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Harold's New York Deli Restaurant In Edison

  • m

just saw them featured on Man vs Food and checked out their web site. can they compare with the best of Manhattan including the Carnegie, , 2d Ave, ,ben's, Sarges?? please rate as much as you can: sandwiches. soups. dinner specials.

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Harold's New York Deli
3050 Woodbridge Ave Ste B, Edison, NJ 08837

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  1. They are AWESOME. For me personally, Katz Deli was always the best. But I went to both last week to compare and Harold's is right there with em. You will not be disappointed.

    I usually get half corned beef and half pastrami. Comes with coleslaw, their deli mustard, and russian dressing. All deliscious. Ive had the toungue which is also really good. Roast beef is good. BLT is really good. everything is good. And if you eat there they have a pickle bar that is incredible.

    2 Replies
    1. re: cleverwon

      Definitely not in same class as the great delis. Harolds has quantity but not the same quality. Then again, there are no delis in New Jersey that could compare to the original 2nd Avenue deli (and most delis in New York don't either).
      However ,Harolds is a good place to go with a group if you want to pig-out. Harold is a very nice person and runs the restaurant very well.

      1. re: BigGeorge

        Totally agree with BigGeorge. Just went there for the first time. Never been to 2nd Ave deli, but Philly and Montreal delis or for that matter Mile End in Brooklyn are way better.

    2. Enormous, enormous quantities. Not the way I like to eat food. An orgy of everything, prices are adjusted accordingly, it's another 2 meals at home. Pancakes are the size of a pizza.

      Quality is medium. Certainly not in the same league of Katz or 2nd Ave in the city.

      But many folks like huge portions, so the place is popular. It's the hook, and clever of the proprietor.

      1. Not Katz's (but what is). On my last few visits over the past couple of years, the Pastrami has been melt-in-your mouth outstanding. Better than anything I've ever had at Ben's. Comparable to Sarge's (which can be hit or miss).

        2 Replies
        1. re: jsfein

          I'm with you jsfein - Harold's pastrami is the best I've found in NJ. I also like their matzah ball soup, potato pancakes, and most everything I've had there. True too that their portions and prices are huge. Still the place I want to go for deli in central jersey.

        2. I've been to the Edison location - is the Harold's in East Rutherford/Lyndhurst owned by the same person?
          When my husband and I ate there - I was able to make 2 reubens and a large amount of corned beef hash with the leftovers. Yes, I know the price is high, but three meals out of leftovers is good to me!

          2 Replies
          1. re: phDuh

            not sure if they are the same owner. there is also one in Parsipanny I believe too

            1. re: yogi70

              Harold used to own those other locations.
              His usual method of doing business is to take over a failing coffee shop in a motel, turn it into a deli featuring oversized portions, and then--once the business is booming--sell that location and open another one.

              When he opened the location on Rt 18 in East Brunswick a few years ago, I assumed that he was selling the Edison location. However, the one in East Brunswick failed to attract sufficient clientele, and is now...Hooters (?)...or something of that ilk.

              As far as I know, the Edison location is the only one that he currently owns.

          2. I dunno. If Harold's made normal sized portions at normal prices, I don't think he would have half the success he has. The draw is the eating competition sizes. It's the subject of the table conversation for half the meal.

            I think the now-closed Larry's of Plainfield and also Tabatchnicks were way above Harold's in quality... Also people on CH absolutely RAVE about a place down by Princeton (Gary's?) that sounds worlds above Harold's as well.

            1 Reply
            1. re: menton1

              Gary and Lenny's N.Y. Deli and Restaurant// 3331 US One// Lawrenceville NJ ten mins and 5 miles from Princeton. MY NEW YORK DELI.COM

            2. When people say the portions are huge, it's not like "oh, I'm hungry, I'll finish it"...one sandwich feeds me (normal eater) and my husband (big eater) plus leftovers.
              He nicely gives in and shares a turkey sandwich with me since I don't eat red meat, it's excellent quality. Plus their potato knish is excellent, with nicely browned sauteed onions in the mix.
              They know you are going to take leftovers, so don't be shy about taking extra pickles, bread, etc.

