Southern Brooklyn

John’s Meat Market: Roast Beef Sandwich – The Bite

Store-roasted roast beef, provolone, and roasted peppers

Welcome back to The Bite, Sheepshead Bites’ weekly column where we explore the foodstuffs of Sheepshead Bay. Each week we check out a different offering from one of the many restaurants, delis, food carts, bakeries, butchers, fish mongers, or grocers in our neighborhood. If it’s edible, we’ll take a bite.

Today we visit a rare breed: a true butcher shop. Yes, over on Avenue X just off Coney Island Avenue there is a real butcher where you can find meat cut to order, sandwiches made by request and a small smattering of groceries.

Now The Bite hasn’t gotten into cooking yet, so I was looking for something I could eat right there in the store. Frankly, there weren’t too many options. This is a butcher shop, not a restaurant, after all, so I decided to check out the deli counter.

At John’s Meat Market they still make their own roast beef. Unlike most deli counters in the neighborhood, they haven’t been completely taken over by the evil Boar’s Head corporation.*

Here they do it old school.

In-store roasted roast beef, sliced to order. Lightly seasoned then cooked rare, this roast beef is tender, flavorful and moist, even when cold, which is essential for the deli counter. And that’s how you’ll get it at John’s – cold.

Hot or cold? That is the question.

Here in The Bay, we have two of  the city’s most famous roast beef emporiums, Roll-n-Roaster and Brennan and Carr. Both serve their roast beef sandwiches hot and dipped in au jus. But the delis and bodegas in our hood serve their roast beef cold. Which is best?

There’s arguments for both. Heat helps bring out the flavors of an ingredient, while the cold numbs the senses. A warm sandwich can use that as a crutch, offering up a poorer cut of beef with less seasonings. The heat can trick the mouth to think it’s consuming a more flavorful product than it actually is.

If the product is cold, the quality and flavorings of the ingredients have to really stand out for you to taste them and appreciate them properly. Tenderness also becomes an issue as the fibers in the cold meat pull back and toughen. It’s harder to make a cold sandwich taste and feel good. It takes balls to serve food cold.

So? Hot or cold? A cold roast beef sandwich is a great to-go meal. I can eat one of these driving or on the train. The warm roast beef dipped in au jus of Roll-n-Roaster and Brennan and Carr fame is more suited to a sit down meal with lots of napkins at the ready.

Today I was on the road. Cold it is. For a mere $5.00, John’s Meat Market serves up one of the tastiest roast beef sandwiches in town. Hot or cold. I got mine topped with roasted red peppers and provolone. Be there or be square.

John’s Meat Market, 2667 Coney Island Avenue, (718) 743-5770

John's Meat Market on Urbanspoon

*Boar’s Head makes a quality product and is my favorite mass-produced line of cold cuts and is truly not an evil corporation. Hopefully they can take a joke.

Comment policy


  1.  That sandwich indeed does look very decent.  In fact, all your food pictures look great.

  2. I’ve known about, and have enjoyed, this place for years. The service is great, as is the quality and pricing. If you haven’t tried John’s, you missing out. 

  3. Thanks. They’re not all mine. Ned and Laura have contributed as well. But this one is mine

  4. This is an excellent butcher that sandwich looks the best.  Wish I could take a bite now lol.

  5. This is an excellent butcher that sandwich looks the best.  Wish I could take a bite now lol.

  6. This is a great old time Butcher store…..  everything is always fresh and cut to order……  you have tried the rest, now try the best…!!! great service !you wont be sorry …. ask for Joey or Johh 

  7. Looks good, but I like my cheese melted and gooey!  I wouldn’t turn this down though. 

  8. This food column is one of my least favorite sections of the SHB, the other being the morning mug.  whoever writes these food reviews has the annoying habit of leaving the name and/or full address of the subject out of the front end of the story and forcing me to go to the Jump page. And contrary to my fellow readers, I druther read food reviews without photos.  

  9. We’re definitely keeping the photos. Sorry, but they’re the best part of any food column in my opinion. I like making people drool. 😉

    As for moving the address and business name above the jump, we’ll see what we can do. Thanks for the suggestion. 

  10. Come on, man…as good as the photos are, Robert’s writing usually makes me laugh my butt off. I think it is at least as good as, if not way better, than the photos…although the photos are pretty great too.

  11. Oh, I wasn’t trying to knock Robert’s writing. I love his food column. I’m the biggest fan of his food column. Just saying I ALSO love photos of food.  

  12. Thank you for making this place better known! This is the best cold roast beef I’ve had in at least 15 years. AND…they even sold me two good sized marrow bones for my 2 dogs (75 and 100 lb. dogs like something real and substantial). I’ll be back!

  13. Make your event even more special as you prepare dishes that are not commonly served during this occasion ( If you do not know what is the birthday celebrant’s favorite dish, ask around and see if you can make it yourself.


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