Eisenberg’s Sandwich Shop

I have taken a great deal of pleasure in rewatching Seinfeld since its debut on Hulu earlier this summer. For years after its end I watched it in syndication and that’s where my affection/obsession with it took shape, where it solidified as my favourite television show. I could always count on it to be on at some point, and I could catch an episode and enjoy it on its own. But without proper cable the past few years, that comfort no longer exists. I welcomed the Hulu news. Watching sequentially has significantly deepened my attachment to the show, especially now that I’m a single adult, a single New Yorker, to boot. All of the dating jokes and observations are more meaningful and relevant now, and even 20 years later, they are still so on point. Naturally I became a Curb Your Enthusiasm fan, and when I was first watching, the Larry David connection to the older show was undeniable. But now rewatching both, I’m struck with just how much Seinfeld is his, and how you can tell where he might have started to lose steam and then leave. Definitely a lesser form of entertainment post-LD. I can’t deny that I’m more Team Larry than Team Jerry.

This is not the first time I’ve declared my love for Larry. About 10 years ago, in honour of my feelings and to mark new beginnings in a happy apartment setting, I threw a Larry David party. It was just an excuse to have a proper get together with a bunch of friends and to think of as many Seinfeld/Curb foods as I could. (Mackinaw) peach gum, edible underwear, apple pie, Jujy fruit, black and white cookies (I wasn’t ambitious enough to bake babka). And that with the most sustenance, the Larry David nee Ted Danson sandwich: turkey, swiss, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing. On rye, please. Although this sandwich wasn’t grilled, for all intents and purposes, it’s really a turkey Reuben.

Eisenberg’s Sandwich Shop in the Flatiron makes a decent version. Of course, pastrami or corned beef is the Reuben norm, but the less aggressive flavour of turkey makes for a less gut-busting, and thus more welcome, sandwich experience. The rye looks too dark in the photo, but it was grilled to perfection, stiff enough to hold everything in place well without being too crunchy. The swiss cheese oozed and pulled upon first separating the two halves. The dressing was creamy and kept any dryness from the bread in check. The tang of the sauerkraut balanced the richness of the dressing and the cheese. And the turkey, although salty and flavourful, was just the backdrop. A Reuben for those who want the condiments to be just as punchy as the meat. A delicious sandwich, but it should not be named for Larry. Too many people would like a turkey Reuben. Larry needs a sandwich that only a sandwich artist could love.

Given the chill in the air that afternoon and Eisenberg’s place as a Jewish deli of some repute, I also had a bowl of matzoh ball soup. Hot and just salty enough, the chicken broth was filled with carrots and celery, and a (too) few shreds of chicken. I didn’t need the broth-logged noodles, but they made for a heartier dish. I get their place. The matzoh ball could have been a little firmer, but that’s a quibble. I will happily have another bowl one day.

Now, do we know if there’s a Palestinian chicken restaurant in the city?

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