              4 Replies
              1. re: BeeZee

                $27.00 for a Great Pastrami sandwich, but well worth it......TIP: bring lots of friends ;-)

                1. re: Tapas52

                  I know its not "authentic deli" but we really enjoy the hot open face turkey. Several pounds of turkey lol. along with gravy, cranberry sauce, a side, and of course all the rye bread you can eat. We've considered ordering one for Thanksgiving last year.

                  Oh, and their cheeseburgers are sort of ridiculous in presentation. It's two giant burgers12 oz's, with one on each side of the roll, and they give you an extra roll in case you dont finish it !

                  With the giant-ness out of the way, they actually are really good "diner burgers" can easily put down most of the diner's in the area.

                  1. re: coldsolderjoint

                    "Several pounds of turkey lol."

                    What is turkey lol?

                2. re: BeeZee

                  I bought an order of matzo ball soup and a pastrami sandwich to go last Monday. The soup came in a bucket; the sandwich was accompanied by approx. half a loaf of extra rye bread. Each has made at least 4 substantial meal-sized portions for me since, and there's still quite a bit of both in my fridge.

                  So, yeah, leftovers and sharing are assumed. (That's the only thing that justifies the prices!)

                3. The pastrami at Harold's is some of the best in Jersey, and is well worth the trip. The only other deli that has even come close for me is Hobby's in Newark. Deli is so subjective - it all depends on your taste. For me, the pastrami at Katz's was way cut really thick (don't know if you can ask for it to be cut thinner) and was so fatty it was almost inedible. Also, the last thing I want to think about when I walk into the restaurant for the first time is how to order and what to do with the tickets they hand you at the door. Harold's is a much less stressful experience -- and the pickle bar is to die for!

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: benn2009

                    Pastrami is meant to be a fatty experience. Katz is the rare place that hand slices, actually provides a different texture to the meat than machine sliced.

                    I met some family at Harold's a few months ago, and I was not impressed. The huge portions are what people talk about, and is definitely why they go there. It's not a bargain, either, the food is priced accordingly. The food is ok, but I think from the sound of the recs were I nearby I would definitely prefer Gary & Lenny's. I used to love Larry's in Plainfield. Otherwise, it's a trip across the Holland or Lincoln Tunnel. I've done my Harold's experience, once was enough.

                    1. re: menton1

                      i didn't mean to imply i only like my pastrami lean -- quite the opposite, in fact. but as i said everybody's got their own preferences for their meat, and my sandwich at Katz's was essentially just filled with fat, not pastrami. maybe they were having an off day, but i've never had a bad experience at harold's -- except when i ordered it lean!

                      1. re: benn2009

                        I always order my pastrami extra moist, extra fatty. I haven't been to Harold's for a few years. We usually go to Jerry & Harvey's in Marlboro.

                        1. re: MarlboroMan

                          Haven't been to Jerry & Harvey's in ages. I never thought the food was anything better than mediocre. But if you're saying the pastrami is now fatty, juicy and delicious, I may consider giving it a try.

                          http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                  2. Harold's is the best in NJ. period. He used to work at the Carnegie Deli so he knows from pastrami. A great place to go in a group and just share a few things they way they recommend. Or, get your own sandwich and have leftovers for 2 more days.

                    The original Second Avenue Deli will always be #1 in my heart (and stomach) though. I lived only 3 blocks from there for 10 years so I was ALWAYS in there.

                    -----
                    Carnegie Deli
                    214 Carnegie Ctr, Princeton, NJ 08540

                    Avenue Deli
                    1272 Springfield Ave, New Providence, NJ 07974

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Nursemegg

                      What other Jewish or Jewish-style delis have you tried in NJ?

                    2. GOODMANS DELI in Berkely
                      Heights has a pastrami that is just plain great....I have been a jewish deli maven over 50 years, and their pastrami is actually melt in the mouth good, the corned beef is equally delicious

                      1. Harold's is good but not great. Yes huge portions but so what ... I was born and raised in NY and the BEST that Harold's gets for their food would be 3.5 or 4 out of 5. Their pickle bar is quite good.

                        The better delis in NJ are much closer to NYC. Hobby's in Newark, etc. There is also a good one in Tarrytown, in a small plaza right off Rt 9 and the 1st exit past the Tappan Zee bridge.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: jkling17

                          Tarrytown? No Jewish-style deli anywhere in Tarrytown that I've ever seen. Maybe White Plains, but that's a good 10 miles away from T-Town... And of course, there are a couple of good ones in the Bronx.

