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Huron Square Deli

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Huron Square Deli Corned Beef Sandwich An unexpectedly long server and storage migration left me looking for lunch for my team on Saturday.

Google Maps said there was a Subway nearby and in the course of looking for it, we providentially found the Huron Square Deli at 1150 Huron Road in downtown Cleveland instead.

Providentially, because I didn't want a Subway, because the Huron Square Deli has of of those ubiquitous '"Hot" Corned Beef' signs in their window and because I'd added it to our Where we're going list a while back.

We gave them our "ham-and-cheese-without-the-cheese" order first, then got to bantering about their Corned Beef: Do they think they have the best? What kind do they serve, lean and crumbly or fat and juicy? Did we want provolone or american cheese?(!!) Did we want fries with that?

Turns out they do believe they have Cleveland's best Corned Beef. They claim to serve lean and juicy. And yes, we wanted fries with that.

And we gave them a really tough time about the "provolone or american cheese" question. I suppose one has to cater to client tastes, but the mere mention made me question their Corned Beef credentials.

Huron Square Deli lunch (with Fries!)Well, back at the break room, we opened our parcels and dug in. Very good. Just look at those fries!!

Somewhere in there is buried a deli pickle spear, quite perfect in every way. But look at those fries!

The Corned Beef was quite lean, not crumbly, but just the right amount of juicy. The bread was grilled to perfection and didn't leave your fingers too greasy. The cheese was an excellent choice, but might have been just as good if it had been swiss. I encountered one large portion of chewy gristle/fat but it didn't really spoil the sandwich. (Look at those fries!)

It's perhaps a bit telling that the fries overwhelmed the sandwich. In addition to being plentiful, they were also perfect. Perhaps it was because we caught them at 10-minutes-to-closing and they needed to offload so many fries. Or perhaps they always serve them so deliciously and plentifully.

OK. Enough said. They were good.

And the Corned Beef? Overall, it was very good. A good, every-day sort of Corned Beef sandwich. A daily staple sort of Corned Beef sandwich. Not a Best Corned Beef but a Very Good Corned Beef.

Now I can add it to our Where we've been list.

I look forward to visiting again when I'm in that part of town.

I was downtown Cleveland yesterday and needed some lunch so I stopped over to Ontario Street Deli and quickly ordered their traditional Corned Beef on rye with swiss and Stadium Mustard.

Carl was very happy to oblige, of course. I think making Corned Beef sandwiches is what keeps that guy alive sometimes!

Since I was running late for my next appointment, it taunted me from between those slabs of bread for the next ninety minutes while I raced back to the Heights to talk technology with a local startup.

Perhaps the measure of a great Corned Beef sandwich is how long it can wait without being eaten and still taste delicious?

I don't intend to wait that long again, so I may never find out.

Jason Brill is a guest writer and sandwich eater for Best Corned Beef in Cleveland. He recently visited Jack's Deli and Restaurant in University Heights and tells us about his experience. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

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. Thumbnail image for Jack's Deli and RestaurantAs 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.

He'Brew - "the best Jewish beer I've ever had"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.

The Sandwich - Jack's DeliI 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.

More Sandwich - Jack's DeliOne 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.

Jack's Deli and Restaurant is located at 14490 Cedar Rd. in University Heights, 44121. They are on the web at: www.jacksdeliandrestaurant.com.

Back to Slyman's

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Thumbnail image for Slyman's Corned Beef SandwichThere's no doubt that Slyman's Restaurant holds the region's imagination for Corned Beef. From being "the place the president visited" (President Bush dropped by in 2007) to serving the "biggest" Corned Beef, nothing about Slyman's is disappointing.

My colleague and I chose a Friday during Lent to avoid the massive crowds that on a normal day threaten to swamp this little "hole in the wall". The takeout line (call, don't email) was long but running quickly and yet there were a few tables to spare at 12:30 when we arrived.

If you're here for the Corned Beef (and who isn't!), a quick glance at the menu should be all that's needed. My friend chose his traditional Reuben (hold the Sauerkraut) and I got the Corned Beef.

The first thing we do is pull out our phones to take pictures (his and mine). I didn't have a ruler or measuring tape, but it was high, probably the tallest I've had yet.

We guessed about the weight, figuring about eight or nine ounces. Our waitress (she was friendly, attentive and yes, very busy) shattered our estimate by telling us that each one is eleven-point-five ounces.

Eleven-point-five ounces

No matter how you slice it, stack it or compress it, that's an awful lot of sandwich.

I'm not going to get into "size matters" arguments mostly because no matter how big you make your sandwich, someone else can always add another ounce. You may be trying to lift a slice of rye bread the size of a hubcap, but the place down the road will trot out one the size of a spare tire.

On a personal note, a Corned Beef sandwich needs to have at least a 2:1 Corned Beef-to-bread ratio in order to be truly enjoyable. Less than that and you'd be better off eating tuna fish. On the upper side, there's something about 16 ounces—an entire pound—that sounds like a good place to stop. As it is, one calorie calculator I visited put that 11.5 oz sandwich at 980 calories (sans pickle)!

