For as long as I can remember, I have had a love affair with corned beef.
I didn't spend my childhood in Cleveland, though I was born here. We did come back a few times a year, and as a young Jewish kid who lived in Southern Texas—a place devoid of corned beef—one of the joys of coming back was the regular visits to Corky & Lenny's. And I'm talking dingy, wood-paneled Corky & Lenny's at Cedar Center.
Another oft-visited deli was Jack's Deli and Restaurant at the corner of Green and Cedar in University Heights. As I moved back to Cleveland, and as Corky's made its move to Chagrin Blvd., Jack's quickly became my favorite deli haunt. To me, the corned beef is always juicier at Jack's. The soup is more comforting. The service is—well, it doesn't take much to top Corky's in that department, but Jack's has always been more welcoming.
So when the fine gentleman here at Best Corned Beef in Cleveland asked if I'd like to do a guest review for Jack's, I couldn't pass up on an excuse to feed my corned beef craving.
After starving myself all day in preparation, my dining companion—the wonderful young lady responsible for the blog Hip & Healthy—and I headed to Jack's.
After a long day of work, the best way to unwind and prepare for corned-beefy goodness is a good brew—a He'Brew.
As my companion put it, "It's the best Jewish beer I've ever had." Think Great Lakes Brewing Company's Lake Erie Monster. A perfect companion for what's to come.
I cannot come to Jack's without getting the meal-in-a-bowl known as: The Whole Magilla. It's an extra-large bowl of chicken soup with a matzoh ball, rice, noodles, and a kreplach (a meat filled dumpling).
Next up: the pièce de résistance. The corned beef. I ordered the regular-sized corned beef on rye. I usually keep my sandwich totally plain. If I'm feeling a little saucy, I will throw on coleslaw and thousand island dressing. The corned beef at Jack's just tastes fresh. It's juicy, and it melts in your mouth.
My companion ordered the not-so-hungry-sized lean corned beef on rye. She put some spicy-brown mustard on it, and she was soon wearing a satisfied grin.
A side of fries and complimentary pickles round out this perfect gastronomic adventure.
One other item of note is the corned beef and potato pancakes. It isn't on the menu, but you can usually order it if you act like you know what you're asking for. It's a sandwich-sized helping of corned beef betwixt two—wait for it—potato pancakes.
The prices are on par with Corky's for most menu items. The beers were shockingly-priced, but that's our fault for not even asking. We tend to order off the cuff and worry about silly little things like price later.
Our corned beef cravings quenched, we ventured out into another soggy spring night.