I have been there many nights, post a Lower East Side tipple or two. It sits there, glowing in neon, with cured meats hanging in the window calling forth a sweet siren song of pickles and corned beef sandwiches. How could anyone resist that kind of lure?
First thing you need to realize, it actually is a deli. You get a ticket, there are samples of meat for tasting handed out at the counters. You can still buy large quanities of deli specialties in bulk. There are different counters for what you are looking for, a knish counter, the knockwurst and hot dog counter, the deli meat counter, and of course the hot sliced pastrami, brisket, and corned beef sandwich counters.
Everything really did look good. For instance, I’m not a knockwurst type of guy, but when I saw a knockwurst sandwich piled up with kraut and mustard pass me by, I have to admit that I was intrigued. My associate the Machine ordered the corned beef Reuben which looked amazing. However, wanting to stick to tradition I went with an unadulterated pastrami on rye with a bit of mustard.
The sandwich was around 14 dollars. It was however very large, on par with the value at most of the Jewish deli’s in this burgh. The meat was all freshly sliced by the man behind the counter, almost lovingly stacked on soft rye bread. Everything was moist, not overcooked, well-spiced and tasty. Was it the best pastrami in the city? I won’t go that far, but it is a contender. They also hand you a large plate of pickles with your order. I always go with the garlic dill, (the super sour ones) the green ones taste too much like plain old cucumbers. If you really crave a garlicky taste explosion, I recommend the pickled tomatoes… they are no joke. The knishes were pretty amazing too. The potato inside is like molten lava though, so be forewarned- don’t chomp into these things immediately because they are piping hot. Let them sit a bit. Spread some mustard on them, look at the celebrity pictures on the wall, eavesdrop on the tourists, and finish your sandwich first… that is if you want to avoid a trip to the ER.
What was the proof you ask? See above.