj.com> food forums, there are a few posts recommending Harold's in Edison and their cheesecakes.

              1. re: fourunder

                Thanks for the clarification fourunder. It is my understanding that "Harold" only owns and operates the Edison location.

          2. I only go for the take out Dr. Browns. (goes good with takeout from nearby Cinnamon (Parsippany))

            1. Agree with many of the other posts...stick with the one in Edison...have visited many times...left stuffed...with many of leftovers...haven't had a bad meal there....can't go wrong with a pickle bar.....

              1. Harold Jaffe owns and operates the Harolds Deli Edison location, and does very well....much better than the Parsippany location which has changed owners several times

                1 Reply
                1. re: LEOFONT

                  correct, and Harold has always been right behind the hostess stand every time I've been there (about 5 times in the last few years) , Edison location; it's part of the Holiday Inn in the Raritan Center business complex. Harold is unbelievably nice, so personable. He used to be one of the proprieters of the Carnegie deli in the 1980's

                  I was just there last week, had a great pastrami.
                  Love their pickle bar!! (great fresh rye bread, and great health salad, etc)

                2. I need to say I hate this place.

                  "oooh! they give you lots!"

                  If I go out to eat I don't want to pay for leftovers. It's a glorified 7-11 big gulp to me.

                  I don't mean to demean the quality of the food, it is very good to excellent. They just sucker everyone into paying for two meals. It's a carnivalistic carnivoristic base appeasment to gluttony IMO.

                  strikes a nerve in me

                  30 Replies
                  1. re: jrd303

                    jrd303 - While I clearly see your point and understand your disappointment, I recognize that the size of the potions are part of the schtick. If the quality of the food wasn't up to par I and others would clearly not accept it. Otherwise, I overlook the portion sizes and see it as the price of admission. Something I am more than willing to pay for such excellent food. Good Luck.

                    1. re: bgut1

                      And the bottom line is, you can always take home the leftovers!

                      1. re: Shayna Madel

                        Yup- what was a negative for jrd303 "If I go out to eat I don't want to pay for leftovers"- I *liked* buy a pastrami sandwich for lunch, taking home the leftovers, and when my wife came home she reacted with "Oooh, pastrami sandwiches for dinner!"

                        1. re: JessKidden

                          I agree. Portion size is what makes Harold's unique. It's certainly no crime to like leftovers. For anyone to say:
                          "It's a glorified 7-11 big gulp to me" and then to follow that with:
                          "the quality of the food, it is very good to excellent" is just weird and makes no sense.

                          1. re: Tay

                            I've never been to Harold's. But anyone who says their hefty portions are unique has, it would appear, never been to the Carnegie Deli, in NYC, where the sandwiches are gargantuan!! No way any normal person can wrap his or her mouth around one of those piled-mile-high babies, to say nothing of finishing one at one sitting. That said, in my view, the quality of the Carnegie's deli meats, especially the pastrami, is not particularly good.

                            1. re: RGR

                              RGR, you're absolutely correct that portions are gigantic at both delis. This is not a coincidence for the simple reason that Harold used to operate the Carnegie Deli some twenty years ago.

                              You really should go to Harold's - maybe stop in for a late night snack after dinner at Lorena's! LOL.

                              1. re: ambrose

                                I'd second ambrose's recc. Harold's is really like a 2nd Ave/Carnegie Deli..w/o the NYC attitude.and (in)famously brusque service. I don't know if their sandwiches are equal in size, but they are beyond huge.
                                We don't even get them any more: We just order a platter and build our own. Like so many places, it's a fun experience. maybe someday when you have the time and the inclination...
                                There is a picture on their site of one of their large combo sandwiches.

                                1. re: Tay

                                  LOL Cute, ambrose!

                                  As for trying Harold's, I'm not terribly inclined to travel for deli because I'm quite satisfied with Jesse & David's, which is a two-minute drive from our house. The sandwiches are not of Harold-size proportions, but the pastrami (my favorite), when ordered "extra fatty," is very good, and their crinkle-cut fries are terrific.

                                  1. re: RGR

                                    RGR - I've only tried J & D once but can honestly say I wasn't impressed. IMHO, Harold's is so much better. Now is the trip worth the distance? To me and my DW we think so and make a Harold's pilgrimage at least once a month.

                      2. re: bgut1

                        I apologize if anyone was offended by my comments. I can see how they were condescending to those who enjoy the experience at Harold's and point well taken about bringing home leftovers for someone else.

                        The big gulp comment was in regards to the use of 'perceived value' to influence people to spend more. To clarify, my dissapointment in Harold's came after ordering a hamburger. Sure it's silly to order a burger at a deli but I was curious to see what a 'Harold's' burger might be and I was starving! Hungry enough to eat a days worth of food in one sitting.. Surely the burger would be two pounds of seasoned, char grillled chuck on a gigantic toasted and buttered kasier roll, piiled high with toppings, great mustard, and an assortment of pickles. The kind of burger that would make Paul Bunyan proud.

