03/09/16 12:54pm

The Arch Electric dwarfs Ben’s overstuffed pastrami sandwich.


“Does anybody ever order these?” I asked the waitress at my local deli as I pointed to the list of novelty sandwiches with names like Dr. Ruth Westheimer (brisket of beef, turkey, lettuce, tomato, and Russian dressing) and the New York Newsday (salami, tongue, corned beef, and cole slaw). “Sure, all the time,” she said. By local deli I refer not to a bodega trafficking in bacon and cheese sandwiches but Ben’s Best, a bona fide Jewish deli with a 70-year history lovingly maintained by Jay Parker and his crew.

“Okay, I’ll have the Arch Electric,” I said ordering a $20.95 behemoth consisting of Chinese mustard, rolled beef, corned beef, sweet red pepper, cole slaw, and Russian dressing (Tums available on request).” In my 15 years of eating at Ben’s Best my go to order has been a pastrami on rye, so I was curious to switch it up a bit with this sandwich named for an L.I.C. based electrical contractor. Corned beef and rolled beef were a definite change of deli pace, Chinese hot mustard not so much, though I can’t say I’d ever had it in a Jewish deli.  (more…)

10/29/14 10:39am

You’ll need big hands and a big appetite for Ben’s DDD .


An old-school New York City deli sandwich piled high with luscious pastrami is a joy to behold and eat. “It’ll feed a family four,” some say of these heavyweight classics that predate concern with cholesterol. Personally I always find them manageable, if filling. My go-to spot for deli—Ben’s Best—is a mere 10-minute walk from C+M headquarters. When it comes to deli I’m a purist, and don’t mix meats. I make one exception for Ben’s DDD, a dreadnought of a deli combo created by Guy Fieri.

The triple-decker DDD named for Fieri’s show, “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives” is a powerhouse of deli sandwiches dreamed up by Fieri and longtime Ben’s Best deliman, Richy. The two concocted it during Fieri’s visit to the 65-year-old Rego Park institution. At the time I joked with Ben’s owner, Jay Parker, that his establishment must fall under the “dives” category. (more…)

05/22/13 10:02am
Surely the only lobster roll to use shichimi pepper and Japanese mayo.

Surely the only lobster roll to use shichimi pepper and Japanese mayo.


Tex-Japanese, a noxious hybrid created by Guy Fieri, is the last spin I’d expect to see on that summertime Maine classic, the lobster roll.  Thankfully in the capable hands of Gary Anza, the chef at Astoria’s Bistro 33 it works. That’s mainly because Anza is a skilled chef and Guy Fieri is a dude prone to perching sunglasses on the back of his frosted-tipped dome. When I ordered the lobster roll ($16) I knew it wasn’t going to hew to Down East tradition. After all, the menu made it clear the sandwich included Japanese mayo and shichimi, a red pepper powder more common at Japanese izakaya than at French bistros. It didn’t say anything about the Texas toast though. Topped with a tangle of shredded cucumbers and dressed with Japanese mayo and served with some fancy lettuce it’s the type of lobster roll that could only come from a chef in Queens. Actually it’s more of a sandwich than a lobster roll. One that’s as refreshing and eclectic as the borough from which it hails.

Bistro 33,19-33 Ditmars Blvd., Astoria, 718-721-1933