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J’s Deli – The Newest Addition to the Palm Springs Area Deli Scene

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Js Deli Exterior

As some readers know, I spend part of my year in the Palm Springs area. Over the last few years I have spent at least seven months in the dessert, including four months straight at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020.

And of course that means I like to sample the delis when I’m visiting “the desert” (local LA speak for visiting the Coachella Valley/Greater Palm Springs Area).

Today I’m going to share my review of J’s Deli, the newest NY style deli in the Coachella Valley Area,

Is it the best Jewish deli in town? Read my review and find out.

History of J’s Deli

J’s Deli is owned by Jay and Vanessa Rubinstein. They opened the restaurant during April 2022 in a space that was previously the Manhattan deli. Prior to opening J’s Deli, Jay was the manager of the Lovi Deli in Calabasas, a suburb in Northern Los Angeles that is probably best known to people outside of LA as the city where the Kardashians are from.

The Rubenstein’s spent a reported $1 million dollars (and eight months) to renovate the space and the result is a very spacious and modern interior.

The updated space is full of light and feels like a modern restaurant, and quite different than an old school Jewish deli.  A large glass wall provides a view into the kitchen and gives it a more modern restaurant feel that is unusual for delis these days. Honestly I can’t think of another Jewish Deli that has an open Kitchen as beautiful as this one.

J’s Deli Philosophy

This quote really sums up their philosophy. The Rubensteins wanted to bring an old school New York Style deli to the dessert. They have made a very commendable and admirable effort in creating a beautiful physical space and an extensive menu that is full of old deli classics, as well as many updates for the modern era such as all day breakfast.

Js Deli Quote

Location and Hours

J’s deli Address:
74225 Highway 111
Palm Desert, CA 92260

Phone: (760) 797-5004

Hours:
Monday – Sunday:8:00 am – 9:00 pm

If you are familiar with the Palm Springs Area, 111 is the main highway, so this location is very convenient and easy to get to.

Parking:

There is ample parking in front of and behind the restaurant.

Here is the sign from the street that alerts you where to turn into the parking lot.

Street Sign - J's Deli Palm Desert

What Awaits You At J’s Deli

The interior also has a well designed modern bar area too that is placed between two other seating areas and fully visible from other parts of the restaurant. This is quite different from Canter’s Deli for example where the bar is in the back and not visible from the restaurant.

See also  The Ultimate Guide to Canter's Deli

Two Outdoor Seating Areas

The outdoor seating areas are large. Like other successful restaurants in the desert, they having awnings to protect you from the overhead daytime heat and also overhead heaters to provide warmth for the colder evenings in the dessert during winter months.

There are two separate outdoor seating areas – a small one in the front that has umbrellas covering the tables.

Front Outdoor Seating Area - J's Deli Palm Desert

And  a very large seating area on the left side of the restaurant that has awnings and heaters.

This picture only shows about half of the seating area – it is quite large.

Outdoor Seating Area - J's Deli Palm Desert

The Entry Area

The entry area features beautiful deli cases that are filled with all the deli foods one hopes to find at a great place: luscious desserts, fresh bagels made in house, and salads and deli meats available for take out orders. The cookies

Here is a picture of the beautiful and modern deli counter

Deli Counter - J's Deli Palm Desert

And there is also a cash register that has pastries and cookies in a to go counter.

Cookies and Deserts Case - J's Deli Palm Desert

They looked very tasty. Unfortunately we did not try them on this visit but will come back in a future visit to sample them.

Bar Area

The bar area features high top tables and expansive seating and it physically sits between indoor dining sections.

Bar Area - J's Deli Palm Desert

Open Kitchen

This is a beautiful design for an open kitchen. I can’t think of any other Jewish deli that has an open modern kitchen like this. It’s a great design element they have incorporated into the me

J's Deli Palm Desert - Open Kitchen

Welcome Relish Tray

Like Sherman’s Deli, they offer a welcome tray which is always a nice touch. This is very rare at delis these days and much appreciated! What makes their stand out is that it has pickles and bagel chips that are made in house. The pickles are crisp and delicious.

The most recent night we went, we did not get pickles just a large bowl of bagel chips. These were very tasty with cheese and not the small chips you might expect but basically full bagel slices, with a nice crunch.

Bagel Chips - J's Deli Palm Desert

Some Menu Items From My Most Recent Visit

In February 2023, I had dinner with a few friends and family. The five of us ordered many dishes.

Chopped Liver Appetizer

We started with the chopped liver appetizer. It was a nicely done plate. The chopped liver was missing something though. Not exactly sure what it was. One of us thought it was under salted. Or maybe it was missing schmaltz? It was acceptable but could easily be much better.

