Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday. Closed Sunday. Prices: Dinner for two costs up to $20. Cards: Mastercard, Visa, American Express.
Celebrity Delly bills itself as a deli where "ex-New Yorkers dine." Like the delis in New York, it shrugs off any pretense of decor (plastic-topped tables and green imitation leather chairs are all you get). And like the delis back home, Celebrity has a menu crammed with dozens of sandwich combinations trying to see how many permutations of turkey, pastrami, corned beef and sauerkraut you can squeeze between two pieces of rye. Unlike real New York-style delis, though, Celebrity has left out some of the basics. Can you really have a deli without matzoh ball soup? A deli without lox and whitefish platters? (They're on the menu for breakfast, but not the rest of the day.)
But some of the sandwiches are delicious -- and in general, the best ones, just as the menu promises, are listed under "Our Most Famous." Try a classic Reuben, with good corned beef, oozing over your fingers with melted cheese and Russian dressing. If you like wurst or hotdogs, absolutely get the Heavy Evy, four layers fat with hot pastrami, grilled knockwurst, sauerkraut and gooey cheese. Both sandwiches come on grilled rye, all browned and buttery and crusty. Also try the "Famous" Sirloin Strip Steak Sandwich, made with a three-quarter-inch piece of meat slathered with grilled onions -- it's not the most tender cut in the world, but it's easily worth $4.95.
Celebrity also seems especially good at triple decker combos -- such as the old-fashioned club, with plenty of bacon and thick slices of turkey. We've been disappointed, oddly enough, with the simplest sandwiches: hamburgers aren't very juicy, and plain roast beef, pastrami and corned beef -- sitting all alone between rye, with no dripping cheese and dressings to gussie them up -- are a letdown. It's good quality meat, although not exceptional, but even more important, the sandwiches lack the quality that makes the best New York deli sandwiches exciting: They aren't fat. If we can fit our mouths around a pastrami sandwich without half of it tumbling out, then something's not quite right.
But there is one platter here, not a traditional deli dish but a hybrid, that we're crazy about: "Our Own Beef B.B.Q." It's really more like a spicy hash -- a mountain of brisket odds and ends, big chunks, too, fried with onions and nicely seasoned.
Accompany everything, naturally, with cold mugs of beer or egg creams and platters of fat french fries and crisp onion rings (but watch out for greasy potato pancakes). For dessert, skip the deli tradition -- cheesecake, boring here -- and get Celebrity's chocolate mousse cake, thick and bittersweet and dotted with tiny bits of chocolate. Then pick up a loaf of good rye at the cash register for tomorrow's breakfast.