                          1. re: menton1

                            I never said they were Jewish-style :-) Think of it as a good Italian deli with EXCELLENT corned beef and pastrami. I google'd - they are the Tarrytown Delicatessen at 350 South Broadway. It's that first plaza right there - you really can't miss it.

                            When I was young, the Rye Ridge Deli in Rye Brook had amazing corned beef but I haven't been there in at least 20 years so I can't speak to it today.

                            1. re: jkling17

                              Most regular delis microwave pastrami-- but the only way for it to really have great authentic taste is heating on a steam chest. Also, it's usually a Boar's Head or a Thumanns-- with no fat at all on the meat, which is not the way pastrami is meant to be--

                              If you're in Westchester, this is the place to go for pastrami:

                              http://www.epsteinsdeli.com/

                              Otherwise, it's Liebman's or Loeser's in the Bronx...

                              1. re: menton1

                                It's not Boar's Head etc - they make their own corned beef and pastrami. Both are really good. If you happen to be in the area, ask them for a sample piece of each - they'll happily oblige you. I'm not saying it's the best but it is very good.

                                Tx for the heads-up on epstein - if I ever make it out there I'll be sure to try them out!

                        2. Been to Harold's...once for breakfast and again for dinner. The food was certainly good, but not particularly special. The pastrami & corned beef are passable, but it's the self parodying portions are the main draw at Harold's...certainly not the food. There still are a precious few other NJ delis left in NJ, most of whom do it much better (especially Irving's, in Livingston).

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: The Professor

                            Was at Irving's yesterday- Pastrami and Corned beef had no flavor- place was almost "unclean"...fries were served cold, and the service at lunch spotty at best.....wouldn't ever go back....Not even close to Harolds....and in the same world as NYC major delis.

                          2. Have eaten at Irvings many times. The food and service have gone way down. In a word...TERRIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: cuddles115

                              that's sad news...I haven't been to Irvings in a few months since it's not very close to where I live. All I know is that in the past, it was excellent and the food was definitely MILES above what Harold's serves, at a decent price, and without the stupidly large portions that Harolds insists on hawking.

                              I'll have to make the trip to Livingston soon to check out the current state of affairs at Irving's.
                              I sure hope you're wrong.... :-(

                              1. re: The Professor

                                Yes, but it isn't stupid of Harold, it's smart. It's the reason for his success there. It's the main talking point for the place, not how great the pastrami is (Isn't).

                                1. re: menton1

                                  You're right about that...it's the gimmick that keeps him open, not the food.

                                  1. re: The Professor

                                    Yeah. I used to work in the Edison office area right there near Harolds. We were all in IT so we all made pretty good money and ate out nearly every day yet we rarely went to Harold's simply because it just wasn't that good. Ah well ...

                            2. How do you feel Livingston Bagel rates with the Likes of Harold's, Hobby's, Katz', and Carnegie? Oh, and we can throw Irvings and Eppes Essen into the mix. I enjoy Eppes Essen. I usually get the special - a cup of soup, a moderately sized sandwich and a can of soda for around $15.00. It is a manageable lunch without a ton of leftovers to bring home.
                              Oh, IMHO, I think Bragman's has the best pastrami of all the deli's mentioned above. Melt in your mouth delicious.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Applecheeks

                                Applecheeks.......the area by Bragmans is not safe,. not safe at all......I went a few years ago and it was eeirily quiet.......got my sandwiches and scooted out of their asap....last year 2 were shot within distance to Bragmans in daylight !!.....I would love to go there especially since you rated their pastrami,but very risky.....no ?

                                1. re: LEOFONT

                                  This is not technically New Jersey, but a few miles away in Rockland County, NY is a terrific Kosher Deli. New City Kosher in New City, NY is a Hebrew National Deli. The corned beef and pastrami are delicious. The sandwiches are large, but not huge. I usually take half the meat off and take it home for a sandwich the next day, but my husband and 18 year-old son can finish theirs. Delicious home-made knishes, matza ball soup, stuffed cabbage. The hot dogs and the Specials are still good. The only thing is, being Kosher, you cannot get cheese or bacon, so no reubens or club sandwiches. But really, very high-quality stuff, just like in the olden days.

