WHY IT'S NOTEWORTHY
You can count the number of New York-style delicatessens in New Orleans on the fingers of one hand--even if you've had a table saw accident. Although it's not even close to being kosher (they sell as much Italian-style salumi as they do kosher-style meats) Stein's probably is the best of them. Owner Dan Stein keeps his cases stocked with meats, cheeses, and breads of the highest order, and always has something new interesting for you to try if you show an interest.
If you live even reasonably nearby you may find yourself buying all your sliced meats at Stein's. It has the range of the Central Grocery and the Kosher Kajun, rolled into one shop. The house's special sandwiches are imaginative and well assembled, and they'll make up anything you ask them for. They're set up to produce large orders of sandwiches and finger-food platters for business meetings and parties--a good thing to remember in the holidays.
Owner Dan Stein opened the deli in 2006 after working awhile at Martin Wine Cellar and a few other restaurants.
A very old building in the equally antique Magazine commercial district houses the deli and some other offbeat shops. Not much has been done to renovate or dress up the space. Tables, display cases, and counters are all shoved in wherever they fit. Sausages, hams, and cheeses hang about. The place smells good. It's ramshackle and sometimes a little messy.
»Italian hoagie (a take on a muffuletta)
Muphuletta (Philly style, grilled)
»Fernando (prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, pesto)
»Robért (same as above, with balsamic vinaigrette)
»Sam (hot pastrami, Swiss, cole slaw, rye, Russian dressing)
»Ode to Nueske (smoked bacon and ham)
TCM (turkey, Swiss, avocado, lettuce and tomato)
Kelly (prosciutto, delices de bourgogne, apple)
»Dan (turkey, bacon, Swiss, lettuce and tomato)
»Jeff Berger (prosciutto, robiola, honey, ciabatta)
»Shaggy Joe (tongue, cole slaw, Swiss)
Southern Animal Foundation (turkey, cheese, bacon, avocado)
»Tuscan panini (ham, artichokes, fresh mozzarella)
Chicken salad sandwich
Egg salad sandwich
Tuna salad sandwich
Matzoh ball soup
Bacon/ham, egg and cheese on a bagel
Bagel and smoked salmon
Bagel and hand-sliced belly nova lox
ECT (Scrambled egg, tomato, cheese, bagel)
FOR BEST RESULTS
Although you can't drink it on the premises, beer is available in amazing variety, including some rarities. Also here: a smattering of gourmet groceries. Don't come in a huge hurry. Grab any space that comes open and be prepared to tidy it up a bit.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
The premises are so ramshackle that it's hard for customers or employees to function. The tables get messy when the place is busy.
FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.
- Dining Environment -2
- Consistency +2
- Value +1
- Attitude +1
- Wine & Bar
- Hipness +1
- Local Color +1
- Sidewalk tables
- Open Sunday lunch
- Open all afternoon
- Quick, good meal
- Easy, nearby parking
- No reservations
ANECDOTES AND ANALYSIS
When I began this column, the editor told me to mix up fancy places for taking clients with quick, uncomplicated eateries for busy days. I have been lax in my coverage of the latter here. And with the holidays upon us, the need to feed the troops in the facility grows. This place makes sandwiches of such excellence that it works for both scenarios. The absence of poor boys sets it apart. This is a rare restaurant where getting take-out is a much better idea than eating in. The place is nothing on looks.