For decades, Benjie's Deli in SanTana has served up the best latkes, matzoh ball soup and towering pastrami and corned beef sandwiches this side of the Hudson. The adjoining bar, formerly known as the Bamboo Lounge, was a nice watering hole, where you could still enjoy the daily specials with a Bud or Miller Lite.
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Owners Lloyd and Noriko Weinstein have recently remodeled the bar and renamed it Avenue K, the street in Brooklyn where Lloyd grew up. Rolling up his sleeves and doing some of the work himself, Lloyd transformed Avenue K into a beautiful and comfortable lounge with plenty of big-screen TV's to watch your favorite teams play, including those Brooklyn Dodgers—yes, Blue Crew fans: Avenue K has Vin Scully!
Bartender Noelle is pouring some great-tasting craft beers to go along with the new bar menu. Already a favorite is the half sandwich (corned beef, pastrami, ham, turkey, roast beef, tuna or egg salad with a side of coleslaw, potato or macaroni salad) for $6. Prime rib sliders, Kobe Beef sliders, wings, brisket quesadilla are all bomb, and try the Ruben Fritters, a Lloyd original ADM!(Ay, Dios Mio).
Wash down whatever you eat with some suds. The fruity Luponic Distortion Revolutiion No. 001 by Firestone Walker Brewing Co. American IPA (5.9% ABV) is like Stone's Enjoy By series, changing every 90 days. Coconut, chocolate, and coffee are prominent in the Ken Schmidt Aloha Plenty American Porter by Iron Fist Brewing Co. (9.3% ABV). But the unsung hero at Avenue K is, well, Unsung Brewing's Anthia IPA (7.5% ABV). Opening soon in Anaheim, Unsung's IPA has the complexity of a veteran brewmaster. Mango, pineapple and a touch of banana, Anthia is smooth, hearty and barely bitter. Unsung Brewing isn't widely distributed, but you can find it right here at Avenue K, m'kay?
Avenue K, 1828 N. Tustin Ave., Santa Ana, (714) 541-6263; benjiesdeli.com