In this age of gluten-free and vegan diets, it’s almost unthinkable that a new deli would open – especially after so many have closed. Yet, Wexler’s Deli not only launched in Grand Central Market, but unveiled a second location in Santa Monica, land of healthy diets. Judging by the lines out the door, there still are locals willing to forego a raw or vegan diet to embrace this throwback to another era (granted the counter is so close to the entrance that more than three people creates a line out the door).
Wexler’s Deli, is an homage to the classic New York delis, even stealing its looks from classic NY stalwarts like Russ & Daughters. You order at the counter, get a number and then find a seat. The menu is limited to seven sandwiches, most of them meat-centric, with some bagel and lox options and the obligatory salad.
For those avoiding red meat, there’s the egg salad sandwich, stained mustard yellow, topped with pickles and on a bun. The bread is freshly baked and quite lovely, though the egg salad tastes like a cousin of the potato salad.
If you choose to indulge in either one of the pastrami or corned beef sandwiches, there’s a trio of mustards to help enhance your meat.
If you like your meat straight up, there’s the O.G. – pastrami and mustard on rye. Wexler’s pastrami is cut thick, aggressively spiced on the edges. The pastrami was also fairly lean, lacking some of the melt-in-your-mouth fatty bits that other places have. The sandwich had just the right amount of pastrami – you don’t have to unhinge your jaw to fit it into your mouth. One could easily eat the whole sandwich, with maybe some room for a black and white cookie for dessert.
Presentation here is a bit lacking. Sandwiches and your choice of side (potato or coleslaw) are served on a plastic tray with a paper lining. I was going to post a picture of it, but thought better of it, the image not a great visual. Prices are in line with what you would expect from a deli – maybe a little on the high side, but the quality is worth it.
It’s nice to see that not everyone has succumbed to gluten-free vegan diets so that places like Wexler’s can still carry on the great deli tradition. Indulging every once in a while isn’t so bad – you can atone for it on Meatless Monday.
Location – 616 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica 90401
Website – http://wexlersdeli.com
Kid-Friendly – Yes
Kid’s Menu – No
Vegetarian Friendly – Yes
Vegan Options – Limited – The Big Salad without egg, pickles, chips
Gluten-Free Options – Limited – The Big Salad without rye, sides of egg or tuna salad, side of gravlax, potato salad, coleslaw, pickles and chips