April 11, 2011

Get the Pastrami! (2nd Ave Deli)

I have had the pastrami of my dreams, and you should, too. Succulent, buttery pastrami that damn near melts in your mouth. Humina humina!

As you may recall, we have a generous boss who takes the whole crew out once a quarter for a free lunch. It's always at a great place--some of our trips have been to Turkish Kitchen, Victor's, Ammos, and Artisanal. This trip, however, took us to the 2nd Avenue Deli (which is on 3rd avenue now, long story). I sat down at our table, ordered a diet cream soda (!!), and tore into that expansive menu.

First up was an order of kasha, hulled buckwheat and onions with noodles. This is a favorite of some of the folks at the table, but I wasn't a fan. I think buckwheat just isn't my thing. A little too nutty for me.

They brought us copious amounts of cole slaw and pickles, all delicious. Even the cole slaw! Which I normally hate! I liked their version because it was vinegary, not creamy. I like tangy. :)

Our boss also ordered some fried kreplach for everyone. These were chewy, dumpling-like packets of seasoned beef--powerfully flavorful. I ate TWO.

Several people there ordered the mushroom barley soup, which was a very generous serving of a very delicious soup. It was more my style--I'm a barley girl. I tried a bit of a neighbor's and found it extremely satisfying, especially in this stubbornly cold weather.

My boss & I opted to split the ginormous sandwich platter: a whole sandwich of pastrami and a whole sandwich of corned beef (we'd each take a half of each flavor). The corned beef was fine, especially with a slathering of spicy mustard (I heart it!) but ZOH MAH GAH THE PASTRAMI. It was amazingly tender, almost like butter, and my teeth just sank right into it and through it. I could have eaten this for days and it wouldn't be enough. I will go back just for this sandwich...so help me!

Another coworker opted for the egg salad, and she took a little ribbing for it. Egg salad at a deli place? But listen up--this egg salad was amazing. I swiped a small sample (with a-permission and b-a clean fork) and I was awestruck at how fluffly and flavorful this was. Holy cow--forget everything you know about egg salad--this place has written a whole new book on it. It was very simple but so good.

And the food kept on coming....finally we closed in on the home stretch with a shared piece of their noodle kugel--a sweet noodle dish that varies enormously from place to place. This was a hearty, toothsome dish with a bright burst of orange flavor. It was nice, it was really nice, but I don't know that I'd get it again. I liked that they served it warm.

They also brought us a platter of cookies, rugelach and more to nibble on with our coffee. I embarrassed myself by asking for half and half, but the second the words left my mouth I tried to take them right back! The deli is kosher, so there is no mixing meat and milk. Only non-dairy creamer at this place! Not my favorite option but by this point my body was in food shock, so it didn't really matter! The cookies were okay but I could (and should) have skipped them.

The final touch, and a complementary close to every meal at 2nd Avenue Deli, is the chocolate soda. It comes in a small shot-type glass, and it's just the right end to the meal--a little sweet, a little pop from the selter, and a little nostalgic flavor all in one. Skip the desserts if you go and just close with this little baby.

They are open often, they are open late, and there is never a bad time to go. Trust me--half a pastrami sandwich and a chocolate soda later, and you'll be happier for it.

2nd Avenue Deli
162 East 33rd Street
New York, NY
(212) 689-9000

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