After two decades of eating around New York City I finally got my fress on at Eisenberg’s Sandwich Shop last week. Funny thing is my first job out of college was right around the corner. I’m not sure what kept me away back then, but these days the proximity of Ben’s Best Deli to my home does a good job.
But back to Eisenberg’s. Gotta love a joint whose slogan is “Raising New York’s Cholesterol Since 1929.” That cholesterol along with plenty of schmaltz and New York attitude has also managed preserve the old school deli tradition.
My pal Drew, clearly an old hand at dining in the joint’s bustling lunch time atmosphere, humored me as I briefly considered the shrimp salad sandwich. “I always get the combo Reuben,” Drew said. Between his cajoling and the waitress’ claim that it was “the best thing in the house,” my choice was made, and I am glad it was. And it wasn’t just any plain vanilla Reuben either, but a combo of pastrami and corned beef. Well worth it for $13, too. The dynamic duo of deli meats, kraut, and cheese almost put me in an old school deli coma.
As for Ben’s Best, the purveyor of pastrami and other fine deli meats, which opened in 1945, does a fine job of carrying the deli torch for Queens. The pastrami’ss lovely, but my go-to meal is half sandwich—cold luscious beef tongue in my case—and chicken noodle soup combo. “It takes real self-control not to get the corned beef or pastrami. Or maybe if you go there all the time,” a friend quipped on Instagram. Assuredly my choice is all about preference, not self-control.
So now for the $64,000 question: What’s your favorite old-school deli sandwich? Are you partial to pastrami, a corned beef craver, or perhaps a Rueben fancier, or some other creation? Let me know in the comments kids. For the record I’m eager to try Eisenberg’s chopped liver and pastrami; it’s sure to raise both cholesterol and spirits.
Eisenberg’s Sandwich Shop, 174 Fifth Ave., 212-675-5097
Ben’s Best, 96-40 Queens Blvd., Rego Park, 718- 897-1700