Steak-ing a Claim
Deming's Adobe Deli is an off-the-beaten-path delight.
Story and photos by Peggy Platonos
I first heard about the Adobe Deli while attending a ranch rodeo in Deming last fall. "If you like a really good steak, that's the place to go," I was told by the mother of one of the local ranch hands competing in the rodeo. She told me it was several miles out of town and gave me directions. I headed out with high hopes.
Adobe Deli owner Van Jacobsen stands behind the deli counter that was added about two years ago. Patrons can purchase sliced meats and cheeses now and build their own sandwiches at home.
About five miles into desolate countryside, I decided I must have misunderstood the directions, and gave up. I simply did not believe that there could possibly be a restaurant of any kind out there in the middle of nowhere, drawing in enough people to survive.
Well, there is. I just hadn't gone far enough.
The Adobe Deli is located 11 miles from the center of Deming. And it is, with all due apologies to the dairy farms and ranches scattered sparsely through that region, located in the middle of nowhere.
You follow Pine Street through town, heading east, and where the road forks, you keep right instead of going onto the Interstate, and then you go eight miles and eventually come to Lewis Flats Road, where you turn right and proceed about a mile to the point where the paved road turns into a dirt road. You probably won't be sure you're actually in the right place the first time you go, but you are. That little cluster of buildings is it. You can't really make a mistake because there's simply nothing else nearby.
Once you pull into the parking area, the building to your right with the gigantic American flag on the outside wall is where the restaurant, bar, cigar lounge and deli counter are all located. The building across the driveway to the left is the banquet hall, which can accommodate parties of up to 300 people.
The main building was the old Lewis Flats schoolhouse. Van Jacobsen bought the property through a sealed-bid auction in 1978, and he and his wife, Victoria (Vickie), along with his parents, Andrew and Edna Jacobsen, opened the deli there. It's not clear whether launching this venture in such an unlikely location was undertaken with faith, hope or desperation. Van simply says, laconically, "Well, we had the property and we had to do something with it."
He had owned several delis back east, so that seemed the logical choice. And the gamble has paid off. "It took time for people to find it," Jacobsen says, "but if you have good food, people will come."
The Adobe Deli is open for both lunch and dinner, but the menus are worlds apart. The lunch menu features traditional deli-style sandwiches, ranging in price from $5.99 to $9.99. The dinner menu is much grander, though some sandwiches are available then, too.
Dinner is where you find the steaks: filet mignon ($23), flat iron ($22.50), T-bone ($23.50), ribeye ($25.50), NY strip ($24.50) and Porterhouse ($26.50). It's also where you find the barbequed pork ribs ($24.50) and the halibut ($20.50) and the Duck L'Orange ($19) and the Alaska King Crab legs ($26.50) and the broiled salmon steak ($19.50) and the shrimp scampi ($19.50) and the pork chops ($17.50), not to mention the osso buco ($19) and the beef kabobs ($22).
For people with smaller appetites or smaller budgets, the dinner menu also includes a sandwich section with such perennial favorites as burgers, hotdogs, French dip, BBQ and hero sandwiches.
The lighting at night in the high-ceilinged dining area is subdued, though there's light enough to see the adobe bar at one end that gives the place half of its name. The selection of drinks offered is vast: 182 types of tequila, Van says proudly, and more than 300 different types of wine, including selections from the two Deming wineries, St. Clair and Luna Rossa. And, of course, as the dinner menu whimsically states: "Have no fear, the beer is here!" A dozen kinds of draft beer are available, along with bottled domestic beer, imports and microbrews.
The place has an ambience that is uniquely its own. It's rustic, with a gigantic royal elk head mounted on one wall, along with racks of antlers from lesser members of the animal kingdom. Heat is provided by large patio-style heaters atop tall poles. But the dining area also contains unexpected modern features, like the cinema-size television screen that takes up one whole wall, where bullriding was the featured event the night I actually managed to find the Adobe Deli for the first time. There's even an operational oxygen bar located high on a balcony overlooking the dining area, with 12 different "flavors" of oxygen to choose from.
There are other items here and there that you might not fully appreciate unless they are pointed out to you, and usually Van is around to do just that. The carpet in the dining area, for instance, came from an old hotel in El Paso where, the story goes, it was walked on by four different presidents at various times through the years. In the cigar lounge, where the walls are lined with old books, Van will point out the stuffed two-headed calf born on a local ranch, and the ceiling fan that's made from the blades of an old ranch windmill from which four cattle rustlers were hung in the days when justice was swifter than it is today.
The Adobe Deli is equipped to cater even large events, and Van and his staff put out 1,650 meals over a four-day period on the set of the most recent Indiana Jones movie. He says they can barbeque 452 ribeye steaks in 32 minutes, and will, in fact, be putting on demonstrations at a SteakFest the first weekend in October to teach people about different types of steaks and demonstrate different methods of cooking them.
The Adobe Deli, 3970 Lewis Flats Road SE, is open seven days a week. Monday through Saturday, lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and dinner is served from 5 to 10 p.m. The bar is open during the same hours. On Sundays, the dinner menu is in effect all day from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., and the bar doesn't open until noon, to conform with state regulations.
For more information, check out the website at www.AdobeDeli.com or call 546-0361.
Mimbres freelance writer Peggy Platonos is also a professional cook; you can find her Bread-Mates — items that either go with bread or are made out of bread, including soups, spreads and several types of lasagna — at Schadel's Bakery in Silver City. Send her tips for restaurant reviews at email@example.com or call 536-2997.