Get on with it!

How was it? It was truly great. A real Cleveland classic. Without a doubt, a great Corned Beef sandwich. My friend would argue that it is Cleveland's Best Corned Beef. As for me, I'm a bit more empirical: ask me when I've tried them all.

Until then, when I'm tired of sampling sub-Best fare, I'll come back to Slyman's to reset my expectations.

Yes, it was that good.

Seth Golias is a guest writer and sandwich eater for Best Corned Beef in Cleveland. He recently visited the Corned Beef Cafe and tells us about his experience. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

While making my rounds at work, I spied the Corned Beef Cafe in Broadview Heights (map). Now being a lover of corned beef sandwiches, it didn't take much contemplation to decide where I was going for lunch.

I walked in and promptly ordered a standard corned beef sandwich on rye with swiss to go. The staff seemed friendly and I left feeling very excited at the thought of devouring this new delicious smelling sandwich.

After a drive that seemed to never end, I arrived at my office and eagerly unwrapped my lunch. The sandwich was definitely big enough, after all, a proper corned beef sandwich is not made to fit in your mouth. I must say the taste was fairly good, but I was disappointed in the quality of the meat. I prefer a more lean sandwich, one that tends to "crumble" and is not too chewy. This sandwich was a little more on the fatty side and the meat was sliced a little too thick. I think good corned beef should be sliced as thin as possible. I know many people don't agree with me, but the thickness of the slice does wonders for the texture.

I personally can't say that the Corned Beef Cafe has the best corned beef in Cleveland as their window signs would suggest, but I can say that despite the opposition to my preferred style, the overall experience was agreeable.

-Seth Golias, March 11, 2011

Tommy's on Coventry

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Tommy's Cigar - Corned Beef Sandwich (pita)

Tommy's on Coventry in Cleveland Heights is one of my family's favorites. We think their food is great, the prices reasonable, the variety astounding and the service well-done.

We recently had a birthday to celebrate and the birthday boy requested Tommy's. I was only too happy to oblige since I knew they had a Corned Beef sandwich (on a pita) that I was drooling to try out.

It's called the Cigar and is listed to have "four ounces of corned beef with onion, mushrooms, pickles, sesame sauce, mustard and cheese". Sounds like my kind of sandwich!

Tommy's Cigar - Corned Beef Sandwich (pita) - opened

Overall, it was a good Corned Beef sandwich. (I'm not a big fan of sesame sauce and next time I would order it without. Even taking that into consideration, it's an example of good Corned Beef.)

I'm starting to get the idea that in order to be truly great, a sandwich needs to have eight or ten ounces of Corned Beef. I'll certainly have to try that idea out in the coming months. Maybe I ask for a double Cigar next time?!

Until then, if you're wanting to try something satisfying, tasty and delicious with a different presentation, certainly consider Tommy's! They're even on Twitter!

And make certain you save room for one of a shake or malt. Moosetracks is awesome.

Eat on Broadway

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Those bright orange '"Hot" Corned Beef' signs are hard to miss, so I stopped by Eat on Broadway to see what they had to offer.

Eat on BroadwayIt's a cute little restaurant, right in the middle of Bedford's downtown area (at 692 Broadway Avenue). I found easy parking, walked right in and ordered their Corned Beef sandwich (what else?!!) to go.

Open about a year, they seem to be part of the revitalization that this part of Bedford is experiencing.

They were doing a brisk business when I arrived and yet there was plenty of time for the banter between those on both sides of the counter. There are seats for about eight and a variety of choices for you if you're not into Corned Beef (anathema, I know). If I can find my menu, I'll scan it and post it here.

EOB-sandwich (half)As far as the sandwich goes, I'm going to have to give Janine and Larry the benefit of the doubt and presume I had an unusual, bad cut of meat. It was not lean (gristle is more like it) and I was unable to finish a portion of it. On the other hand, I saw the Corned Beef come out of the container (6.5 ounces, I was told at the time) and perhaps it could have been caught at that point.

I'll just have to come back again and try another one! I'll let you know how that goes.

6/29/2010 - Update: Here's a scan of the Eat on Broadway Menu in PDF.

The Doghouse

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IMG_1364.jpgI've either lived in or had a business concern in Bedford since 1995 and all that time I've never had a chance to set foot into The Doghouse until yesterday.

I say "set foot" since it's kinda hard to get both in at the same time. The place is really small and parking is somewhat limited (I had to wait for one car to leave before I could slip in.) but if you're cruising the Bedford Automile and need a bite to eat, this place is worth a try.

I have no idea about the rest of his menu, but the guy (and gal) behind the corner both know a thing or two about Corned Beef.

The frontI learned that I was the sixth person to get a sandwich that day when they explained that I would get the end (and last of) the brisket. (The brisket started out serving sandwiches on Saturday.) They'd just have to cook some more for the next day. I had always assumed that little places like this bought theirs pre-cooked, but that's just not the case.

