I neglected to include Hymie’s in the ode to corned beef on rye I wrote in October. It wasn’t an intended slight. They just don’t figure significantly in my personal history with the sandwich. While they are one of the better known Jewish style delis in the Philadelphia region, at least among locals, I never ate there until my mother and step-father moved to that part of the area a few years ago.
I was impressed the first time or two I tried Hymie’s corned beef, before being disappointed the last time I took out a sandwich from them, when the meat was much leaner than I prefer. It’s Philadelphia style corned beef, meaning it’s sliced thin and served at room temperature or colder. I grew up eating that style of corned beef, but have gravitated more in the direction of New York style deli, which tends to be sliced thicker or even hand-carved and is served warm, since discovering the difference in the late 90s.
My wife and I had plans to visit my mother and step-father today. In spite of that disappointing last sandwich, I was eager to give Hymie’s another try and gladly agreed when my mother suggested we take out lunch from them. We stopped to pick up the pre-ordered food and I took advantage of the opportunity to snap a few photos
There is a dining room with a lot of seating, but we headed straight to the takeout counter.
I actually toyed with the idea of getting kippered salmon and cream cheese on a bagel instead of a deli sandwich, but felt too much of an urge to give their corned beef another try in the hope that last time was an anomaly.
While we were in Hymie’s, my wife ran back to the pickle counter and filled up a to-go container with mostly half-sours, which, like New York style deli, have become a big favorite of mine as I’ve gotten older. I also grabbed a couple cans of Dr. Brown’s diet black cherry soda.
My step-father loves Hymie’s matzo-ball soup, so we picked up a quart of that for him.
My wife veered from Jewish deli tradition and ordered a turkey hoagie, which she seemed to enjoy very much.
My corned beef sandwich smelled great when I opened the container in which it came.
But while the corned beef was marginally better than the last batch I had from Hymie’s, it was still too lean and a bit dry.
I’ve always understood the norm for Jewish deli to be that your meat comes at least somewhat fatty unless you expressly ask for extra lean. Perhaps that’s not the case at Hymie’s. If I ever get another corned beef sandwich from them, I’ll definitely request fatty meat. But I suspect I’ll be more likely to go with the smoked fish and bagel next time.
In fact, there is another deli called Murray’s that is only about a block up the street from Hymie’s. The two of them are known to have a long-standing rivalry, although Hymie’s seems to be much more popular at this point. I’ve yet to try Murray’s, but I may push for giving them a shot the next time we decide to have deli while visiting my mother.