                        I was dissapointed to receive two limp, grey 1/4lb patties. with two uncut, untoasted buns and lettuce tomato, and pickles on the side. My experience was one of resentment for being charged $12. for two burgers when I would have been perfectly happy to spend $6 for one of the kind of burger they serve there (not an option).

                        To be fair to Harold's I should have simply criticized the burger in my original post instead of panning the whole experience and it was rude of me to dismiss others for enjoying themselves there..

                        1. re: jrd303

                          I think it's very sporting of you to have reposted and told us why you were so down on Harold's. I would not have been pleased with the hamburger that you described. Not everything is wonderful at haroldsI was displeased with the order of fries I received and sent it back. The onion rings were much better.
                          I really think sticking to the Deli meats is the way to go at Harold's.
                          I appreciate their great pickle/salad /bread/bar. I like the fact that they supply plenty of containers, foil wrapping, paper bags, etc.and that they encourage their patrons to take everything home. Last time I was there, our server brought large, h/d plastic containers to the table and reminded us to fill them up with pickles and health salad, so we would have plenty to go with our cold cuts. When we go there, we alwyas go with at least 4 people and purposely 'over order' so we will have some for the next day.It's more of an 'experience' than a great restaurant, but eating there is a fun thing to do. :-}

                          1. re: Tay

                            Tay - I'm surprised they told you to load up on the pickles from the bar. I recall Harold having a problem with people taking the pickles and bread home with them and I believe charges extra for those items.

                            1. re: bgut1

                              Perhaps it was the fact that we had ordered a large amount of food, including a whole bunch of appetizers, side items and a Deli meat platter that could easily have fed 10 people.Maybe once the bill reaches a certain amount, as a courtesy they encourage people to load up at the Pickle Bar. The Server also brought us a huge amount of bread still wrapped in it's packaging.

                              1. re: Tay

                                Wow Tay, you put me to shame. Harold's is like Costco to me. I can't get out of there without spending $150 and bringing two shopping bags worth of food home. That being said, I've never been given a full bag of bread to take home. Much respect to you. :) Okay who is up for a Harold's run - I'm jonesing a dried salami sandwich with a chocolate egg cream and a Dr Browns Black Cherry on the side!!!

                                1. re: bgut1

                                  Hey, b.,

                                  So, it now appears we can put Jesse & David's on the list of places we disagree about. lol

                                  The one thing that would really entice me to shlep to Harold's would be if they have knoblewurst on the menu. That's something J&D doesn't have. And I love following up a deli sandwich with a chocolate egg cream, something that can't be done at J&D because they're kosher. Btw, my Dr. Brown's would have to be a cream soda. :-)

                                  1. re: RGR

                                    Oh - can our friendship survive such divergence of opinions? :) No dice on Knoblewurst at Harold's. The only place I recall having it on the menu is Katz's as they make their own. Its still worth the trip to Harolds. As far as Dr Browns, I would have pegged you as a Cel-Ray not a Cream Soda ...... :)

                                    1. re: bgut1

                                      Too bad about Harold's not having knoblewurst. But I guess I'll have to go there anyway to see if our friendship is headed for the rocks! Hopefully, the pastrami will stack up well; otherwise, we may be in for some rough restaurant criticism waters. lol

                                      You're right about Katz's having knoblewurst. I've tried it and, while it's good, it's not quite as good as the knoblewurst at the Mill Basin Deli, in Brooklyn. When we go to Mill Basin, that's always the sandwich I order, and I never leave without taking home a nice hunk. Their pastrami, corned beef and tongue are not too shabby either, so I usually take some of those home as well. :-)

                                      Re: Dr. Brown's. I'm a cream soda gal all the way. It's Mr. R. who goes for the Cel-Ray.

                                  2. re: bgut1

                                    In all fairness I'm assuming it was half a pkge of bread, but it was pretty big :-}
                                    Yes, now I'm thinking about their addictive health salad and those outstanding egg creams, (large, of course!) . I wash mine down with a Dr Brown's Cream Soda chaser. Dealing with pre holiday Bridge traffic is the only thing keeping me from going. I've heard an old fashioned Deli has opened on SI. I've got to try it

                            2. re: jrd303

                              that hamburger sounds unacceptable to me, as well...
                              As much as I love their pastrami at Harolds, it's disenchanting to hear that their burger does not meet the same high standards. If you can't do it up properly, it's better if it's not even on the menu.

                              I can relate to the kind of burger you were EXPECTING. It's the same kind that I DID get at the renowned "Le Tub" saloon in Hollywood, FL...(often considered a "top 10" U.S. burger joint by magazines, etc.
                              I finally tried it a few weeks ago, while on vacation there

                              For $11.00 , I received a nicely charred, (and pink inside!) 13 ounce burger.
                              And with a great view of the intracoastal waterway, to boot!

                              1. re: ellen4441

                                Now THAT sounds as though it should be a Harold Burger!

