Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Not-in-Brooklyn Brooklyn Deli

JFK-American Airlines Concourse C
I have a hard time with food in airports.  I always want to find the best food at the most reasonable price — but that’s hard if you haven’t done any online research beforehand.  I always ask the people who work at airports and no matter the airport they always reply, “I don’t eat here.  It’s too expensive.  I bring my food.”

There are gems that travelers write about or you can discover.  There was a Cuban place in Miami’s enormous airport that was terrific.  And you can’t go wrong with Jersey Mike’s subs as a good staple  — and — I’m a sucker for Nathan’s hot dogs wherever they have ‘em.

So knowing I'd be hungry before the end of my trip, I scouted my options for an early lunch at American’s terminal.  While there may be good food at the sit-down grills or restaurants, I skip the high-end options because of price. And since I’d been in Manhattan and not had a Sabrett hot dog I was thinking a hotdog might be fine and then I saw a possible choice:  The Brooklyn Deli.  Looked good, looked clean, and they had hot dogs.  But they also had a “New York Pastrami Sandwich” for $9.99.  Hmmm.  Pastrami.  It looked good.  It was reasonably priced — considering the hot dog was $3.79 and surely I’d need two.  A guy who clearly was the manager was checking the display cases and greeting customers.

"How's the pastrami?” I asked.

“Wonderful!  Lean, delicious, it’s great pastrami!  Look at the picture!”  he exclaimed.

“Well, sure it looks good in the photo, “ I said skeptically.  “But  what about in real life?”

He looked offended.  “You won’t be sorry with the pastrami.  It’s terrific.”

Still, I wasn’t convinced.

But I was hungry and I wasn’t gonna be getting any NY pastrami where I was going down south.  I could have hotdogs any time.

“Do you have seedless rye?”

“OF COURSE,” he said defiantly.

I ordered the pastrami on seedless rye.

“With cheese?” the counter guy asked.

“No, no cheese.”  Geez, cheese on pastrami?   It wasn’t a Reuben.

I put my card down to pay, “Pastrami on rye”

“With cheese?” the girl asked. 

“No, NO cheese.” I replied and the two cashiers were chattering in Spanish and I saw that without cheese dropped the price of my sandwich to under ten bucks.  You can’t buy a pastrami sandwich in Manhattan for under ten bucks.

As I saw the counter guy making my sandwich I looked atop the display case and saw a big bottle of fat pickles.

“Does it come with a pickle?”

“We give you a pickle m’am” said the Hispanic sandwich-maker.


“Mustard over there," he pointed and handed me my sandwich.

I opened the nicely wrapped pastrami and saw what looked like a really decent pastrami sandwich!  Sliced thin, piled high, seedless rye and true to his word lean.  No fat, no dripping grease.

I took the little packets of Gold’s mustard (Gold’s of horseradish fame) and even though I used three — I shoulda used four to make the taste of mustard complete.  The pickle was a sizable wedge — of an appropriately sour Kosher dill and the sandwich was delicious.  Lucky me!

Now if only they had Dr. Brown's Diet Cream soda — my New York pastrami experience woulda been complete.


  1. Next time you come to NY -- we will go down to Katz's Deli... the deli of my childhood... my dad would get a hot dog with sauerkraut, my mom would get a pastrami & I would get a brisket sandwich... cream soda of course... the place was hot, steamy, noisy & the food soooooooooo delicious!!!!!!

    Thank you for bringing me back there in my dreams..... LL