Vincent Giordano figures he’s made more than 160,000 corned beef sandwiches in the 30 years since he and his parents opened Tulip Caterers, Franklin Square’s bustling deli. About 10,000 sandwiches ago, he decided to upgrade to a better corned beef, and he turned to Chef’s Delight in Williamsburg, a third-generation company that supplies a number of kosher-style delis in Manhattan.
Chef’s Delight delivers whole briskets that have been cured in a spice brine, then Giordano simmers them for a couple of hours until they’re pleasantly tender, but not so soft that they can’t be neatly sliced. “This corned beef,” Giordano said, “it doesn’t dry out — and the moisture holds onto the flavor.”
(Etymological aside: The corn in corned beef refers not to the vegetable but to the large grains of salt used to make the brine.)
For sandwiches, Tulip slices a full half pound of corned beef. Two slices of rye bread, a generous squirt of mustard (A. Bauer’s, established 1888) and he’s got a sandwich fit for a king or two. Patrons who want to gild the corned-beef lily order Tulip Rueben (Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing) which can also be ordered with half corned beef, half pastrami. All sandwiches are $8.95.
Mid March is the time of year when corned beef veers off from its deli roots into Hibernian territory. Of course you could celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with corned beef on rye, but from March 12 to 17, Tulip will be serving corned-beef-and-cabbage to-go platters ($11.95) featuring a half pound of corned beef, boiled potatoes, and a big wedge of steamed cabbage that has been braised in corned-beef brine.
In addition to a full panoply of deli meats, Tulip sells excellent pastrami, also from Chef’s Delight. “The pastrami outsells the corned beef about seven to three,” Giordano said. “Everyone says it’s even harder to get a good pastrami sandwich than a good corned-beef sandwich.”
No visitor to Tulip should leave without sampling the coleslaw. Unlike the vast majority of local delis, Tulip makes its own from scratch: enormous heads of cabbage are trimmed and cored by hand, then machine-shredded and mixed with mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar and seasonings — the same few ingredients you’d use if you were to make it at home.
1020 Tulip Ave., Franklin Square