                                1. re: Tay

                                  Here's the "Le Tub" burger in it's full glory.. I attached a pic!

                                  are you listening , Harold?!

                                  I agree with you, as I don't care for "gray" burgers either. No burger should be gray, IMO!

                                  should be BROWN, and nicely charred

                                  1. re: ellen4441

                                    We're going to Hollywood, FL in a couple of weeks - thanks for the tip!

                                    1. re: cranrob

                                      my pleasure, cranrob... it's right on Ocean Drive, the main drag..
                                      lots of "bathtubs" in front of it, lots of trees, etc.... and very kitschy atmosphere. .... just be careful if you sit at the picnic tables outside,
                                      as we got eaten alive by mosquitos!

                                      and very fair hours, open till 4 am

                                      1. re: ellen4441

                                        Le TUB in hollywood is so overated! losey if you ask me on a cost basis, Harolds is a great spot but bring a big doggie bag and a big wallet...but its worth it the sandwiches are huge...wolfies was the place in the Miami area i think its closed now

                                        1. re: Freeholdtwsp88

                                          I respect your opinion, freeholdtwsp88. To be honest, it's the kind of place I was real glad to go experience , just to see what all the hoopla was about... and you go once, and it holds you over for a long, long, time.

                                          p.s . Wolfie Cohens Rascal House in Sunny Isles, (north miami beach) area is hanging by a thread. They were all set to sell it to a developer for condos (a very sad reality when land gets too valuable),
                                          that deal must have got stalled or something, cause they are still open. (owned by the Jerry's Deli corp. now, with locations in CA and on Washington Blvd in south beach, miami beach) of course, not anywhere as good as when it was simply the Rascal House.

                                          You should be able to google more info on that Wolfie Cohens Rascal House situation. The doors were surprisingly still open when I checked last. (the one in Boca Raton closed up, supposedly it never measured up) .

                                        2. re: ellen4441

                                          Holy Cow (Literally!) Thatsa soma burger! :-}

                                          1. re: Tay

                                            It's almost TOO big! (if there is such a thing..) it really overshadows the condiments. A true steakburger!!
                                            I got a few more Le Tub pics to add, plus my Harold's Deli pastrami pic. Stay tuned...

                                            and happy holidays, all you fellow Chowhounders ! Let's all eat a little too much, and enjoy ourselves! (we'll just try and take a walk after to "burn it off")

                                            1. re: ellen4441

                                              I've been told there is no such thing as a too big burger :-} I'd just say, "Briing on the condiments!" Eating a little too much is never a problem . I'll worry (not) about it next year :-}
                                              Happy holidays to you as well.!

                                  2. re: jrd303

                                    No one goes to Harold's for a Hamburger, unless you are from out of town, not Jewish and staying at the hotel. It is like going to a Chinese Restaurant and ordering a hamburger. Look at their web site and you will see that they recommend three items, Corn Beef, Pastrami and their Cheesecake. Look at a review I did on my web site with lots of photos at:


                                    Frankly, I don't care for their Rumanian Steak, but that is my wife's thing. I love a good Corn Beef or Pastrami sandwhich (lean) and when we go to Harold's we will only go with 4 or more people because their regular sandwich will make 4 nice sized normal sandwiches. When we take our kids and there are 6 of us even better, we can order one Corn Beef and one Pastrami sandwich and still take food home.

                                    In the past they didn't mind you taking some of the items on the pickle bar home, but as is always the case, people abuse this and I am sure they had to put a stop to it. I have never had them tell me I couldn't take a few pickles home with my sandwich or even some salad.

                                    There is no all you can eat restaurant I know that allows you to take food home. Since the pickle bar is All-You-Can-Eat they limit it. By the way, unlike other restaurants, you can order one sandwich for 4 people, go up and get bread for the extra sandwiches and all the salad and pickles plus the little muffins. Hell, if you do the math, this place is one of the best values anywhere.

                                    We love Harold's and find that any poor reviews are from first timers that just don't know how it works. I will bet all those that go back a second time will have a better experience.

                              2. I visited the one in Edison. Definitely quantity over quality. My companion and I ordered a Reuben and we ate from it for 4 days. It was good but not worth schlepping 125 miles for!! The only thing that offends me is the waste.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: RichardCrystal

                                  There's virtually nothing worth traveling 125 miles for. The waste was not that there was leftover food--you ate it, though I suspect that it was not 8 full meals' worth (2 people over 4 days). The waste was the burning of gasoline driving 125 miles for a sandwich.

                                  1. re: Shayna Madel

                                    does anyone know what brand deli meat they serve.....is it boars head???

                                    1. re: agruel

                                      Boar's Head makes Jewish-style pastrami and corned beef? Even though Harold's is not kosher, I would seriously doubt their meats are Boar's Head. They may very well prepare their own corned beef and smoke their own pastrami. Items like salami might be Hebrew National. You could call Harold's and ask.