May 022008

New York Deli has closed. Read this nice remembrance at Save The Deli

It was with much joy and anticipation that I sauntered into this venerable KC establishment that bills itself as “home of the awesome reuben.” The Reuben is totally Prince Among sandwiches in my book. I am hard pressed to think of another sandwich that brings me as much joy. That being said, a good one is hard to find. I like Harry’s Country Club and especially the Peanut for a good local reuben. But I have been driving by New York Deli and heard good things about it, so I would go there regardless of reuben availability.

Though no longer owned by the original family, NY Deli has been open for 103 years! It has been at 71st and Troost for about 60 of those years, a really remarkable achievement when you think about it. I read an article from a few years back that claims it is the oldest continuously operating restaurant in Kansas City. And it is a very interesting place, seemingly unencumbered by the pressure of serving classic NY deli fare in a neighborhood that has changed from a far-flung Jewish enclave into a widely diverse community whose future is very much up in the air. This is my way of saying that the stretch of Troost in the 60’s and 70’s blocks have almost been completely ruined physically. Aging strip malls, parking lots, cheap billboards–it’s basically Wornall road without a lot of successful businesses, unless you count Walgreens. Well there’s also Soil Service, my favorite lawn and garden store in the city.

Anyhow, let all this suffice to say that NY Deli is a weird vibe. While there I saw a group of business-looking guys purchase an entire salami (for $40+) and a priest eating a sandwich the size of his head. The only noise in the place comes from human voices and a bank of refrigerated deli cases.

This is a place for a serious sandwich, and a seriously good one at that. The corned beef is absolutely perfect–seasoned, warmed, and sliced to perfection. Every sandwich has meat sliced to order which is stupidly hard to come by these days. There are not a lot of frills here. If you want more than bread, meat, cheese and condiment, you may be out of luck.

They also have excellent kosher dill pickles (2 w/sandwich!) and a number of interesting items like cucumber salad, pasta salad, Kosher beef hot dogs, and chopped liver. Apparently the brisket is something special according to this annoyingly earnest youtube video.

But I have a quibble with NY Deli’s “Awesome Reuben.”

It is not grilled.

Sorry folks but unless it’s grilled it’s just a corned beef sandwich. Don’t believe me? Check out this reuben photo gallery and tell me if you see one that isn’t grilled. I can appreciate their effort to be unique but it should be called “Home of the Awesome Corned Beef Sandwich” and that’s that.

But what a sandwich. First of all it is a triple decker, and even a blowhard like me can’t get his big mouth around it (dirtiest sentence ever?). The swiss cheese is slightly aged, not the tame, pale ‘baby’ swiss hocked at price chopper and its ilk. The dressing is basically comprised of generous swaths of grainy deli mustard and mayonnaise. I had a really hard time coming to terms with the amount of mayo on the sandwich because I hate the stuff. But the whole thing was good enough that I ate the entire sandwich. No leftovers.

I need to go back and check out the baked goods, which appeared to be fairly popular. Strangely enough, they only have one kind of bagel and it totally sucks. It’s basically a kaiser roll with a hole in the middle. But some of their sweet rolls look great. I’d also like to try the hot dogs and maybe some chopped liver on a brave day.

Further reading:
From the Pitch

Read more:

New York Bakery & Delicatessen on Urbanspoon


  11 Responses to “New York Delicatessen: 7016 Troost – CLOSED”

  1. I like their cream puffs!!!!

  2. That’s where the gf and met face to face for the 1st time after chatting online!

    Good times.

  3. I get to that area only when I have to go to a funeral. I used to be impressed by places that serve giant portions, but now unless I split it with someone I’d rather have a smaller portion for less money.I do like Reuben sandwiches though. one of only few ways I can eat American nasty sauerkraut.

  4. m.v. — The regular sandwiches (not the reuben) are a more reasonable size. It’s true, the reuben will set you back 10 bucks or so.

    XO — didn;t realize you had an internet girlfriend. All hail the internet!

    spyder — I’m going back to try ’em!

  5. I love the NY Deli for the simple reason that it shouldn’t exist in that area at all. By all real economic indicators of that area it should have died in the 70s; the fact that it hasn’t/didn’t makes me like it even more. Although I’m sure the title “NY Delicatessen and Anachronism” wouldn’t go over well :-)

  6. Gosh I love Reubens, and you are right there are lots of OK ones but few really good ones.

    Oh, and I also agree it is a grilled sandwich, let me repeat GRILLED, so the cheese can get all melty and hold the pile of meat and kraut together.

    I may have to make me some soon!

  7. I will have to make a trip that way!

  8. Oh. My. God. So I took your advice and tried the Awesome Rueben today. (I’m a total Rueben freak). I think I’m going to die because:

    A. It was SO GOOD!!!
    B. My stomach is SO FULL!!! and I only ate half of it.

    Overall, great Reuben, but I think my favorite is still Planet Sub’s, believe it or not. It truly is an Awesome Rueben.

  9. Turns out I’m headed out for lunch. Moxie, I’ll take that as a challenge to go try Planet Sub’s reuben. Right now.

  10. good bakery most of the time, Ive had a few dry pastries, but normally good stuff.

  11. Just wanted to say I had the Reuben at D’Bronx in OP today and it farking rocked