But in the end I decided to get the Combo Reuben: corned beef and pastrami.
"Well," I said, "I know you're going to let me try yours."
It was delicious, a nice refreshing treat on a muggy day. But I'm glad I didn't get my own: two sips was enough for me.
The waitress had asked if we wanted any sides, and almost as an afterthought we decided to split some fries. The menu says they're steak fries and I wasn't really optimistic: most of the time - I would say 90% - restaurants don't cook steak fries long enough and they come out as mealy, unpleasant pieces of potato. But Junior's cooked their steak fries properly, and properly-cooked steak fries are awesome, crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy inside.
New York Deli - but it was still plenty of food.
And besides, quality is better than quantity, and this was awesome. Just a great sandwich. The pastrami had just the right amount of melt-in-your-mouth fat; the brisket was lean and tender, and there was the perfect amount of sauerkraut. Not too much to drown out the meats but enough to serve as a nice, sour complement.
There were three sections of the sandwich, so I tried them three different ways. My favorite was with the Thousand Island dressing: slightly sweet with plenty of pickles.
When you hear that a restaurant has been in business for more than 60 years, you assume they are doing something right. The only complaint I could come up with is that Junior's prices are on the high side for a place that bills itself as a diner. But then again, most places around here are more expensive than you expect them to be. The service was very good and the food was great. I decided I would not hesitate to return.
A few days later, Elizabeth's parents were in town and they suggested dinner at Junior's. We said we'd love to go. They sat us only a couple of tables away from where we'd sat the last time. Despite the fact that this dinner was close to 8 PM and it was not blazing hot outside, the air conditioner was blasting just as strongly.
(Kathy ordered a special of the month: fried shrimp, buffalo wings and riblets in a Thai-ginger glaze. I took a few pictures of her plate but the light was dying by this point and none of them turned out good enough to use.)
Because (for some reason) Elizabeth had also gotten fries with her turkey sandwich and couldn't eat more than a few of them, I was able to finish her potatoes and satisfy my hunger with just one of my sandwiches, so I could take the other one with me.
"Take the extra Junior's bags," Rick said. "They're a status symbol."
If that was a joke, it was funny. And if that wasn't a joke, well, that's even funnier.
I will definitely be back to Junior's.