First Bites

Jerry's Famous Deli Serves $18.50 Tacos and Corned Beef for Almost the Same

"Why would anyone go to a Jewish-style delicatessen to eat Mexican food?" I asked upon espying tacos, burritos, and fajitas at Jerry's Famous Deli in South Beach. Then the answer popped into my head faster than chopped liver slides through a digestive system: To write a blog post about it!

So I requested a plate of chicken tacos and another containing a fajita beef burrito. "Am I the first person who's ever ordered these?" I asked our waitress.

"Oh no," she replied. "Lots of people order them."

There didn't appear to be even a trace of sarcasm in her voice, so I took her at her word.

Let's start with the less impressive aspects of the cuisine. The refried beans were salty and dry -- fairly inedible. Pea-riddled yellow rice, which like the beans was mounded upon both plates, was lukewarm and standard at best. Cups of sour cream, finely diced fresh tomato salsa, and a pretty good guacamole also graced both entrées.

A quartet of soft tacos came filled with somewhat dry cubes of griddled chicken breast meat "al carbon." A sizable salad plate came alongside; we thought they had accidentally served us a house salad, but turns out it was the filler for the tacos. Best that can be said for the food is there was a lot of it. The taco plate is $18.50.

The fajita steak burrito was modest in size -- perhaps too much so for $16.50. And while it bears no resemblance to grilled steak or fajita or any other Mexican food, the burrito proved exceptionally tasty. It was packed tightly with succulent strips of pulled beef that had been stewed with tomatoes, peppers, and onions. Of course, $16.50 is a lot of money to pay for a flavorful little burrito with sappy sides.

Both plates, with tax, tip, and nothing else: $45.

Think I'll stick with the corned beef on rye. Or not -- I couldn't help but note that the sandwich now costs a whopping $16.50!

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Miami New Times' restaurant reviewer for the past decade, and the world's indisputable master of disguise.
Contact: Lee Klein