It’s no exaggeration to say that the opening of the Fort Lauderdale TooJay’s has been highly anticipated. Ever since ground it broke on the land formerly occupied by The Mason Jar, folks have been waiting for the grand opening sign.
The place opened a few weeks ago and it seems as if everyone is happy. The large parking lot is jammed. In fact, on the first Friday night after opening, we had to wait a few minutes for a parking space to open, and it’s a big lot.
TooJay’s is a Jew-ish deli. Not quite Kosher (you can get bacon, ham and cheese on a meat sandwich), but you can also get ethnic favorites such as matzo ball soup, pastrami, brisket and rugelach.
The deli sandwiches are piled high with lean corned beef, pastrami, chicken, tuna, egg, or whitefish salad and are reasonably priced and come accompanied by a slice of pickle and a heathy serving of cole slaw. Fries, potato salad and onion rings are available as sides for a couple bucks more. However, if you order a grilled sandwich (a Rueben, Rachel or brisket dip) fries are included.
The fried dill pickles and lox topped latkes are great starter options, but then again, how can you pass up the matzo ball soup with lighter than air dumplings, chicken noodle or French onion soup? That doesn’t even include the daily soup specials, a hearty short rib and cabbage combo, on my most recent visit. Yes, I said most recent. I’ve been to TooJay’s at least twice a week since it opened. I may be addicted.
The menu also includes dinner salads (chopped, Cobb Caesar, Mandarin or fried chicken) and deli platters (a trio of salads, stuffed tomato, a scoop of chopped liver) and wraps. There are a number of combo options including half a sandwich and soup or salad, as well as soup and salad duos.
Burgers and “hand helds” include Burger á la TooJay’s, topped with mushrooms, bacon and melted Muenster cheese (also available with a chicken breast in place of the burger), a chipotle bacon burger, the ubiquitous patty melt (which my husband adored with a veggie black bean burger in place of the beef), the signature Pastrami Burger (ground sirloin rolled in pastrami spices and topped with tender pastrami, caramelized onions and Swiss cheese, served with a side of chipotle mayonnaise), it’s days’ worth of calories, but you only live once right?
On the lighter side, there’s the Tuscan chicken sandwich; topped with portobello mushroom, roasted red peppers and sliced red onion stacked on a marinated chicken breast and topped with melted provolone (also available without the chicken for a great vegetarian option).
Other hot sandwiches and baskets include open-faced tuna or turkey melts, grilled cheese, deli dogs (served in pairs and topped with everything from mustard to pastrami, bacon, cheese or sauerkraut). There’s also a classic BLT as well as one augmented with slices of avocado. Chicken tenders and fish and chips are some other options.
Classic entrées come with artisan rye and your choice of house salad, Caesar salad, cup of matzo ball, chicken noodle or soup of the day. Among the entrees from which to choose are shepherd’s pie, pot roast, chopped sirloin, liver and onions, beef brisket, cod, a traditional turkey dinner, stuffed cabbage, grilled salmon (topped with dill sauce or everything seasoning), and roasted stuffed chicken breast. Vegetarians will appreciate the portobello parmesan.
Desserts are a big attraction. The rugelach are better than Grandma used to make, and the Killer Cake is a must for any chocoholic. There’s also cheesecake, with or without strawberries, blintzes, a mediocre carrot cake, moist and fluffy coconut cake, chocolate layer cake, moist banana cake, Key lime pie and such favorites as black and white cookies, brownies, and tollhouse squares as well as a mini napoleon and éclair combo.
How can you discuss a deli and not mention the breakfast fare? TooJay’s offers everything you could imagine; classic egg dishes, fish platters, egg sandwiches, omelets, waffles (even chicken and waffles), French toast and fruit salad.
Service is friendly and it’s clear that everyone works as a team. Each time we dined at TooJay’s numerous people stopped by our table to check if we needed anything, not just our server. The kitchen could time when dishes come out better; our soups came out before we finished our appetizer, the entrees came before we were half-way through our soup. But, I’d rather the food be there a few minutes early than sit waiting between courses.
If TooJay’s is too crowded you can try one of these other area delis, but moist do not keep hours as late as TooJay’s.
3055 E. Commercial, Fort Lauderdale
New York Marina Deli
1453 SE 17th St., Fort Lauderdale
3916 N. Ocean Blvd., Fort Lauderdale
415 NE 3rd St., Fort Lauderdale
2980 N.Federal, Fort Lauderdale
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