Across the country, nostalgia tends to sell well when it comes
to dining. Smaller towns play up their "historic" downtown areas,
and old drug stores, diners and soda shops are often restored to
resemble a simpler and "more innocent" time for America.
Eisenberg's Sandwich Shop, a throwback from another era for
sure, is a different breed. It's been so consistently busy and
beloved since opening in 1929, they just never bothered to change
anything. The takeout line extending out the door and the busy
lunch counter attest that this is no museum, but rather a no-frills
sandwich shop that serves up hefty portions of comforting classics.
The sign out front says it best, "You either get it or you
don't." Its popularity might confound the average Yelper or
anyone expecting anything frilly, fusion-y, locally sourced or
artisanal (whatever this actually means), but those who can
appreciate the simplicity of a tuna salad sandwich, a hearty bowl
of matzo ball soup and a proper Lime Rickey will "get it."
As for my most excellent dining adventure at Eisenberg's, I went
with an oversized egg salad sandwich on wheat with bacon. The egg
salad overflowing from the sandwich leaned more heavily egg than
mayo (success!), and unsurprisingly, bacon turned out to
be a wise choice (when is it not?), as crispy crumbled
bits added a textural dimension. A serviceable side of
steak fries and a brilliant, not-too-sugary Lime Rickey completed
the experience. Other classic sandwiches include the likes of
chopped liver, the tuna melt, the BLT and the corned beef and
pastrami sandwich with Swiss cheese and slaw. The matzo ball soup
draws rave reviews, as well. Eisenberg's is also one of the few
remaining places in the city where one can get an egg cream, an old
school favorite consisting of chocolate syrup, milk and soda water,
but neither eggs nor cream. In fact, if you can identify all of the
celebrities in the photos behind the counter, you are entitled to a
free egg cream - my dining companions and I couldn't recognize them
all, but we were familiar with a disgruntled looking Cynthia Nixon
scowling over us while we dined.
I came in expecting Eisenberg's to be more about nostalgia and
old New York ambience than the food. As I left completely stuffed
and satisfied, I realized it's likely still around not because of
our penchant for looking backwards with sentimentality, but because
the food they serve is simply timeless.
"Raising New York's Cholesterol Since 1929"