1828 N. Tustin Ave.
Santa Ana, CA 92705
I worked in Santa Ana the decade of the 90's. Okay, typing that sentence really makes me feel old. Really, twenty years has passed since then? Man that is crazy. Anyways, my original point is that I must have passed Benjie's over 2,500 times while I worked in Santa Ana. All those times passing by, and I never went once, until this Labor Day.
We had plans to go to two other restaurants, but both were closed for Labor Day. Who knew that restaurants would be closed on this holiday? So after Katie whipped out her smart phone, we scoured Urbanspoon for restaurants close by, and up popped Benjies. I am usually in the mood for a great sandwich, so that is where we headed.
Benjies has been around since 1967. Ions of years in the restaurant business. Located between Old Tustin Avenue and Tustin Avenue, this deli was started by native New Yorker, Stan Weinstein. Stan, like most of Orange County, wanted an authentic NYC deli, so he opened this place up. Stan's son, Lloyd now runs the place, and not much has changed since they first opened. It is kind of like Benjies is in some kind of time warp. I half expected one of the Brady Bunch kids to come out and ask Alice what was being cooked for lunch. Okay, enough nostalgia, let's check out the food.
Katie was feeling breakfast when she walked in here, but as soon as she learned she could have her sandwich on a bagel she changed her mind. She went with the Albacore Tuna Salad on a bagel. She called this sandwich, "comfort food at its best". She felt that the tuna salad was fresh, and the bagel was very good. She was also pretty happy with the macaroni salad.
Of course I had to go for my favorite sandwich in a deli, the Reuben. Corned beef, Swiss cheese, and sauerkraut, all surrounded by grilled rye bread. Quite simply, this is one of the best Reuben's that our county has to offer. They were very generous with the corned beef. The sauerkraut did not over power the meat, but complimented it nicely. The meat itself, had a great taste to it, and the bread held up to the contents of the sandwich with no problem. The cheese added a little moisture, and as an added flavor enhancer, I also got a side of Russian dressing to dip the sandwich in. For my side item I chose the Potato Salad. This potato salad was good, but did not really stand out as much as the sandwich did.
I saw that they had Chocolate Chip Cookies on the menu, so we ordered two of them for a light dessert. The cookies were okay. This cookie was more on the crunchy side, and it reminded me of a Chips Ahoy cookie. We would probably skip this the next time we were here.
I think that Stan Weinstein fulfilled his dream to have an authentic New York deli in Orange County. The sandwiches were great, and could rival some of New York's finest. The menu here is very large, and we look forward to trying more items from it. The service was pretty good. Most of the waitress's have been employees of Benjies for thirty or more years. The prices were not cheap here, but the sandwiches will fill you up. My Reuben was $12, and Katie's tuna sandwich was $10, but you do get a choice of a side with them. Eating here really makes me wish I would have stopped by at least a few of those 2,500 times.
Out of five stray dogs, (because the 1974 movie, Benji featured a stray dog that saves two kidnapped children, and also because at Benjies they probably have not updated the decor since 1974), five being best to zero being worst, Benjies gets 3 stray dogs.
For more information about Benjies, click here: http://www.benjiesdeli.com/index.php