When I was wandering around the city with my brother who was visiting, we needed somewhere close by to eat since it had just started to rain harder. A quick Yelp search showed me that Sarge’s Deli was right around the corner and it sounded perfect. My brother could try some New York pastrami sandwiches–piled high and better than any other pastrami in the country. Good for me too because I realized that a hot serving of soup would be just what I needed after walking around with soaked boots all morning.
Sarge’s Deli is a cozy, diner-esque restaurant with plenty of tables and booths and a friendly and attentive staff. When you sit down you get a complimentary serving of cole slaw and some pickles. It just dawned on me that this is totally New York’s equivalent to the Mexican restaurants in Texas that I’m used to that immediately give you free chips and salsa. I also just learned that the dark green pickles are “full-sours” or cucumbers that have fully fermented, while the bright green ones aren’t kept in the brine as long and are called “half-sours.” Team full-sour over here.
As with other places similar to this one (2nd Avenue Deli, Carnegie Deli…) the menu is HUGE, but I always pass up all the appetizers, entrees, salads, and breakfast foods, because I only want one thing. A hot pastrami sandwich. Sarge’s has a deal where you can get half a sandwich and a soup for $13.95 compared to a whole sandwich for around $15, which is just perfect for me because I have never been able to finish one pastrami sandwich at any place in New York City and I probably never will. Also, remember that whole rainy day situation? Soup please!
When I showed my brother a Yelp picture of the pastrami sandwiches so he would know what he was getting into, he asked, “Is that the double?” No way Jose. I know that everything is bigger in Texas, but New York pastrami sandwiches are on another level. My brother deemed Sarge’s sandwich the best pastrami sandwich he’s ever had, and I don’t blame him. New York has spoiled me, and I’ll probably be ruined for life whenever I leave. He had also never had matzo ball soup before so he copied me and ordered some as well. We both declared that while simple, the soup was completely satisfying and heartwarming. Matzo ball soup is really just chicken consomme, or in other words flavorful, clear soup made from chicken stock. It’s pretty much the simplest soup there is, but there’s something so homey and comforting about it that it doesn’t need to be complicated to be good. Also, the portion size, with that giant doughy matzo ball in the middle, is huge, especially since it was just part of the half sandwich and soup order.
Compared to the other traditional New York delis out there, Sarge’s is much less touristy and I can’t imagine that you’ll find this place swarmed by out-of-towners. Instead you’ll see locals, relaxed and enjoying some great deli food, and isn’t it always a good sign if locals eat there? Also, the place is open 24/7 to fulfill your giant sandwich needs at any hour. And we all have those 2 AM moments, don’t we?
Half sandwich and soup
548 3rd Ave
New York, NY 10016