Restaurant review: I Love New York Deli

The Russian sandwich piles on generous amounts of turkey, roast beef, Swiss cheese, Russian dressing, cucumber, lettuce, and tomato with your choice of bread. Photo by An Huynh

The Ave is the mecca of student food, but other options in the surrounding U-district should be explored as well. A good example is I Love New York Deli, a restaurant with a plethora of options on both the breakfast and lunch menus. The deli doesn’t provide an ostentatious exterior design, yet when walking in, one will instantly observe the restaurant’s decor bears a heavy New York influence. Yankees and Mets memorabilia is displayed throughout the shop alongside photos of other famous New York landmarks and personalities.

I had experienced brief meals at New York Deli before. In 2010 I worked nearby and often went there in the morning to grab a quick bite before starting a day’s work. For $1.99, I Love New York’s “Recession Sandwich” is an attrcctive offer. It’s essentially the same thing as an Egg McMuffin but it tastes less processed. This is a perfect option for time-strapped students living in the area who need something quick before morning classes.

Aside from a few minor breakfast/brunch experiences, I had never tried the lunch options, which include the “overstuffed sandwiches.” The menu provides an almost overwhelming amount of selections, with a wide variety of deli meats and breads, soups, knishes, and bagels. Just like Katz’s or Carnegie in New York City, there is a lot to pick from. I finally settled on the Russian, priced at $10.95. It is a turkey and roast beef combo with Swiss cheese and Russian sauce all on light rye bread. This sandwich is under the label “overstuffed sandwiches” and that is no lie; I could barely fit it into my mouth. The sumptuous combination more than satisfied my taste desires.

As good as the Russian was, I felt one sandwich and one small overpriced side of pasta salad, which came as a free side but is also priced separately at $1.75, weren’t enough for me to make a concrete decision on New York Deli, so I ordered an Empire State sandwich for later. The Empire State, also priced at $10.95, contained roasted brisket, cheddar cheese, onions, and horseradish. Though the sandwich was a grease fest, I liked how the deli used the right amount of horseradish. It is really something that can spoil a sandwich if too much is dabbed on, and I Love New York got it just right.

Both sandwiches filled my appetite: Both were served in mass quantity but also used an incredible assortment of ingredients.

I Love New York Deli is quite pricey — most sandwiches ranged from $9.95 to $11.95. With the limited budgets most college students live on, this probably shouldn’t be a common choice. It certainly did a good job filling me up, considering a free side is provided as well, but if I was attempting thriftiness, other options in the area would likely serve as the more affordable choice. Yet if students ever want a treat, I Love New York Deli is the place to go for a filling meal.

The verdict: I Love New York Deli provides an incredible number of options. It isn’t the cheapest place around, but that shouldn’t scare anyone from giving it a try.

Reach reporter Michael Lantz at arts@dailyuw.com.

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