                              2. My husband and I happened to be in Edison overnight on Saturday and found ourselves at Harold's this morning in search of bagels and lox for breakfast. It was something of a surprise to learn we couldn't just order a bagel with lox and cream cheese -- we had to order the Nova lox "sandwich" on a bagel, which came with two extra bagels -- and cost $30! Granted, it was a HUGE platter -- easily enough to feed four people (just ask for yet another bagel). If there was a disappointment, it was that the bagels were not real New York bagels. Oh, they were fairly good, but they lacked that crunchy crust and deliciously chewy inside of the real thing.

                                This was our first time at Harold's, and I have to say I have NEVER seen such huge portions of food served anywhere. The omelets we observed at a nearby table must have been made with at least a half-dozen eggs. The French toast platter looked big enough to feed a small family. But most impressive was the corned beef sandwich that was served to someone at a nearby table. I was amused to see what must have been at least a pound of meat between those two slices of rye bread. I think it's great if you have 2, 3 or four people to share a sandwich like that (the sliced rye bread at the pickle bar made perfect sense after I saw the sandwich), but what if one person comes in alone, and simply wants a one-person sandwich? Or maybe people don't dine there alone.

                                Anyway, all the food I saw being served looked really good -- just super-duper sized, with prices to match.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: CindyJ

                                  LOL!
                                  I live in the area and Harold's is regarded as something of a joke around here. The food is not particularly memorable, except for those cartoonish portion sizes.
                                  And I agree that their bagels are pretty sucky.
                                  What troubles me most is the amount of food that probably gets thrown away every day there, when people opt not to take home leftovers for whatever reason.

                                  1. re: The Professor

                                    We were there for St. Patrick's Day. Everyone got corned beef. I was odd man out.. I wanted pastrami. It came just the way I asked for it.. extra moist, extra fatty, no bread. I got about 4-5 meals out of that miniature mountain of meat. It was also the best pastrami I've ever had. Keep in mind, of course, I haven't been eating pastrami for that long, and my only other pastrami experiences have been around Monmouth county, NJ. :)

                                    We almost got a slice of cake for dessert... but for $15.00, decided to pass, plus we were all too full.

                                    I did get an excellent chocolate egg cream (quart size!) for $5 and change, thought that was pretty fair compared to what you'd get at other places.

                                    1. re: MarlboroMan

                                      We find ourselves in Harold's once or twice a year. It is a go-to place when we have friends or family from out of town who come to visit--they are never less than overwhelmed by the experience, and is definitely something for them to remember.

                                      I know that the food has received some less than favorable comments on this board. As a former New Yorker who has been to most of the landmark delis in the City, but whose favorite was the Second Avenue, I must say that the quality of the cured meats at Harold's is as good or better than what I've had at those places. The fact that Harold's is a 20 minute drive from my house and there is parking right by the door means never having to schlep into Manhattan for a deli fix, and is one of the perks of living in central New Jersey.

                                      1. re: albinoni

                                        One of the things I really liked was the pickle bar. I tried some of their "health salad" and it was as good as my own homemade. It was just a little too early in the day for me for the pickles and sauerkraut, but I'd go back to try the pastrami next time I'm in the area.

                                        1. re: albinoni

                                          Glad you like it, and don't get me wrong...I tip my hat to Harold's success.
                                          It's not a 'destination' kind of place for me but I do also find myself there with friends once every year or two or three and always manage to enjoy the meal despite the serving size gimmick. The food in general is not terrible and the cured specialty meats are passable (and probably the best value). I've had worse and I've had better.
                                          Really, I can't begrudge the man's success since he's certainly stumbled on a good gimmick... and his gimmick is guaranteed to fatten up the dinner check every time a table turns over ;-)

                                  2. I stopped going to Harolds, and other deli's since I tasted the corned beef and pastrami at Goodmans in Berkeley Heights,.... since the new owner took over he has improved the menu
                                    considerably and it shows with the increased business

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: LEOFONT

                                      Funny.. I grew up and lived in that area (Berkeley Heights) for the first 30 or so years of my life.. haven't been back there since my mom passed away 5 years ago.. but maybe one of these days.. maybe I'll go up for the Mt. Carmel fireworks.. and I'll be sure to try Goodman's!

                                    2. Don't care what anyone says...

                                      Carnegie, 2nd Ave deli's are the king's

                                      Harold's is less than a commoner

                                      huge quantities of very poor quality product

                                      9 Replies
                                      1. re: eatinman

                                        I totally agree with that assessment.

