Sara Monica Gaona is a senior at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, NJ. She is Communication major with minors in Public Relations & Sociology and will be graduating in May. She interned at The Rachael Ray Show last semester and her latest endeavor is her food blog—Small Chick Big Deals (smallchickbigdeals.com), so go check it out for yourself!
So for old time’s sake, I decided to take a stroll down Midtown East with my other half. We just came from a long commute from the Garden State to New York City, and we’re ready for lunch. As we walked down East 44th Street, my other half mentioned he’d like to go to a real, good, hearty New York Deli. Before we could even step into an estranged deli, I insisted he follow me around the corner to 696 Deli. Let’s just say he was more than satisfied with his lunch!
696 Deli - 696 3rd Ave (3rd Ave. between 43rd St. & 44th St.) I mentioned 696 in a prior review highlighting my top 5 places in Midtown East. Going there again reminded me why it was so good, and I decided I should go into more depth. If you did not read my previous blog, this is how the ratings go. I give the places I go a rating on a range from 1- based on customer service, cleanliness, atmosphere, how the food is (i.e.: quality & taste). The score as a whole will be judged out of a total score of 20! I will then tell you if I thought it was good enough to go back. (This will be featured in my restaurant reviews as well- FYI). As always I’ll mention what I recommend, etc. Ready? Here we go!
Customer Service: 5 — I was reminded once again how customer friendly they are; they were attentive when they took our order and kind. It wasn’t too crowded either so we had no problems. They were even nice enough to bring our food to the table, as we sat in the back, instead of calling us when they were ready. The cashier was kind as always and recognized me, and their prices are very people friendly so they get a good crowd of people.
Cleanliness: 5 – For a deli, it’s pretty clean and very organized categorically by food, snacks, drinks, making it very to order! The kitchen is organized as well.
Atmosphere: 4.5 — The section to order is nice-sized but the tables to eat in back is tucked in and doesn’t have tons of room. When I interned it was very friendly for to-go orders which is what most people do. But eating in back was comfy enough and the people who sat next to us were regulars and friendly.
Food quality & Taste: 5 — As I mentioned in my other blog where 696 is mentioned - their breakfast sandwiches are the best around, perfect sized and just delicious. But this time around we had lunch. My other half had the Mexican Philly Hero, which is a Mexican version of a Philly Cheese Steak, and he loved it. It was a generous size and you could probably save half of it for another day if you were not incredibly hungry. My other half was very satisfied and glad that I introduced him to 696 Deli. As for me, I decided the Cuban Hero was my first lunch dish at 696. I liked it a lot and ended up taking half of it home with me. It definitely hit the spot and I was glad to be back.
Score: 19.5/20 — Would I recommend it? Is that even a question? YES!!! If you are in Midtown East go to 696, it will fulfill your needs for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even a late night snack! Try a hero, they are only $6.95 or less, and are portioned enough for two meals if you can’t eat it all in one sitting. If you are there early and need breakfast grab a Bacon, Egg, and Cheese sandwich. I used to get it on a toasted bagel and it was delicious, and will not burn a hoel in your pocket! What can beat that?!
Go give it a try & let me know if you agree, as always keep eating!
- Small Chick