The Carnegie Deli - A Review of a New York Kosher Deli Icon
If you are working on a New Year's resolution to lose weight, this article may not be for you. The Carnegie Deli, founded in 1937, is one of New York's most famous eateries. Located on Seventh Avenue and 55th Street, it is right in the middle of New York's exciting Midtown area and not far from the theater district, Central Park and Carnegie Hall, which was named after the deli (I made that up). The deli bills itself as a Kosher "style" deli. Milton Parker, the current owner, pens the letters "CPM" after his name. It stands for Corned Beef and Pastrami Maven. The deli is operated by Milton's daughter Marian Levine and her husband Sandy Levine.
When it first opened its doors the Carnegie Deli was a 40 seat restaurant. It has tripled in size since then. In 1979 the New York Times critic Mimi Sheraton declared that the pastrami sandwich from m the Carnegie Deli is the best in New York, beating out 22 other establishments. