I didn’t just take one day off in December, I took all its Mondays off, leaving me with a few opportunities for lunch adventures that would normally be too difficult or too rushed when I’m on the clock. Unfortunately, everyone’s new favourite bagel purveyor, Sadelle’s, is not open on Mondays, which was disappointing because I usually eat too late on weekends to be able to get there when things are fresh and because Soho and its shopping hordes do not encourage weekend visits. Something about the luxury of not having to be anywhere on a day when most people bemoan the return of having to be somewhere meant that I wanted to be somewhere more comfortable, where I could take my time, and really turn a Monday on its head by having a glass of wine with my afternoon meal.
My decision was made when I saw an Instagram post of the Gramercy Tavern’s weekly soup and sandwich special: a gussied up Egg McMuffin alongside mushroom soup. Winter has yet to arrive in the city, but on a day when my cheeks got rosy after a few minutes of walking, the combo sounded pretty perfect. And I knew from experience that the price would be, too. $17. The soup and sandwich deal is an off-menu lunch special that the front walk-ins-only tavern room runs along with a much-loved burger. I’ve taken advantage before of having the casual meal in the sumptuous room, and knew I wouldn’t be disappointed (especially because of the included bread service). I’ve always had to wait for a seat at the bar, but it’s usually minimal, and it has always been worth it. The chairs are comfortable, the service is as attentive as in the dining room, and the food is consistently good. I’ve been able to make a lunch here work within the confines of a normal weekday, but clock-watching was the last thing I wanted to do and, again, wine.
Mushroom soup shouldn’t be that surprising, but this one was. The expected earthiness and richness were there, but so too was a light tang from the buttermilk that kept the bowl interesting until the last spoonful.
I took full advantage of a long lunch by having my soup and sandwich separately (they’re normally served together) but also chose this service so that I could build up anticipation for this marvelous egg sandwich. The muffin and Canadian bacon were both made in-house, and it’s that kind of attention that makes this lunch deal one to remember. The muffin had notably been buttered and toasted on both sides, leaving me with slick fingers that encouraged eating the sandwich all in one go instead of with ladylike pauses to clean my fingers. The ham had the salt, the cheese, the richness, and the spinach, the chew. I would have liked my yolk runnier, but then that would have removed any chance at decorum. There was a mayonnaise present that I forgot to ask about, but its citrus notes did a tremendous job of cutting through the ham, cheese, and egg and adding an element of brightness.
As a side note, I learned that if you order your soup and sandwich separately, you’ll get your sandwich with a side of greens. Not necessary, but good for someone like me who is always in need of more vegetables.
Another reason why it was easy to go to Gramercy Tavern on this day was because I knew that a seasonal dessert I had been lusting after was still available. The picture doesn’t do it justice. The spices, the creamy texture upon creamy texture, the cold temperature. Right in my wheelhouse. Happy Monday.