Excessive Excursionist

My life- in 2D.

All Hail Harold’s

After posting multiple pictures of food and travels I have endured through the last few years, a good friend suggested I start a blog- so I took him up on it, and figured I’d give it a shot. So here goes…..

I have finally found the Promised Land- and it exists in Edison, New Jersey.

Being a South Florida native and a “nice Jewish boy”, I’ve had my share of “New York” style deli- but living in the Northeast now, I’ve learned first-hand that South Florida pales in comparison to Delis up here.

Yesterday, after a few postponed plans, I finally made it to Harold’s New York Deli- which sits- unassumingly I might add, off of a highway next to a Holiday Inn. A Holiday Inn….. no joke.

Upon arriving at Harold’s, I had one thing- and one thing only in mind. Hot Pastrami On Rye. It’s been awhile since I’ve had it- and it rates right up there with sex as one of my favorite things to partake in (sidenote: sex edges it out, only by a margin of minute proportion).

If It's Good Enough For Adam Richman....

Upon entering Harold’s I was greeted by the above sign. “Man vs. Food” was here! I already knew that- seeing the show with Harold’s featured. It was then that I knew that an appearance here was in my not-too-distant future.

The place is huge inside- absolutely huge, which is a good thing- it was packed. Not overly- packed like I would have expected, but enough to have us wait a full three minutes before being seated. The following picture shows the front seating area. There’s a huge dining area to the right, where my guests and I were seated….

While waiting to be seated, in the waiting area, are refrigerators housing Harold’s over-the-top, ginormous-sized desserts. The picture below doesn’t even do justice of showing just how huge they really are. I got this random lady in the picture to try and show some scale:

Are you kidding me?

And next to the desserts, the refrigerator chock-full of Dr. Browns sodas- the obligatory beverage of any deli outing:

Black Cherry, thank you.

So once we’re seated, we look over the menu, (which was pointless- for me at least, knowing without question what I was there for). Upon looking at the menus however, I was reminded exactly why “Man vs. Food” was there. At Harold’s they are best known by their “Triple-Decker” sandwiches, which the menu states: “Recommended to feed at least 5 -6 people”. A more accurate description would be “9-10 people”, in my opinion. I didn’t see any groups of people ordering one, so here’s a picture I grabbed off of the internet- of Adam Richman, host of “Man vs. Food” on The Travel Channel, along with some guests:

The Triple Decker sandwiches will cost you slightly over fifty dollars, but if you split between 6-8 people, it’s actually cheaper than getting individual sandwiches.

After our drink and food orders are taken, we’re told to go to the “Pickle Bar”. Pickle bar? Yeah. That’s the place where you get all the accessories to go with your meal. Every kind of pickle you can imagine is there on display, along with stacks of fresh-baked rye bread, because Harold’s sandwiches (which come in sizes of “Large” and “Extra-large” only) are so huge, that it’s a mountain of filling, in-between two slices of bread. The idea here is to take off the top piece of bread and distribute the meat amongst the masses, all of whom will need their own bread to build their own sandwich- get it?

Something you don't see everyday....

The Pickle Bar:

No explanation needed.

Upon arrival back to the table, I was amazed that the main course was already there- waiting for me to devour. It could not have been more than a five-minute trip to-and-from the pickle bar.

My "pickle plate".

The time had finally arrived- it was here, in all of it’s hot, steaming glory. Insert the clouds parting, and hearing angels singing here:

There might be a God, after-all.

Words cannot describe- it’s beyond grasp, akin to trying to explain the feeling of a drug. But I’ll try…..

Upon first bite, the butter-like texture of the meat hits you. It’s neither chewy or stringy- two adjectives that usually show up (unfortunately) in describing many-a-pastrami sandwich. This was pure quality- just the right amount of fat needed to bring out the salty, pungent brines flavor of the meat. The consistency was really that of what I imagine biting into a stick of butter is. The after-taste of the peppery outer- crust was simply spectacular. It was the perfect pastrami sandwich.

You might think that a restaurant with a gimmick of using comedy -like proportions would be doing it to cover up the quality, or lack thereof- of the food. This is definitely NOT the case at Harold’s. If anything, the superb quality only adds to the thrill of watching the waiters deliver mammoth- sized food to other customers, and the patrons reactions to when their food is delivered to their table. I had a funny thought that this place is like Alice In Deli Wonderland, after eating the “small” pill.

Between me and two others, we shared two sandwiches- which, between the three of us, we ALMOST finished a complete ONE. The other sandwich was a Salami on rye. It wasn’t nearly as euphoric to me as the Pastrami, of course- but stood quite proud on its own. Again, the proportions made me laugh aloud:

And this is just the regular “Large”….

As we prepared to indulge in the feast, we grabbed for the napkins and all laughed out loud…

Open napkin up, and....

Get your Deli lingo on.

Something else I noticed on the menu, which will make some people happy (You reading this, Steve M.?)

Unfortunately as it was pointed out, it was too bad there were only three of us. With immense proportions like this, you really need a group of at least six to explore the side dishes, and split a couple of sandwiches to get the full experience of Harold’s. We saw a potato pancake- one per order, mind you, that was literally the size of the large plate it rested upon.

The Matzoh-Ball soup comes with one matzoh ball. I’d put its size as somewhere between a softball and a bowling ball. We didn’t order it, so I have no picture. Next time, and you’ll just have to trust me.

We were so full from just a portion of the two sandwiches, that we passed on dessert- yet another reason for the need of a group of people. I did, however get some closer shots of the desserts on the way out:

That's a chocolate eclair, by the way- third shelf down.

Don't ask.

All in all, it was a lunch of epic proportion (pun intended), and there was so much pastrami and salami left over, i was able to enjoy a big second sandwich for dinner. I would recommend in a heartbeat this place, even to the casual deli patron. It is an experience enough to talk about a couple days after- and with a blog now, a chance to relive over and over.

At least, until I go back.


10 responses to “All Hail Harold’s

  1. phatdaddy March 27, 2011 at 11:41 PM

    Great start. Can’t wait to try the place, especially since they have a gluten-free menu. Good luck, and can’t wait to read the next post.

  2. Randee Silverstein March 28, 2011 at 2:41 AM

    Outstanding!!!! Add it to the list of “Places to Visit” when the family gets together in October!!!

  3. Robin March 28, 2011 at 2:59 AM

    Now I will have to go out and get a small sandwich tomorrow,Thanks Steve.And where oh where am I gonna get a nice piece of cake like that.Great now I am hungry

  4. Chris March 28, 2011 at 12:20 PM

    Wow, and I thought I’ve seen some tall sandwiches in NYC. I love food blogs, great job!

  5. andrea March 28, 2011 at 4:01 PM

    Gotta love the pickle bar!

  6. Susan Bresch March 28, 2011 at 5:02 PM

    What a great idea! I loved the pickle bar. Never met a pickle I didn’t like! I look forward to reading more! Some local SJ places would be nice, too!

  7. J.F. March 28, 2011 at 2:57 PM

    you have to mail me one of those sandwiches packed in dry ice. I’ll have to check with UPS on shipping rates. That thing looks heavy!

  8. Jodi S. March 28, 2011 at 3:07 PM

    Steve – my mouth is watering…nothing like a great Jewish Deli!!! Now I’ll have to drive to Denver soon. Thanks for sharing, love your blog and the pictures truly add a nice touch. Keep up the good work 🙂

  9. Riss March 31, 2011 at 11:53 AM

    Dominic would think he had died and gone to heaven if he saw that pickle bar! He’s a pickleaholic! I sooo want some of that sammich!

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