New York Deli – Review

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Recently my friend recommended New York Deli to me so I looked up its website and discovered it has been around for 8 years, won a Golden Fork award from Fox Cities Magazine, and was less than a mile from where I work. How it managed to slip under my radar, I am not quite sure but I decided I needed to check it out.

I got there towards the end of the lunch rush and was pleased to see a good crowd there. I enjoy seeing locally owned family businesses busy. Figuring good things come to those who wait; I happily stood in a long line for 10 minutes waiting to order.

There are few things I enjoy as much as a good reuben, so when I saw that highlighted as a top seller it was an easy ordering decision. The gentleman running the register at the time was one of the owners and he mentioned the chili on special was made from scratch in house, which is a big plus in my book, so I added that as a side.

 The chili was the first thing to arrive at my table. It was perfectly seasoned, had tons of flavor and even a bit of heat, though it was a little thinner than a typical chili. I felt the flavor was there but I didn’t care for the thin mouthfeel, it felt more like a soup than a real chili. In the end, I would happily eat another bowl.

My reuben arrived with a pickle and a cluster of grapes on the side. The bread was slightly toasted, the cheese was perfectly melted, and the meat inside the reuben was warmed and very soft to bite. Overall though, it felt very boring. The sandwich lacked anything to make it special.  

Ideally I like my corned beef to provide some sort of texture, perhaps by using corned beef from a brisket rather than processed deli meat; the thicker cut and natural grain makes the sandwich more flavorful and interesting. The bread could also benefit from being buttered and grilled to provide some appetizing color. Instead, it felt like the heated version of something my mom would assemble for me before school, which is not what I think of when I picture New York delis.

I don’t feel like their menu reflects what they are capable of. The menu is primarily various simple deli sandwiches and salads. However, their website boasts some videos with their chef on Fox 11 news highlighting some very delicious recipes like “Jalapeno White Cheddar Cornbread Muffins” as well as a separate page on their website that provides recipes such as “Pulled Pork with Ginger Peach Sauce”, and “Baked Brie with Pear Chutney”. I would love to see the menu evolve to include items such as these as they look and sound absolutely delicious.

Overall, if you are aiming for a “C”, this place is perfectly executed. I can understand why others may enjoy the place, but it isn’t for me. Eating out is too expensive to waste my money on something reminiscent of a bagged lunch.

New York Deli on Urbanspoon

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  1. Chuck says

    I love NY Deli. A lot. However, I don’t love their Ruben (and I really like Rubens in general). I really think you should give the restaurant another try. I would strongly recommend the Bronx Bomber or Tribeca Club. Yes, they are relatively “simple deli” sandwiches, but they are really well executed.

  2. Fox Valley Foodie says

    I suspect if this were put up to a vote I would lose. However, I don’t think the place is bad at all, it just seems to lack anything to make the food stand out. If I am buying something that I can make myself from scratch faster than I can drive to the restaurant I want it to have all of the attention to detail that will make it exceptional.

    If they just called themselves a coffee shop I probably wouldn’t be hard on them; actually I’d be favorable since their scratch offerings are reminiscent of, but yet a step above, typical coffee shop fare. But when their namesake draws credibility from the mecca of great delis, they have established their standard for judgement.

    I’m not opposed to going back there, and if enough people tell me to, I probably will. However, in the meantime there are too many other places around the valley I still want to try.

    Thanks for the comment. I like when people don’t just echo me.

  3. Katherine M says

    I have to agree with you. Corned beef should be cut from a brisket and be served in thick slabs, not the Buddig-type corned beef served at NY Deli. Additionally, the owners clearly have not BEEN to a NY Deli! Where is the lox, the bagels, the matzo ball soup…the GIANT barrel pickles? I hope, SOMEDAY, someone will bring a REAL deli to Appleton. In the meantime, if you are in the Milwaukee area, try Jake’s Deli or Benjamin’s Deli. Both are much closer to the “real thing” than the NY Deli in Appleton.

  4. Fox Valley Foodie says

    I have gotten a few recommendations from friends on some excellent delis around Milwaukee that I want to try (though I can’t remember their names currently). I am going to make it a point to make a foodie road trip down there this summer just to try these eateries. Thanks for the tip!!

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