Ben’s Kosher Deli

I am ferociously dedicated to hot dogs. My devotion to the weenie is undying. Just about 2 hours ago, I walked 20 minutes from work… to a deli I had no enthusiasm for… in 10 degree wind chilled temperatures… alone… simply to eat a hot dog, take pictures of it, and write about it. If I told that to a psychiatrist, I’d be in a straight jacket right now. In fact, I heard about this deli because I’m pretty sure a dude I never met before in an Uber pool told me about it. Thanks, guy. Regardless of the struggle and the insanity, I can honestly tell you all that this was indeed the highlight of my day and I’d like to tell you about it.

IMG_1891

Behold. The frank from Ben’s extremely commercial, Jewish, and Kosher (I guess that’s still Jewish) Deli. Now, you may remember that I wasn’t a fan of another big commercial touristy Jewish deli. (Katz’s Deli) So, I wasn’t incredibly enthused about Ben’s, especially since it is just south of Times Square on 38th and 7th. The place was a little bizarre, and definitely huge and commercial as I feared. However, when I told them I didn’t want to sit down and be waited on, and I only wanted a hot dog at the bar, they looked at me oddly, but were very accommodating. For $9.95 the hot dog comes with a drink, 3 different types of pickles, coleslaw, sauerkraut, and a huge knish. This is an epic deal, especially if you’re poor. A quick side note on the knish: I love this invention. Whichever lovely Jewish man with gorgeous curls invented it must have been a sweetheart.

Let’s get into the weenie details. The dog comes out with ‘kraut on the side and no toppings at all. They only have this odd spicy brown mustard that I’ve never seen, called Gold’s. It is no French’s yellow, but it is pretty good, and I’m a little surprised by it. I applied it with incredible precision, and even added kraut because I was feeling the whole NYC Jewish vibe. The bun is nicely toasted, but maybe a little on the light side, as in I couldn’t see any grill marks or bun browning. That’s a new one: “bun browning.” It sounds like something the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders do as a pre-game warm up routine.

IMG_1894

Anyway, the first bite is marvelous, because the snap in this weenie is next level. You can tell there’s some real intestine on the outside of this bad boy and its glorious. There is a strong, 100% beef flavor, that is the tell-tale sign of a high quality frankfurter. This is a pure hot dog. If you are a plain weenie person, I think this would be on the top of your list. One unfortunate thing that happened to me, however, happened over time. Towards the end of eating the hot dog, I got a little tired of the snap. It was as if there was too much casing, and I had to chew through the sausage. This goes to prove that too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Moderation in life is key. I didn’t think it could happen with the snap, but it did. I would definitely recommend this weenie, though. “One flaw a mistake does not make,” Yoda once said.

3.5 weenies

Is eating a hot dog alone at the bar of a huge time square deli sad? Am I a pathetic human being? To the haters I say nay. I say, in the words of Kelly Clarkson, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Unfortunately, eating a ton of hot dogs my eventually kill me. Eh. YOLO.

Cheers

FOLLOW – Instagram     LIKE – Facebook     FollowMAP – BobbyPin

Advertisement

Katz’s Delicatessen

“Oh. Oh, God. Ohhhh. Oh, yes. Yes. Ohhhhhhhh… yes. God, oh, yes, yes. OHHHH God. OHHHH YES. YES. YES. YES. OH YES! OH GOD YES!” – Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally. That happened in Katz’s Deli! Sorry if my words didn’t exactly match the scene, but if you have any knowledge at all of old movies, you know that scene. The only unfortunate part about it is that she wasn’t talking about her hot dog. Well, I was about to find out if a man like me could have a reaction like that to a hot dog in one of the most famous eateries in New York. By the way, I’ve never been a big Billy Crystal fan. Dat Meg Ryan, doe…

IMG_1452

Such a scene. I took the above picture at 8 PM on Sunday. It was jam-packed… and they think they’re so cool because of it. What follows are random sentences to describe the “fame” of this place. Every picture on the wall is of a celebrity that has been there. When you enter the restaurant, you get a ticket. On that ticket is a price that gets written by hand by the servers behind multiple counters. You pay when you are done. There are a lot of neon signs, and half of them don’t work. You are surrounded by tourists. A guy at the door greets you and tries to put on a show. He asks if you’ve been there before and if you know how to order at Katz’s. He told me I looked like a stranger. He even commented on my shirt. HIs shirt was bland and crappy. I will only tolerate such behaviour (feeling British today) for a truly incredible dining experience. How was this experience? Meh. The Gus Frerotte of hot dogs.

IMG_1445

I spend a lot of time writing about the restaurant itself instead of the hot dog, because, well, there’s not much to say here. I feel that the best way to review this hot dog is in a stream of conscience form: … Sauerkraut? Nahh, come on, man. OK. Damn them, its not even good ‘kraut. No yellow mustard? Kinda overcooked. Not bad? Bun, eh, kind of like the buns you buy at any store… ever. Frankfurter sign? Dope, I’d hang that in my room… hmmm kind of wrinkly. No snap. A little dry. Flavor is OK. Meh… Meg Ryan? Nice. OK time to leave.

Essentially it was a pretty average hot dog. On the positive side, it was cheap and served very quickly. So, if you’re craving one late night in the East Village by all means go. However, if I were you I probably would steer clear of this place for a hot dog. Maybe they can do sandwiches, but I really didn’t like being told what to do by the dude at the front who “could tell that I hadn’t been there before.” Give me a break, man, I know for a fact that I know my way around weenies better than you.

1.5 weenies.

This has been maybe the most disappointing review yet. This place was supposed to be one of the best according to some websites out there. That’s what sets me apart from the rest. I actually go to the place, and bring you the truth. I’m a modern day Nellie Bly. Joey Pulitzer. Sanjay Gupta. I don’t know, but I’m doin’ it for the people. The weenie fans out there – you guys deserve it. One love.

Cheers

FOLLOW MY INSTAGRAM               LIKE MY FACEBOOK

P.S. Katz’s, your sign game is poor. If you were an animal you’d be a camel. Everyone loves you until they actually meet you, realize you stink, there’s a big gross hump on your back. Also, you look dumb. Yeah.

IMG_1457