He explained that he buys his briskets from Shaker Valley Foods (worthy of a blog post all by itself) and then cooks it with all the right spices the day before slicing and serving it. (Shaker Valley Foods is the company behind the "finest corned beef" signs you see in various windows.)

Since mine was the "heel" and I'd get what was left, he knocked a dollar off the $5.95 price (plus $.25 for cheese). So for $6.20, you can expect a decent-sized sandwich, swiss cheese, a deli pickle (or two) and a small bag of chips. I'd like to see what a full-sized sandwich looks like before I get too excited about the cost/value side of things, but the corned beef was excellent.

The backThe slices I got were lean, crumbly and delicious.

My wife wanted to know more about the place when I told her about the trip. I think the thing she laughed about the most was when I told her about the menu sign. The place is so small and the whiteboard menu is so big and so close to you, that you kinda have to put your head on the wall and crane your neck up to see the top. Seriously, it's only probably three feet from your nose but it's a big (4' by 6'?) whiteboard!

The Doghouse can be found in Bedford, a few miles south of the AutoMile at 589 Broadway, north of downtown and south of Broadway/East Grace. You can call them at 440.786.2260 or just drive over and grab one!

I'll be heading back to see what the start of the brisket tastes like and see what a full sandwich looks like.

Hot Dogs and Much More

6/22/2010 - Update: I went back for lunch today and had the fresh brisket that was prepared last night. No real change in the quality—still the same lean, delicious Corned Beef—just a lot more of it! While I was there, I learned that this has been a restaurant only since 2002; prior to that, it was a barber shop.

6/29/2010 - Update: Here's a scan of The Doghouse menu in PDF.

Luna's in Macedonia

Luna's in Macedonia - front window

In one sense, a restaurant makes it easy for me when they serve a lousy Corned Beef sandwich. I taste so much high-quality Corned Beef that it's pretty easy to identify a loser. It doesn't make it any easier to call their version a loser, though.

Especially when they have a sign in their front window claiming "Best Corned Beef". That's an assertion that needed some investigation.

Luna's is a little diner and luncheonette at 33 West Aurora Road in Northfield, just west of Olde 8 Road (on Route 82). My wife is in this part of town on the occasional Wednesday and since I was going to be in the neighborhood, she suggested we connect up for lunch.

So we did.

She and the kids ordered off the menu (cheeseburger, fish fry, fish sandwich, pizza and club sandwich) and everyone was pleased. I, of course, couldn't let their claim go unverified and so ordered the Corned Beef sandwich.

Luna's in Macedonia - Corned Beef sandwichThe color was excellent, the cheese nicely melted, the bread just the right kind, etc. And as far as grilled sandwiches go, it was a good sandwich. But when you call it a Corned Beef sandwich, standards increase.

And as far as that goes, it was a lousy Corned Beef sandwich.

The Corned Beef was not quite rubbery, but close. Corned Beef should be easily severed when bitten and the rest of the sandwich shouldn't pull out of your bread when you pull away.

The taste was average but the texture and consistency were both below average. I shudder to think of it, but perhaps this had been sitting a while. Again, as far as grilled sandwiches go, it was acceptable. It just wasn't a Best Corned Beef sandwich, by any stretch of the imagination.

I hate to say it, but perhaps Luna's should consider taking down the sign. Or blocking out the "Best" part of it.

$140 worth of Slyman's

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Slyman's SandwichOur combined bill came to $140.70 and $109.25 of that was all beef, glorious beef!

We had Corned Beef sandwiches, Pastrami sandwiches, take-home boxes of Corned Beef, sides of various kinds and (of course) deli pickles. It was an all-out Corned Beef fest.

First, a bit of background.

The Corned Beef idea was gaining some traction at the office and there were several folks who wanted to make the pilgrimage to Slyman's to prove, once and for all, that they have the best Corned Beef in Cleveland. The original plan was for the group to trek out there, grab a table and sit down to sample and enjoy, but once the full invitation list was fully counted, we concluded that a group that large would be quite unwieldy and that we should do take-out instead.

Documenting the PastramiOh, did I mention that this was a Friday during Lent? Fridays during Lent may be a great time to visit a Corned Beef restaurant famous for its Corned Beef and also its long lines.

Then again, for some people, it may not be.

For us, it worked though, since the drivers were able to get there, pick everything up and drive on back in a very short amount of time.

16oz to take homeMy job was to get us some place to eat all this Corned Beef goodness. Some of the less-pretentious and more-functional conference rooms were booked so I called in a favor and got the Situation Room with its fancy table and chairs.

And truthfully, we needed it since a total of ten folks showed up for lunch.

I would love to say that I enjoyed my sandwich, took the full pound home and made that last for the next two days' lunches. The truth is that I thoroughly enjoyed every morsel of my very large Corned Beef sandwich, snatched a few slices from the pound that was headed home and then later watched as my wife and children devoured it for dinner a few hours later. (On rye, of course!)

Enjoying it thoroughlyAnd that, I'm beginning to understand, is how Corned Beef should be enjoyed.

Fully.

Thickly.

Soon after slicing.

On Rye.

With friends.

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