My visit to Pastrami Club gave me an itch to go to a real NY Deli. So on a cloudy, cool Saturday afternoon I headed up to Boca Raton. It's a pretty good haul, but traffic is light on Saturday.
Ben's Deli Boca
I purposely went after 2:30, because that's when they're the least busy. A young hostess that "gets it" pointed to the dining room and said "Sit anywhere you want", which is how it should be during the slow hours.
Ben's is a New York operation; Ben is in fact a snowbird. The glasswork makes that clear.
I ordered an iced tea with extra lemon; my server asks if I want spenda, which they keep locked up in the back. But I'm off the stuff.
Pickles and slaw come to the table before any business is conducted.
The tea comes out in a real glass with big lemon wedges. No little slices here.
Ben's Iced Tea
I would have liked a sharper knife to cut the pickles, but I made due with the butter knife in the roll-up. Nice looking pickles; one kosher dill and one half-sour.
I ordered the "Double Dip", which is any half sandwich with any bowl of soup. Half Pastrami on Rye and Matzo Ball Soup.
Ben's cole slaw is some of the best I've had in a restaurant. Little flecks of carrot. Its not too sweet, not too creamy, not too vinegary.
Ben's Cole Slaw
The soup is a monster bowl with about a while package of noodles and a big Matzo Ball.
Ben's Matzo Ball Soup
Not enough sodium for me, but a nice bowl of soup. The sandwich comes out while I'm eating it.
Ben's Pastrami Sandwich
A wobbly sandwich; they lop off some pastrami and slap it on some rye. They use Gold's Deli Mustard, which is even more authentic than Gulden's. I'm sure you've seen Gold's horseradish in the stores. I'm not sure I've ever seen Gold's mustard in a store.
Ben's Pastrami Sandwich
The slaw and the pickles make this a pretty good meal; even a half sandwich.
Ben's Deli Pastami Sandwich
To be honest, it wasn't the best Pastrami I've ever had. It was good, but not melt in your mouth great. I'm glad I only ordered the half.
To me, Ben's is the only real NY Deli in South Florida. Poppie's is close, but it doesn't have the same feel. The restaurant is very comfortable, and the servers make you feel like they care about how you enjoy your meal; the way that Pomperdale's USED to be, before it went corporate. A manager even came but to smugly ask if everything was good; because he knew it was.
What I got was a lot of food for $11.99; it's one of the few places in Boca that is actually worth the drive up.
Being a guy from Long Island; I know about Ben's. There was a Ben's Deli in the Walt Whitman mall which was fairly close to my office when I lived there. That particular location was a bit of a struggle to me; I like mayo on my roast beef and they had a sign up asking customers not to ask for such things.
This Ben's is as out of the way a place could be and still be in Boca Raton. It's just east of moosebreath, way out west near the corner of Clint Moore and route 441. Inside, there's a cash register in the front as you walk in, with a high deli counter on the left and a dining room on the right. It's a big uncomfortable ordering. They seemed to be annoyed that I didn't want cole slaw or potato salad.
Ben's Inside (2010)
I ordered a simple chicken salad on rye, because that's what I usually eat when I go to a good deli. It comes with 2 pickles but no side for $8.99. A bit steep, particularly considering you're going to burn a couple of gallons of gas getting to this place.
The sandwich is top notch however. Good big chunks of tender chicken and not a lot of filler. Good hearty rye bread. No better than Pomperdale's which is a lot closer to me; but not much worse. Certainly better than the sandwich I got at Poppie's.