41st Street Deli isn't actually on 41st Street. Rather, the pintsize Miami Beach eatery is tucked away in an alley running parallel to the main thruway, behind Ocean Bank. Freshly prepared sandwiches are the house specialty, and the shop is 100 percent certified kosher. Meat and dairy do not mix here, thus the cream cheese on the Norwegian smoked salmon sandwich is actually made from Tofutti, and if you want to add cheese to your corned beef sandwich, it will have to be the dairy-free kind.
Owner Michelle Green opened the deli eight months ago because she wanted a change of pace following a lengthy career in interior design and real estate. She says she grew tired of sitting at a computer all day. What's more, her fourth daughter had left for college, so she decided to seize the opportunity to combine her love of cooking with her desire to interact with the community. Due to her lack of experience in the food industry, Green choose to start small so she could ensure everything served would be top-quality. Indeed, 41st Deli has only a handful of counter seats, and pickups and delivery ($5 to $10 within a given radius) account for most of the business.
Virtually everything is made in-house here, and Green can often be found behind the stove, cooking away next to Chef Flora. The French-born owner was raised by Tunisian parents and lived in Israel and London before moving to Miami 15 years ago. "I grew up in a family of cooks, where every moment is about food," she says.
All of the sandwiches at 41st Street Deli come with a pickle and coleslaw made with veganaise ($6 to $16). Gluten-free whole-grain bread is available upon request, but try the whole-wheat baguette that's baked onsite — it's warm, crisp, and all-around wonderful. You can also add guacamole, caramelized onions, nondairy cheese, sauerkraut, and coleslaw to any sandwich. Green says that although she didn't create the menu with a specialty in mind, the pulled brisket sandwich quickly became the most requested menu item.
Brisket is a cut of meat from the breast or lower chest of a cow, and here it's grass-fed Kosher beef marinated and then braised for 12 hours to render it incredibly tender and juicy. The meat is also perfectly seasoned, so you can enjoy the pulled brisket on its own or inside a toasty baguette — or you can have fun and dress it up. Try it with guacamole, mustard, and Sriracha. Whichever way you choose to enjoy your pulled brisket, one thing is certain: The beef will melt in your mouth, and you will want to return for more.
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Other sandwiches include roast beef, pulled lamb, breaded chicken breast, and smoked meat. You can even order an all-beef hot dog on a baguette instead of a boring bun. 41st Street Deli also has a couple of salads and lists daily specials, which happened to be a skinny veggie burger ($10) when we stopped by. Right now the eatery is open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; it's closed Saturday. Green hopes she'll get the right permitting soon so the deli can open Saturday evenings following the conclusion of Shabbat.
As far as desserts go, Green's specialty is a dairy-free dark-chocolate mousse that's sprinkled with cacao nibs ($6) and which she says sells out daily. It's no wonder she's made so many friends already.