Adventures in Late Night Eating: Pastrami Sandwiches

When you’re hungry at 3 AM in New York City there are certainly no shortage or variety of restaurants to choose from. So when you’re craving a Pastrami sandwich and don’t want to go all the way downtown to Katz’s for the millionth time, where do you go?

2nd Avenue Deli MenuThe answer… I’m still not sure but in the meantime, the 2nd Avenue Deli will do.

You’re probably thinking, who wants to eat a spicy, heavy, Pastrami sandwich at three in the morning? And that is a very valid question that I’m not sure I can even answer. But as we all know, being under the LIGHT influence (of alcohol) can trigger odd cravings. And on Friday night, mine was a Pastrami sandwich with LOTS of pickles.

Believe it or not I’d never been to the 2nd Avenue Deli even though I live a mere block and a half away. So at the time, a Pastrami sandwich from somewhere I’d never been before sounded like a great idea. And being the only patrons in the restaurant, guaranteed attentive and quick service.

 

 We were immediately served a variety of  new and sour pickles with a huge bowl of coleslaw. The pickles were delicious and perfectly pickled. The coleslaw was good, though it lacked a certain something that I couldn’t put my finger on (maybe an herb or spice?).

2nd Avenue Deli Pickles

After debating on whether to order the pastrami or the corned beef, the waiter kindly brought us a sampling of both so that we could decide. My vote was most definitely for the pastrami, as the corned beef was a bit bland for my taste buds.

2nd Avenue Deli Pastrami Sandwich

2nd Avenue Deli French Fries

Minutes later we were brought out an enormous pastrami sandwich with a large plate of well-done french fries, just how I like it! Confident that I could finish my half, I began smothering my sandwich with mustard and coleslaw. The more condiments the better! Suddenly my mouth was full with spicy meat tucked into soft rye bread. I couldn’t have been happier. Bite of sandwich, french fry, bite of sandwich, bite of pickle, french fry. It went on until I just couldn’t eat anymore. And with FOUR PIECES of pastrami away from finishing I called it quits.

So was the 2nd Avenue Deli pastrami sandwich all that I’d hope for? Honestly, not so much. Though the meat was incredibly lean and nicely seasoned, despite the few drinks I’d had earlier that night, it was still a tad dry. But the pickles and french fries get an A+. And because I love pickles THAT much, I’d probably return just to eat them if nothing else.

Just one recommendation… go during day light hours. It’s a bit creepy when you’re the only people in the restaurant AND it’s much easier on the stomach!

2nd Avenue Deli 013 2ND AVENUE DELI

162 East 33rd Street (between Lexington & Third Avenue)

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Lunching at Prune

Prune

PRUNE

I must admit that eating out all the time becomes exhausting! I usually cook at least two times a week, but I’m sure you’ve figured out, by my lack of recipe posts, that I wasn’t doing much of that this week. Wednesday afternoon I was actually taken out to lunch by a business associate that happened to ask me where I preferred to eat. Since these “business” lunches come far and few in between, I decided to take advantage of the opportunity and suggest Prune, a restaurant in the East Village that I’ve been wanting to visit for quite some time.

Prune is a quaint small eatery on East 1st Street that seems to blend in with the rest of the small neighborhood shops. It’s likely that you’d walk right past it, dismissing it as a boutique, if you hadn’t heard of it. Prune dishes out an eclectic mix of American cuisine and entertains a limited lunch menu consisting of about eleven “main courses”. Prune also houses a small bar that I hear serves up a mean Bloody Mary.

It seemed that my business associate and I were the only ones that were potentially doing business in what now appeared to be a 26-seater hang out. The other patrons were adorned in their street clothes and having leisurely lunches over coffees, newspapers, and political conversations.

Though we weren’t all business, we certainly knew what we wanted to order as soon as we sat down. I ordered a tap water and my colleague ordered an Iced Tea. The Iced Tea was served with a small shot-like glass of simple syrup, which I had never seen before. Apparently Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain serves their Iced Tea in the same manner. Our drinks were brought out with what I’d consider an amuse-bouche of celery, olives, and a side of sea salt. According to Wikipedia, an amuse-bouche is a single, bite-sized hors d’œuvre. Amuse-bouche are different from appetizers in that they are not ordered from a menu by patrons, but, when served, are according to the chef’s selection alone. These, often accompanied by a complementing wine, are served as an excitement of taste buds to both prepare the guest for the meal and to offer a glimpse into the chef’s approach to cooking.

We started with the Empress Crab Claws that were served with tabasco butter. Although I felt the tabasco butter was a bit overwhelming for the delicate meat of the crab, a sprinkle of lemon greatly enhance its flavor. I happened to like the way they were served, as the flesh of the Crab Claw seemed to slide right off its cartilage. Though I don’t think my colleague had as easy a time with them.

For our “main courses” we ordered the Grilled Tuna Club and the Beef Brisket. The Tuna Club was good, though it lacked an appropriate portion of Tuna. It also seemed that the Tuna Club was served on two different pieces of bread, one being sourdough and the other white toast. Though this didn’t bother me too much, the sandwich was good. But Prune’s french fries were probably the highlight of the meal for me. The french fries were perfectly crisp and salty, similar in style to McDonald’s french fries. My colleague’s beef brisket was good, though I found its flavoring somewhat overpowering. But the meat was certainly moist and falling off the bone as a good brisket should be.

Overall, I enjoyed lunch at Prune, though from what I hear, Brunch is what they are best suited for. I initially heard of Prune because of their rave Brunch reviews. Although I hear there is a long line for Brunch, I’m sure it’s worth the wait.

PRUNE

54 East 1st Street

(between 1st and 2nd Avenue)

Amuse Bouche?

Amuse Bouche?

Empress Crab Claws with tabasco butter

Empress Crab Claws with tabasco butter

Grilled Tuna Club On Sourdough with aioli and arugula

Grilled Tuna Club On Sourdough with aioli and arugula

Beef Brisket, Braised with Spanish paprika & rosemary

Beef Brisket, Braised with Spanish paprika & rosemary

Crystalized Ginger

Crystalized Ginger

Le Check

Le Check

Prune's Bar

Prune's Bar

Prune's Kitchen

Prune's Kitchen