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.
For Parker who likens the texture of his pastrami to cotton candy, the combination of meats in the DDD—pastrami, brisket, and steamed hard salami—is an unlikely one. “I didn’t think it was gonna work, but it does.” The first time I tackled the DDD, I wasn’t quite sure it was going to work either. “You’ll need plenty of these,” the waitress said as she plopped the behemoth down along with a handful of napkins. Two bites in and I knew it worked very well indeed. The combination of steamed hard salami, sweet peppers, brisket, fried onions, mayo, and pastrami kept me coming back for more. At $23.95, it’s not cheap, but it’s well worth it.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the DDD will be the only sandwich dressed with sweet peppers and mayo that I ever eat in a Jewish deli. Say what you will about Fieri and his over-the-top persona, the over-the-top DDD is now one of my favorite deli sandwiches. And I’m pretty sure it’ll feed a family of four.
Ben’s Best Kosher Deli, 96-40 Queens Blvd., Rego Park, 718- 897-1700