“Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other gold.” So goes the old Girl Scouts adage. (And who doesn’t looove those cookies!)
I consider TooJay’s an old friend, or at least that’s how it felt when Jill and I dropped by for lunch a few days back. Having noshed there on several occasions in the past, as well as having any number of catered business lunches made by TooJay’s, my interest this day was piqued twofold.
One, I was eager to try the new “small plates menu” being offered seasonally, (please, please keep it going,) and two, I wanted to know how the highs and lows of the Westfield Siesta Key Mall had treated our old friends. From the looks of the solid number of midweek, midday diners, it seems they are doing splendidly. Loyalty has its privledges.
At a glance, and for any first timers here, if there is such a person, it could literally take you more time to read over the menu and decide on your meal than it takes to eat it, (unless, as Jill noted, you ordered 1.5lb Jaynormous sandwich – that’s got to take awhile!) The selection alone tells you that TooJay’s Deli is waaay more than “just a deli.”
Starting with my stated mission goals, I ordered three of the six small plate items off the summer menu; the Latke Sliders, the Nova Latkes, and the Roasted Brussels Sprouts Medley. Obviously I brought Jill along so she could share. I’m nice like that!
Question is; where to begin? With the first bite of any of them. (It was a trick question.)
I/we are big fans of smoked salmon, and the Nova Latkes had a wonderfully classic flavor profile, featuring crispy potato pancakes topped with a generous dollop of sour cream, just the right amount of peppery arugula, and smoked salmon curls. The sprinkling of capers and finely diced red onion completed the picture. To me, this is an “anytime” dish, be it breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It was terrific!
Our next taste was the Latke Sliders. These cute-as-a-button sliders started with crispy latkes instead of a bun. From there on up the “build” consisted of yellow mustard, a freshly grilled sirloin patty, a slice of red onion, American cheese, and two fried green pickles. This mini-tower of delicious was all skewered together with a bamboo toothpick. . . because it wouldn’t stand up without it! At every bite, this became a “can’t miss/mix-and-match” mouthful of all-American flavor. The latke was like getting your french fry and your burger all in one bite!
I’ll state for the record that any one of these accompanied by a fresh iced tea would be enough to satisfy a normal appetite. But then again, I never aspired to be “normal!”
Our third plate of the Roasted Brussels Sprouts Medley was the showstopper for Jill. She took one bite and declared that “if June Cleaver had made this for the Beaver, he would never have tried hiding them in his shirt pocket!” (Hint, hint; check out the link above for a taste of nostalgia.)
Jill shared her enthusiasm with our server, Cara, recalling the brussels sprouts of our younger years, where our parents boiled the heck out of them and we choked them down in protest. But never more! TooJay’s chef has taken the once lowly brussels sprout and turned it into a masterful blend of crunchy, smoky seasoned vegetables topped with crispy bacon crumbles and a balsamic glaze. THIS is the way Brussels sprouts were meant to taste!
Not yet willing to throw in the napkin, Jill and I decided to share the signature “Triple J” deli classic. The corned beef, (delivered three time weekly from their commissary in West Palm Beach) was thinly sliced and rolled with roast beef, turkey, swiss cheeses, and coleslaw. All this on freshly baked rye bread, as if there’s any other way! BTW, there is! Hold the Russian dressing while I take a moment to add the house-labeled NY style deli mustard . . . a great choice if I do say so myself. Accompanied by an uncomplicated, classic coleslaw – crisp, cool, and adroitly dressed, and a Kosher dill pickle made especially for TooJay’s, the Triple J struck a bullseye on the flavor board!
Undaunted, (because we hadn’t seen how large the Triple J was) we also decided to split an order of the Deli Dogs from the Hot Handhelds section of the menu. July and hot dogs. Hmmm, just sounds right to me.
Who knew that a Rueben and a hot dog would be such good friends? TooJay’s really kicked up their Deli Dog by paring two all-beef franks with pastrami and topping them with the house coleslaw, and Russian dressing on one of their housemade buns. If you think that sounds amazing, you’d be right! The French fries were also on point, piping hot, sliced thick and cooked to a crispy-on-the-outside, then soft-on-the-inside golden brown.
We were clearly in over our heads with such large sandwiches, so our smiling and efficient server, Cara, was kind enough to bring to-go containers for what was to be a wonderful encore dinner later in the day – much later, I might add!
In the pursuit of journalistic integrity, (at least I keep telling myself that,) we ordered some dessert as well.
Jill was already predisposed to ordering the Banana Dream Cake, a delightful cake layered with a rich banana cream, chocolate chips, walnuts, and a milk chocolate ganache. She likened the flavor to that of a frozen chocolate banana, but with the added deliciousness of a banana chocolate chip cake. Any way you slice it, it’s no wonder the Banana Dream Cake is a best seller.
No deli lunch is ever complete without a slice of cheesecake, and TooJay’s didn’t miss a beat with their version. This was nice (mercifully at this point) lighter version of NY style cheesecake, and came adorned with fresh strawberries and a strawberry purée. Walnuts in the traditional Graham cracker crust added on an unexpected subtle nutty flavor.
Although we gave it our best shot, we barely scratched the numerous offerings on TooJay’s menu. I can honestly say that it was definitely harder getting out of the booth than it was getting in, which suite my plans for lunch to a “T!”