Chopped Liver Appetizer - J's Deli Palm Desert

Stuffed Cabbage with Sweet Potato Fries

This was a large and generous portion, with an excellent texture and ground beef inside the cabbage leaves. It is served with a chunky tomato sauce.

Overall, this dish is tasty and reminiscent of the old Jewish Delis and something my bubbe (grandmother) would have enjoyed.

See also  All You Need to Know about Mrs. Goldfarb's Unreal Deli

Stuffed Cabbage - Js Deli Palm Desert

Pastrami Reuben

I asked our waitress what the top menu items are and this was one of the top two she suggested. If you love Reuben’s you will love this. It was quite decadent and the bread was very buttery too.

Pastrami Reuben - Js Deli Palm Desert

The pastrami was a bit on the salty side so my only critique is it should be less salty. Overall, it was a very good reuben sandwich, but not as good as the one at Brent’s Deli.

If you like Reuben’s, you will enjoy this one!

Cole Slaw

This deli coleslaw was very good – not too sweet or sour. Very plain but actually that’s what I personally think is best because you are probably eating it with a meat that is slightly on the salty side and I like the coleslaw to be under seasoned.

Cole Slaw - J's Deli Palm Desert

Beef Barley Soup

The beef barley soup was “very good” according to my Aunt Norma. It was a bit on the thick side and very hearty.

Beef Barley Soup - J's Deli Palm Desert

Fresh Roasted Turkey Deli Melt

This sandwich was excellent. As Josh exclaimed “That was a damn good sandwich!”

Fresh Roasted Turkey Melt - J's Deli Palm Desert

Service Issues

An ongoing issue since the restaurant opened has been quality and consistency in food preparation and also in customer service. In preparing for our visit, I read every single review online and these were common themes that were apparent across hundreds of reviews.

Unfortunately we did experience a few issues too, so it appears these issues are ongoing and will continue until management fixes them.

During our visit, we ate in the evening and the heaters were supposed to be turned on. It took at least three staff members for us to make the request to, but they never really fixed the issue and the heaters never turned on during the entire meal.

Personally this only bothered me slightly but it had a negative impact on some of our party and gave them a less favorable first time impression of the restaurant. These types of  service issues that can turn customers off very quickly when they feel the service is not responsive or able to fix issues.

Also, the table had a bit of a wobble. They fixed it slightly, but one of the servers said that all the tables had that issue. But one would expect these issues to be fixed by attentive staff being proactive, versus waiting for customers to complain.

My personal take is that the staff should be more well trained and resolving these issues to have a higher level of customer satisfaction.

The Final Word

J’s Deli is a solid new addition to the food scene in the Palm Springs area. The space is beautiful and has very modern touches, especially when compared to many other Jewish Delis I have reviewed on this site. It also has a nice bar area, and overall the restaurant is quite large. Overall, J’s Deli has a very diverse menu that’s quite impressive, ranging from all day breakfast to a broad range of soups to all of the standard old school Jewish deli classics.

See also  Best Things on the Einstein Bagels Menu

The menu is quite diverse. It offers an all-day breakfast and I will have to make a return visit this year to try some other dishes.

The staff was friendly but there were some gaps in the service. I’m not a restaurant professional so I’m not 100% sure the cause of the issues but suspect it is from either inattentive management or inexperienced staff that has not been trained on the nuances of interactions with customers.  I hope they are able to fix those issues and improve their reputation and ratings.

If they manage to iron things out, I believe they will be in business for a long time and earn a passionate following. I would definitely recommend you try J’s Deli if you are in the Palm Dessert area for sure!

So back to the question from the intro – is J’s the best Jewish deli in the area? Honestly, I’m not quite sure. It has many things going for it, but it feels like something is preventing it from hitting its stride. Not quite sure what that is exactly, but it has so much potential and I want it to succeed, so I hope it can fix the issues and rise to the next level.

If J’s Deli in Palm Desert continues to improve and fix the ongoing issues (service issues and occasional food inconsistency/quality issues), it certainly can emerge as the top deli in the Coachella Valley and has potential to rise to become part of the Top Jewish Delis in the United States.

J’s Deli – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is J’s Deli “dog friendly”?

Dogs are allowed on the outside patio only (not inside). So please be aware of this.

Does J’s Deli have outdoor seating?

Yes, they have ample outdoor seating with two different outdoor seating areas. The larger section on the side has overhead awnings to protect against the sun during the day and also outdoor overhead heating for cool winter nights in the desert.