Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Dry-mouthed and Smiling

What’s a perfect end to a concert at Carnegie Hall? A big-ass sandwich at Carnegie Deli! Just take a quick walk around the 7th Avenue corner from the world famous concert hall and you will find the place that gave New York City delis a name. Since it’s opening in 1937, this world class deli has enjoyed the patronage of pre and post concert goers as well as anyone hungry enough to take out a sandwich stacked with six inches of meat.

At first step through the door you get a sense that this is no ordinary corner deli. Signed pictures of celebrities and public figures that have eaten there cover the walls like trophies. Everyone who sits down at the 40-seat restaurant is greeted with a free plate of deli style pickles (which I suspect are home-made due to fact that they did not taste quite ready to come out of the jar).

Looking at the long list of sandwiches on the menu, I know there is only one that I truly came for - hot pastrami($14.95). Everyone from popular New York Times critic, Mimi Sheraton (1979), to Dr. Phil have raved about the pastrami; and the fact that the deli pickles, cures, and smokes it’s own meat, I knew I was in for a unique taste. That’s exactly what I got. The salty, spicy, pink beef was bursting with flavor. The rye bread that failed at holding sandwich together only served as a small side to the meat. After two bites the sandwich fell apart. Giving up on eating with my hands, I covered the mess on my plate with spicy brown mustard, picked up the fork and knife, and dug into the medley of flavors.

I’m glad I chose until after the show to take on the Carnegie challenge. With a stomach full of meat and mustard I was asleep in less than 30 minutes but woke up dry-mouthed and smiling.