                                        1. re: eatinman

                                          I don't think it's fair to compare NYC delis with those that are anywhere else. NYC rules as far as deli goes. Places like Harold's might not offer the quality of a Katz's or Carnegie, but it's good to have a place like that nearby if you're craving NY-style deli and don't want to cross the river to get it.

                                          1. re: CindyJ

                                            Why not fair? NY is not another country. Whatever the delis in NYC do to have superior pastrami could be done in NJ. Harold's is certainly not doing it.

                                            1. re: lemarais

                                              It's not fair to compare because it's not like you're going to choose between them. If you're in NYC and craving deli, you're not likely to ask yourself, "Should I go to Katz's or should I trek through the tunnel and drive down the NJ Turnpike (or however you'd get there) and go to Harold's?" And conversely, if you're in the vicinity of Edison, it's not like Katz's is just around the corner and you can choose between Harold's and Katz's for your neighborhood deli fix.

                                              NY is not another country, but highway and tunnel tolls, parking fees and time might well stop you from crossing the river.

                                            2. re: CindyJ

                                              CindyJ -- I understand your point. To me, if you look at the "classic" NY deli's -- in my opinion, Katz's, Carnegie, and back in the day, the Stage deli -- there is nothing in NJ that can compare in my opinion. It's just that simple. There are some very good places in NJ, and I've been to many in order to find the limited few "very good" ones (again, in my opinion) -- but they are not on par with the classic NY deli's. For the most part, not even close.

                                              As far as Harold's -- it's popular, it has it's following. Been around a long time. I know many people who "like" the food, very much; but I know just as many people who like the novelty of the portion-size. What's the difference? To what end? It doesn't matter. If you like it, you go and enjoy it. If I lived in Edison, I'd go, perhaps regularly -- and without question, I agree with you, it's good (very good perhaps) to have a place like that nearby.

                                              I've spoke with many deli owners about "why" no one in NJ offers what the NY deli's offer, and the discussions are long and multi-faceted. It's not like they have to import expensive items from a far off land, LOL. But there are reasons "why" -- and that's not really the issue. Does it mean that it can't be done in NJ? Absolutely not. But why is it that someone hasn't opened up a -- real, authentic, true -- NY-style deli and offers what Katz's or Carnegie offers? Thought provoking huh? LOL. Rhetorical question. Thanks again CindyJ.

                                              1. re: ELA

                                                The answer is very easy-- bottom line. It's expensive to make good pastrami, and they can neither do the volume nor charge the appropriate price necessary to sustain in NJ. While folks on CH rave about these delis, there are not enough of us to keep an exceptional Jewish deli going if they used superior techniques and ingredients. They are basically anachronistic.

                                                Harold's is a gimmick, it's just like the Newark Ironbound ilk, give gluttonous Americans enormous quantities of mediocre food, and they will come.

                                                1. re: lemarais

                                                  Irving's opened in Livingston a few years back to lots of hoopla. They modeled themselves after Katz's. They hand sliced their pastrami, got the chief cutter from Katz's to teach the countermen how to slice meat and even used tickets ala Katz. Their meat and service were first class. After a while , however, they started to cut corners and even cut down the size of their sandwiches. Their customer base dwindled down to near nothing. Their mistake......opening in NJ where everyone compares a deli to New York. A tough act to follow.

                                                  1. re: cuddles115

                                                    Very true. When they first opened, I enjoyed it a lot. It was very good and very popular. While I am not aware of the economics and the specifics of this place -- from an outsider's point of view, apparently they were not popular enough. LOL. The "cutting corners" was for a reason(s).

                                                    And, that was the beginning of the end -- at least the end of them being a real "go to" destination and "premier" deli. I know people who went there from Bergen County -- when they first opened! They seem to be a "shadow" of their former self.

                                            3. re: eatinman

                                              Harold's opened in East Brunswick several years ago and quickly closed. Hooters opened in the space and was the beneficiary of the renovations Harold's did. They even left the Pickle Bar sign intact.

                                            4. Harold's is a ridiculous gimmick. Giant portions for giant prices--- no bargain. Mediocre quality. I suppose some like to gorge themselves.

                                              Head for Pastrami Queen, 78th and Lex for uptown, or of course Katz downtown.