Izzy’s corned beef creds are unsurpassed in the Greater Cincy market. In fact, almost all of the corned beef competition in this town has been pushed to the curb by this venerable deli. The reason for the exodus is simple: patrons, especially Jewish ones, look to Izzy’s to fulfill their corned beef cravings. Izzy’s touts its deli locations as having The World’s Greatest Reuben sandwiches. All that starts with great corned beef.
But there is more to Izzy’s sandwich offerings than slabs of bread with corned beef between them. Much more. Some of the sandwiches are stars in their own right, according to John Geisen, owner, and hands-on operator, of today’s Izzy’s. “Our roasted turkey sandwich is a very good sandwich too. I’d say that right under the corned beef, the turkey is the next biggest for us. It’s a really good sandwich!”
What makes this turkey sandwich so good? Part of the goodness comes from the quality of the turkey, Geisen thinks. “It’s an all-natural turkey breast that is oven-roasted. We don’t do the roasting. We have a company roast it for us, because there are so many particulars in getting it perfect — hard to do in house, especially with the amount we go through. So, it’s fresh-roasted and we slice it down (for sandwiches) at each location,” he said, adding that these breasts are solid meat, and not the pressed and filler-added slices you are likely to find on other turkey sandwiches around this town. The sandwich features a generous portion of the sliced turkey, topped with lettuce and tomato, on your choice of white, wheat or rye. It’s served with a potato pancake and Izzy’s proprietary pickles.
We tried the turkey sandwich platter, and Geisen is spot-on in his description. The roasted turkey is tasty, tender, and delicious. It’s piled high, so lots of meat on that sandwich, and along with the potato pancake and pickles, it’s a meal for sure. If you like roast turkey, I’m betting you’ll love Izzy’s sandwich and all the rest.
Another sandwich worthy of accolades is the Codfather, according to Geisen. “It’s been so popular as a seasonal sandwich that we had to add it to the menu because our customers kept asking for it. The Codfather is the best fish sandwich in the Cincinnati market. It’s just that good,” Geisen claimed.
Not surprisingly, the Codfather features cod, wild-caught in the icy waters of the North Atlantic off Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. Those waters produce the sweetest, firmest, flakiest of all the cod in the world’s oceans. Each cod filet is battered in Izzy’s proprietary coating that produces a crunchy, tasty shell which keeps the fish moist, firm, and delectable. Piping hot from the fryer, the cod is placed on a brioche bun and topped with a combination of shredded lettuce and tartar sauce. Dining Out has a bit of experience with fish sandwiches, and Izzy’s Codfather is our favorite, hands down. It’s mouthwatering!
Next in popularity, especially in summer months, is Izzy’s tuna salad sandwich. Again, the secret to its popularity may be found in the key ingredient — tuna. “The tuna salad sandwich is big for us. We use white albacore tuna — no dark meat of the tuna. We use just all white (meat) because it makes a better-tasting sandwich, and you never have that fishy or gamey flavor. For our tuna salad, we use Sechler pickle relish, a sweet relish, out of Chicago, a Jewish relish-maker there,” Geisen said. In checking, Sechler Pickles was founded sometime in the 1920s, in St. Joe, Indiana, north of Fort Wayne. The company has been producing a full line of pickles and pickled products for nearly a century.
“The relish is just right for our recipe, and we use Duke’s mayonnaise — the very best you can get, and that combination — the tuna, the relish, mayonnaise — along with some onion and herbs and spices, all of it makes a great tuna salad. We sell a lot of our tuna salad sandwiches on a telera roll. Just a very good sandwich, and especially good in the summer,” Geisen stated.
Speaking of summer and tastes his patrons enjoy during the warm months, Geisen recommended “the perfect summer dessert” to go with the sandwich of your choice — key lime pie. “The key lime pie is a limited-time offer — only for the summer months. It’s a light, fresh-tasting, cool dessert item and it’s the right size and price,” he said. Looks delicious, for sure.
See you at Izzy’s!