Saginaw’s Delicatessen is a Jewish-style deli located inside the Circa Resort on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas. Before businessman Derek Stevens opened the Circa in December 2020, he searched the country for the best culinary talent. He hoped to feature new and exciting restaurants in his resort, as part of the revitalization of downtown Las Vegas.
Lets go back in time first. In 1982, Paul Saginaw helped open Zingerman’s located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Over the years, the deli and bakery gained a huge following with locals including University of Michigan students. They came for the delicious food and excellent service. One of those students was Derek Stevens. So, when Stevens was opening his resort, he decided to add a 24 hour delicatessen like the one from his college days. Saginaw, a native of Michigan, made the move to Las Vegas to help run his new venture, Saginaw’s Delicatessen.
Today, the menu at Saginaw’s Delicatessen echoes the tried and true menu at Zingerman’s. This includes big corned beef sandwiches that need two hands to pick up and matzo ball soup. And, they are open 24 hours a day, with all day breakfast, so you can satisfy your craving any hour of the day.
The Circa is a beautiful resort. Not surprisingly, the décor at Saginaw’s Delicatessen was also beautiful. The interior of the dining room was bright and open. I felt as if I was in an old deli in Detroit with photographs on the walls, cozy lighting, and intricate tin ceilings. But, at the same time, the space felt modern, clean, and that it belonged at the Circa. Scattered around the cozy dining room were many tables and booths.
At Saginaw’s, there was no dedicated table service. You will need to order, get a number, find a table, and wait for your food. To the left of the entrance, past the statue of Paul Saginaw, was a short line of people waiting to order. It is here were I waited in line for a few minutes and ordered with the friendly cashier. After placing my order, I was given a number. I then found a table and waited for my food to be brought out to me by one of the staff members.
Saginaw’s Delicatessen Menu
Whenever I visit a new restaurant, I like to look up the menu before going. Looking at the menu before helps me get a better understanding of the food served at the restaurant. And, sometimes I decide what to order before I even go.
This was not the case when I visited Saginaw’s. For some reason, as a deli, I assumed they only served sandwiches. And while they did have a great selection of sandwiches, the menu at Saginaw’s Delicatessen was much larger than expected. Other than grilled and non-grilled sandwiches, they had appetizers, breakfast, omelettes, salads, sides, and desserts. They even had a shrimp cocktail, a Las Vegas classic. If you are a vegetarian, you will also find a few selections. While not the cheapest, there were many great options to choose from including corned beef sandwiches and matzo ball soup. Sandwiches are big, so come hungry.
Other than food, the menu featured an assortment of drinks including soft drinks, tea, coffee, juice, milk, and draft beer.
#4 Ben Sherman’s Corned Beef & Pastrami
While there were many great options on the menu to choose from, I went for the #4 Ben Sherman’s Corned Beef & Pastrami ($22.00). This grilled sandwich was made with hot corned beef, pastrami, lettuce, tomato, and Russian dressing on Pullman bread . Served on the side was a pickle, house-made chips, and more Russian dressing for dipping. They weren’t lying when they said you needed two hands to pick this sandwich up. This thing was big and I felt the size justified the price.
So you might be wondering, what is the difference between corned beef and pastrami? With corned beef, you take brisket, cure it in a salt brine of pickling spices, and boil it. With pastrami, you take the deckle or navel, season it with a rub, and smoke it. Saginaw’s rub was made with pepper, mustard seed, allspice, coriander, and burnt sugar. And, Saginaw’s imports all their beef from Detroit’s Sy Ginsberg’s Meat & Deli, so you know it’s high quality.
Stuffed inside the two slices of pullman bread was hot corned beef and pastrami. While similar, each meat added a distinct flavor to the sandwich. If you are wondering what pullman bread is, it’s white bread baked in a pullman pan. The bread, grilled until golden brown on the outside, was fluffy and soft on the inside. I appreciated how the bread never fell apart, even when topped with meat, veggies, and sauce.
I was a big fan of the pastrami and I could taste all its smoky flavors in each bite. The meat was smoky, salty, and rich with the perfect amount of fatty goodness. A thin sliver of fat running through each piece of pastrami added an explosion of flavor. And, it was so tender that it melted in my mouth. The corned beef, while as tender as the pastrami, was simpler in flavor. Its bright pink color, the result of its brine, was beautiful. The brine also resulted in a salty, bright flavor that complemented the smoky pastrami.
Mixed in with the meat was a thick slice of tomato and crunchy iceberg lettuce. The vegetables added both texture and helped cut through the richness of the salty and smoky meat. Also mixed in with the meat and vegetables was a slather of thick, creamy Russian dressing. This sauce, made with ketchup and mayo, was oh so garlicky. The garlic also gave the sauce a spicy bite.
Pickles and Potatoes
No meal at a Jewish deli is complete without a dill pickle. At Saginaw’s, all sandwiches came with a new pickle or old pickle. New pickles were crunchy with a fresh, cucumber flavor. Old pickles were garlic cured and traditional in flavor. Both pickles were house-made.
As for me, I went for the old pickle. This pickle was crunchy yet tender on the outside while soft on the inside. It tasted like a traditional salty pickle but with a distinct garlicky taste. If you love garlic, you will love the old pickle. If you don’t, go for the new pickle instead.
Along with the pickle, sandwiches came with warm, house-made chips. While simple, these chips were addicting. Each salty, rich chip was just the right thickness allowing for the perfect, crunchy bite. Don’t forget to dunk your chips in the same thick, garlicky Russian sauce served on the side.
The food was great, but the service might have been even better. Even though it was late at night, and this was my first visit, I felt welcomed by the friendly staff. The staff was always around to help from the moment I ordered until I left. Being my first time, I appreciated how the cashier gave me her recommendations. And, food arrived quickly and correctly. Whenever I needed anything, whether a glass of water or a to go container, an employee was around to help. And, they did it with a smile on their face. The customer service could not have been any better. Even without taking the food into consideration, I would return for the service alone.
While not the cheapest option on Fremont Street, Saginaw’s Delicatessen did not disappoint. Everything from the food to the menu to the décor to the customer service was fantastic. No matter what you order, whether a sandwich or all day breakfast, you are going to get something good. Just thinking about the corned beef and pastrami sandwich makes me want to go back to Saginaw’s Delicatessen right now. Since it is open 24 hours, maybe I will.
- High-quality, well cooked corned beef and pastrami imported from Detroit
- Excellent and friendly customer service
- Impressive menu featuring endless options
- Large portions
- Beautiful décor
- Open 24 hours
- All day breakfast
- Expensive when compared to other dining options on Fremont Street
8 E Fremont St, Las Vegas, NV 89101
GPS Coordinates: 36.17221,-115.14571
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