2014-01-08 / Restaurant of the Week


Original Ben’s Best Kosher Delicatessen and Restaurant is going to celebrate its monumental 70th year in continuous operation and we all applaud Ben’s! In a city where restaurants come and go, like so many subway cars, it is a testament to the cultural and culinary institution that is Original Ben’s Best. Ben Parker began his humble operation in 1945 with recipes for cured meats and time honored traditional recipes from the Old World that continue to this day. In my opinion, this is the original “comfort food”.

Ben’s son and owner Jay Parker says, “When you want stability in an unstable world, we’re the place to go. We haven’t changed in 70 years.” Truer words were never spoken. Jay, who has been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, Dives on the Food Network, arrives early each day, curing the highest quality, Kosher corned beef and pastrami to make their famous sandwiches that I defy you to finish in one sitting. His recipe for the centuriesold stuffed cabbage was featured on the television show and the time-consuming recipe is made today exactly as it was back then. This is one of my personal favorite dishes here. There are no short cuts, no fillers, and everything is Kosher.

Original Ben’s pastrami is impossibly 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. For the rarest, most succulent roast beef, come to Original Ben’s and pile it onto soft rye bread with lots of grainy mustard. The flavor of their oven roasted whole turkey cannot be duplicated anywhere else. Best of all, these outrageously delicious cuts of meat can be made into hefty sandwiches, served on platters, or sliced by the pound to take home. Heros by the foot can be made and delivered for your next party too. Don’t forget Super Bowl Sunday is February 2 and this would be the best place to woo your football-loving fans. Forget about chips and salsa and order in a hero by the foot, or a complete deli platter with all the trimmings. They specialize in catering so fuggetaboudit and leave the cooking to Ben’s. Orders fly out the door and even go by FedEx overnight to expatriate New Yorkers who just can’t live without the best deli. The number of New York traditional delis is diminishing rapidly but Original Ben’s is not going anywhere!

Spread their legendary chopped chicken liver on some pumpernickel or rye wedges and enjoy. Their egg salad and tuna salad are great for sandwiches or party platters. Visit their Web site for the complete Catering Menu. Cure whatever is ailing you with a steaming bowl of matzo ball soup, packed with flavor and tender noodles, and a light, tender matzo ball. This soup is legendary and is neither fatty nor salty, just plain delicious. I devoured the complementary, crunchy cole slaw and pickles while a sampler plate of meats was prepared. Thin slices of corned beef, pastrami, brisket, tongue, roast beef and turkey provided a taste of the very best Ben’s has been making for decades. Order a celebrity sandwich such as the “Gary Ackerman special”, an open-faced corned beef sandwich with sliced turkey breast, Bermuda onion and Russian dressing. The Newsday special combines salami, tongue, corned beef and cole slaw on fresh rye bread.

The hot entrées at Original Ben’s convey the flavors of another century. Hungarian goulash. Tender beef is slow-cooked for hours with carrots and seasonings in a hearty sauce. This is a dish that sticks to your ribs and your memory. Old fashioned boiled beef flanken in the pot is another traditional dish, served with chicken soup, carrots, matzo ball and kreplach. Chicken in a pot is the perfect winter meal with vegetables, noodles and kreplach , a Yiddish word meaning a dumpling filled with meat or mashed potatoes. Rib steak, Roumanian steak or even classic batter-dipped, fried chicken all make great winter meals.

The Great Early Bird Dinner is an economical way to enjoy some of the house favorites served as a complete, hearty meal. Served Monday through Friday (excluding holidays) until 6pm, the complete dinner includes a cup of chicken noodle or mushroom barley soup, your choice of entrée, one side dish, dessert and a beverage. Choose among stuffed cabbage, braised brisket of beef or Hungarian goulash, side dishes such as kasha varnishkes or vegetables, and a slice of their fabulous apple strudel all for just $19.95.

Stop in anytime at the front counter for a juicy Kosher hot dog, made with the finest ingredients, or handmade potato knishes, both square and round, some made with spinach or kasha. Side dishes such as the pearl barley and mushrooms, kasha varnishkes with bowtie pasta and noodle kugel bring back memories of my youth in Brooklyn. Take home a whole roasted chicken with side dishes for your next family meal.

Let the experts at Original Ben’s cater your Super Bowl party, office, temple, Shabbat, or family occasion. They’re open seven days a week and couldn’t be easier to reach with the R or M train to 63rd Drive and you’ll see Original Ben’s right there. For some stability in this unstable world, allow yourself to be comforted with the time honored traditional cuisine of Original Ben’s Best Delicatessen and Restaurant.

96-40 Queens Blvd., Rego Park
718-897-1700  1-800-BENSBEST

www.BENSBEST.com  Visit them on FaceBook

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