The word "deli" has come to characterize a store that prepares a vast array of sandwiches that are quickly assembled, wrapped and dispatched to on-the-go customers. Once upon a time, though, "deli" was short for "kosher delicatessen," a restaurant that specialized in the cured meats and hearty fare of a Jewish immigrant community that adapted its Eastern European cuisine to life in the American city. Long Island is lucky to have some great kosher and kosher-style delis.
Compiled by Erica Marcus.
Pastrami Plus, East Meadow: This friendly eatery takes care of its daily homemade specialties, handling and finishing its corned beef, brisket and pastrami. Also tasty: flaky potato knishes. (Pictured: Pastrami sandwich.)
Kensington Kosher Delicatessen
Kensington Kosher Delicatessen, Great Neck: A fixture in Great Neck for more than 30 years, Kensington Deli is the perfect antidote to modern delis that serve everything from Florentine-style panini to tossed-to-order balsamic-dressed mesclun salads. Here is a deli that is a Deli. Kensington doesn't stray very far from the traditional: Kosher franks, corned beef, pastrami, tongue, brisket, roast beef, turkey, salami, bologna, chopped liver, chicken salad and tuna-fish salad can be had as regular sandwiches or "extra-heavy combination sandwiches" that run closer to. Sides include knishes, latkes, stuffed cabbage and stuffed derma. (Pictured: Hot dogs with sauerkraut.)
Pastrami King, Merrick: With a style and history similar to kosher-style delis, this spot serves non-kosher items such as bacon. Come here, though, for a pastrami sandwich that won't disappoint. This spot also serves roast beef, corned beef and tongue. (Pictured: The Pastrami King Special, a triple decker sandwich with pastrami, corned beef, roast beef and salami.)
Zan's Kosher Deli
Zan's Kosher Deli, Lake Grove: A kosher deli and restaurant in a strip mall, Zan's can seat 300 in its recently renovated space. Popular items to order include pastrami and corned beef sandwiches, and stuffed cabbage. (Pictured: Kreplach.)
Ben's Kosher Delicatessen
Ben's Kosher Delicatessen, Carle Place: The oversize sandwiches here are mandatory, along with matzo ball soup, potato pancakes, baked knishes and main courses such as roast turkey, chicken in the pot and Romanian steak. A can of Dr. Brown's soda is the ideal accompaniment. Other locations in Greenvale and Woodbury. (Pictured: "Deli Double" sandwiches of pastrami and corned beef.)
Lido Kosher Deli
Lido Kosher Deli, Long Beach: It's not for nothing that Lido Deli proclaims that it has been "serving America's most demanding kosher deli customers for three generations." Residents of Nassau's Five Towns and surrounding environs know from good delicatessens and keep Lido on its toes. All the classics are good here and you can often find the elusive dark-meat turkey for a terrific sandwich. (Pictured: Classic pastrami sandwich.)