2007-10-24 / Restaurant of the Week

Original Ben's Best Celebrates 60 Years

T here can be only one original for the finest in traditional Jewish kosher delicatessen meats, sandwiches, soups, salads and entrées. Original Ben's Best Gourmet Delicatessen, Restaurant and Caterers is the original and is proud to celebrate its 60th year in business on Queens Blvd. in Rego Park. This gastronomical and cultural institution was opened in 1947 by Ben Parker. Today, son Jay Parker continues the tradition his father started, by hand-curing the finest cuts of corned beef, pastrami, brisket and tongue that make Original Ben's Best legendary. Whether you eat in the clean, comfortable dining room, place an order for delivery, or cater an event for hundreds, Original Ben's will satisfy your craving for the best in Kosher Deli cuisine.

The wait staff is friendly and efficient, bringing over complimentary plates of homemade, crunchy cole slaw, two kinds of pickles and a health salad made with cabbage, cucumbers, carrots, oil, vinegar and spices. We started with matzoh ball soup with noodles, served in an oversized mug emblazoned with "Jewish Penicillin". On the first cold night of the year, this really hit the spot. These mugs, as well as vintage style neck ties, are available for sale and make great gifts, especially for transplanted New Yorkers.

Forget about "smoothies and wraps". I'm talking about pastrami, corned beef and brisket that are virtually free of visible fat and melt in your mouth. Piled impossibly high atop rye bread or sliced to take home, you owe it to yourself to enjoy a meal with friends and family. All these delectable deli meats are available by the pound to take home as well. Parker has been known to "overnight" pounds of meat to fans far away from New York. They carve whole, roasted turkey right in front of you to prepare your favorite sandwich, then you can wash it down with a bottle of cream soda or celery soda for the ultimate deli experience. The cooks start early in the morning, preparing soups, sauces and meats using centuries-old recipes from the Old World.

Original Ben's Best offers complete sit-down dinners as well. With the cold weather upon us, a comforting meal such as the boiled chicken in a pot will warm your soul, chock full of chicken, noodles, matzoh balls and kreplach, a kind of dumpling ($15.95). Boiled beef flanken in a pot is prepared similarly and is one of my favorites ($18.75). You'll love the stuffed cabbage, rolled and stuffed with rice and beef in a tangy sauce. Also exceptional is the Hungarian goulash, with tender chunks of beef, peas, carrots and delicate gravy served on a bed of noodles ($15.00). Tender Roumanian steak, smothered in sweet onions and rib eye steaks are all delicious, served with hand cut french fries. Wednesday night specials include home style meat loaf and savory stuffed peppers, served with a choice of potatoes and vegetables. There's even a kid's menu from $5.95, with Ben's famous hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken nuggets that the kids love.

Make your Thanksgiving reservations now and have the entire meal delivered to your door, fresh and hot. Original Ben's hot, juicy, kosher turkey is roasted to perfection and sliced, served with side dishes of your choice such as mashed potatoes, vegetables stuffed derma, kasha varnishkes and sweet noodle kugel.

Original Ben's Best is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner or just a knish or hot

dog snack anytime. Hot open-faced sandwiches are layered with slices of the best roast beef I've eaten in awhile, cooked to rare perfection and smothered in gravy, served with French fries and cole slaw. Sliced steak and brisket make great hot open-faced sandwiches as well. Save room for dessert where you can try their homemade apple streudel, ruggelach, noodle pudding or 7-layer cake.

Watch for their advertisement heralding the official celebration of their 60th year in business. Jay Parker a loveable soul, active in his community and the world at large. His "wall of fame" reflects the many personalities who have eaten at his establishment, including politicians, celebrities and even Pope John Paul, whom Parker met with in Rome a few years ago. Channel 2 News team members are regulars here as well.

Visit Original Ben's Best Gourmet Delicatessen anytime for lunch, dinner or a snack. They're open from a.m. till 9:45 p.m. Fax in your lunch orders in the morning for afternoon delivery. Celebrating 60 years of tradition and a New York institution is Original Ben's Best. Come see for yourself why everyone agrees, it's the best of the best. Fax: (718) 997-6503 • Visit their website at www.bensbest.com

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