If there is one thing we do not have in France, it is Delicatessen or Deli. Each time I have family or friends visiting, I strongly suggest them to go to a deli and try a sandwich. But not a regular salami or turkey: rather pastrami or corned beef. In fact, the way I knew corned beef when I was a kid was totally different: my mom used to buy these cans that contained some fatty ground meat that in France we call corned beef. She was adding it to a tomato salad. It was delicious, but I am wondering if it was really made of corned beef! Well, sometimes it is better not knowing what you eat...
So, my friend Benny and I decided to go to Stage Deli, a deli that has been opened for more than 70 years. I guess we could say that they compete with the usual suspects: Katz, Junior's, 2nd Avenue Deli or Carnegie Deli, not far away.
This always gives a certain charm and authenticity to the place.
Of course, at the entrance, there is the usual cake display:
To be honest, none of these cakes look appetizing...
The menu has the traditional deli items like matzoh ball soup, knishes or chopped liver. It also has some sandwiches with Celebrities names such as the Adam Sandler, Kathy Couric or Aretha Franklin. It all started in 1937 when the founder of the deli, Max Asnas, invited his famous patrons to the carving board to create their own sandwiches.
We decided with Benny to share an appetizer and a sandwich as, based on the prices, most of the sandwiches were big....
It was served with pickles, a sliced onion and some rye bread. I really enjoyed it! The chopped liver was dense and very tasty and the bread delicious.
We then went for the pastrami and corned beef reuben!
It was huge! So huge that they made it open face. They were nice enough to allow us to have two types of meat in it, the pastrami in the bottom and the corned beef on top.
The way they do it is put the bread in the bottom, then the meat, then some sauerkraut for some crunch and then some swiss cheese. For sure, they were generous with the portions! There is no way a single person can eat this alone (don't challenge me!)! Unfortunately, it was just ok for me: the corned beef was good, but the pastrami was not as fatty and tasty as it should. Also, I prefer a regular sandwich as it allows you to have all the flavors at once: bread, meat, sauerkraut and cheese. This was definitely not a reuben I would dream about; not like Junior's or Friedman's lunch in Chelsea Market!
So it was an ok lunch finally and I was not wowed by the food. Instead of going to Stage Deli, I would rather go to Junior's or Carnegie Deli close by.
The last thing I would add about this place is that you also get the experience of the rude service! Similar to Katz. Except that I do not think it adds any charm to the whole experience!!!
Update: This post has been prepared few weeks ago and I just learnt today that Stage Deli closed due to a rent increase! So sad to see businesses opened for that long face such issues with rent!