BEN’S BEST KOSHER GOURMET DELI & RESTAURANT
Establishing itself yet again as the premier NY Kosher Deli, Original Ben’s Best Kosher Delicatessen was recently featured on the Food Network’s top rated show: “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives”. When the program’s host, Guy Fieri, rolled up to Ben’s in Rego Park in his red convertible hot rod, Ben’s Best owner Jay Parker was there to meet him and show him how he creates his family’s special recipes for kreplach, brisket, and stuffed cabbage, just as his father had done some 64 years ago. I want to state right up front that while this cuisine is ‘ribsticking’ good, it is never greasy, salty or heavy, thanks to high quality ingredients, grandma Parker’s recipes, and fresh, in-house preparation.
According to Parker, there are only 16 Kosher Delis remaining in NYC out of the 2,000 that were once all over the city. Well, for New Yawkers like me, as well as dozens of politicians, celebrities and new arrivals to the Big Apple, Original Ben’s Best Kosher Deli on Queens Boulevard in Rego Park is the place to go. “I’m only as good as my last sandwich,” says Parker, and indeed the sandwiches here are to die for.
Original Ben’s pastrami is incredibly lean and seasoned to perfection. Brisket of beef is slow cooked until the meat is so tender, it melts in your mouth. Beef tongue on rye with mustard doesn’t get better than this and the roast beef is rare and succulent, best enjoyed with a cream soda or cold beer. Whole turkeys are roasted each day to make delicious sandwiches and platters with all the trimmings. Pile these meats onto fresh rye bread, or take them home sliced by the pound with bread on the side. Heros by the foot can be made and delivered for your next party too. Ben’s specializes in catering “gawgeous” platters to your home, office or synagogue. Orders fly out the door and even fly Express Mail overnight to expatriate New Yorkers who just can’t live without Ben’s.
You’ll be glued to the screen as you watch Parker lovingly prepare kreplach from scratch with fresh kosher ingredients. A kreplach is sort of a Jewish egg roll that can be fried till crunchy and served with sautéed onions and duck sauce, or boiled like a dumpling and put into delicious chicken soup. Start with a steaming bowl of matzo ball soup, packed with flavor, medicinal qualities, tender noodles, and a light, tender matzo ball. This soup is legendary and will cure whatever ails you.
On the video you’ll also see Parker prepare one of my favorite dishes: stuffed cabbage. Step-by-step you’ll see soft, tender cabbage leaves filled with delicately seasoned meat in tangy tomato sauce with sweet raisins using his grandmother’s recipe. The same is true of the Hungarian goulash. Tender beef is slow-cooked for hours with carrots and seasonings in hearty gravy. Old fashioned boiled beef flanken in the pot is another traditional dish, served with chicken soup, carrots, matzo ball and kreplach. For the brave or insane, try to compete in “Ben’s Big Challenge” where anyone who consumes the Challenge menu wins prizes and a place on the Wall of Fame. The Challenge menu includes a one-pound sandwich, one bowl of chicken noodle soup with a matzoh ball, an order of sweet potato and Idaho French fries and cole slaw!
My friend and I had to have a knish, just for the heck of it and gosh, was it delicious, smeared with lots of spicy mustard. These are great at lunchtime or anytime, along with a juicy Kosher hot dog. The chopped chicken liver is irresistible too and makes a great sandwich or side dish, as does the kasha varnishkes, noodle kugel and stuffed derma. Original Ben’s Best has been rated by Zagat’s NYC Food Lovers’ Guide with a generous “25” rating. Come see what all the hoopla is about by visiting Original Ben’s, open seven days a week. For subway riders, take the R or V to 63rd Drive and Original Ben’s is right there. Follow Ben’s on Facebook and Twitter and I urge you to watch the episode of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives on “You Tube”. It will make your mouth water for the very best at Ben’s. L’chaim….to life!
Original Ben’s Best
96-40 Queens Blvd., Rego Park