Here goes another adventure in my weekday work lunches! I had been wanting to try Eisenberg’s Sandwich Shop because it kept popping up every time I searched for good places to get lunch in the Union Square/Flatiron area, but I was deterred for a while because of the Yelp images I saw, which made it seem like it was just a narrow little place with only counter seating. One afternoon when I was planning on getting lunch with just 2 friends, I thought, “Well there’s not that many of us. It should work!”
Eisenberg’s is a very retro-New York diner. Or at least what I imagine in my head to be an old-school diner in NYC. That’s mainly due to the fact that there’s a long counter with swivel stool seating where you can sit, eat, and see the cooks making your food right there. I was happily surprised when we saw that there was actually some table seating in the back of the restaurant. Don’t get me wrong, Eisenberg’s is still super tiny. If you’re in the area with table seating, there still aren’t many tables and they’re pretty cramped together. When we went for lunch, the place was packed and they told us we could sit at the counter immediately or wait a bit for a table. I think people were eating fairly quickly since it was their lunch hour too, so we didn’t have to wait too long to get seated in the back. It’s pretty cool actually because they have a little TV at the front, showing what’s going on the back so they know exactly when a table opens up so there’s no time wasted.
As soon as we sat down, we were served a plate of pickles to snack on. I ordered a pastrami reuben and an egg cream and we all split an order of fries. The reuben was SO tasty. It’s different from places like Katz’s and 2nd Avenue Deli because it’s not nearly as massive, which is not necessarily a bad thing if you’re just looking for a quick lunch or you don’t want to spend $15+ for a sandwich, and the bread is toasted. Actually, the whole sandwich is grilled so that it’s all hot and gooey, which I really like. I also prefer my pastrami thinly sliced, which they do here too. And the egg cream. I really didn’t have any idea what this was, but I did know that it was a drink and that it was a very “New York thing” (come to find out it was allegedly invented in Brooklyn). When I ordered it, the waitress asked if I wanted it “chocolate,” and since I had no idea if that was normal or not I just said yes, because well, I like chocolate. Turns out an egg cream doesn’t involve eggs or cream and is instead a milky, carbonated drink, which if you get the chocolate version, tastes basically like chocolate soda. I can dig it.
If you feel like taking a step back in time to “traditional” old-timey New York eating, then I think Eisenberg’s Sandwich Shop is worth a visit. And if that doesn’t grab you, the menu proudly declares the restaurant as “Raising New York’s cholesterol since 1929.” That’s always a sign of deliciousness, right?
Pastrami reuben, fries, egg cream
174 5th Ave
New York, NY 10010