Pros: Extensive menu, a pleasant ambience in non-peak periods
Cons: S l o w service; useless during peak dining hours
It's a slightly pretentious-seeming place, and ridiculously overblown for something called a "deli." There are also far, far too many tables for the staff, and it's quite popular, so service is invariably slow and irritating. Still, it's a nice place to kick back if you're not in a hurry, and chow down -- the menu is absolutely massive.
The sandwiches are probably the forte' of the place, adding some shred of credibility to the "deli" idea. The combinations are a bit too creative, though -- this isn't a place that's renowned for its excellent egg salad or other deli standards. The fries are great -- absolutely tiny "shoestring" ones. The only problem is that they're almost always cold by the time they finally make it over to your table.
Broadway Deli clientele are almost entirely Santa Monica yuppies: the tourists don't seem to notice the place, ditto young people. There's a dimly-lit, lots-of-shiny-black atmosphere that helps cultivate a sort of "upscale" image to draw in the relatively well-heeled. (In bright light, it would look like a warehouse, but that's neither here nor there.) This is a fairly standard quirk in the Los Angeles area, calling something a "deli" but attaching an unspoken dress code to it. Very curious. Also curious is its potential for romantic meals -- most delis do not really cater to the lingering couple, but the Broadway has fairly plush booths and a decent amount of privacy.
I have yet to order something that wasn't a 'hit' from the menu, but reviewing their food is a task I doubt many people are up to: the menu is simply enormous. That they can handle that much food is good (most restaurants with a too-large menu suffer in several areas, it seems); the only downfall is in the sloppy service -- things that would have otherwise been great arrive cold or soggy, and good luck getting condiments if they don't show up the first time.
Given the popularity, I don't suggest going at a busy time. It's right across the street from the Santa Monica Place mall, making it a good stop after shopping -- try to hit it at the post-lunch period, or the post-dinner one, but don't go when everybody else does!
Conclusion: it's reliable, it's cozy, it's got a nice (albeit trying too hard to be "upscale") feel and comfy places to sit, the food is tasty and filling, the menu has something to please everyone, and you can save money on the tip, because you'll only see your waiter once or twice, and only for a few seconds.