Among my Jewish friends and relatives I am renowned for my knowledge of Yiddish. “You’re such a Jew,” an old girlfriend once proclaimed. Heck, I even have an adopted Jewish mother. So it’s a real shonda that I’m so late to the party on what’s surely the tastiest Chanukah gutbomb in Queens, the Meshugah Latke ($11.95) at Ben’s Best Deli. It’s been available since the Festival of Lights began, but I only got to try it on the sixth day.
As the name implies it’s one crazy latke. Actually two, they sandwich a heap of brisket. When it comes to deli sandwiches I’m a hot pastrami and cold tongue man, who limits brisket eating to barbecue joints. That said the combination of the rosy edged slices of brisket sandwiched between the potato pancakes, with their crunchy fried crust and soft interior was magnificent. I was given a knife and fork, but chose to go the sandwich route and I am glad I did. It was supposed to come with gravy, but I was almost glad the waitress forgot to bring it. I don’t think I could’ve handled it.
This double down of the deli world is only available until tomorrow. “I need my people alive,” Jay Parker, the third generation owner of the 70 year old deli said. “I couldn’t offer this all year.” When prodded though, Parker said that customers canorder the specialty year round if they ask nicely. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not.
Ben’s Best Kosher Deli, 96-40 Queens Blvd., Rego Park, 718- 897-1700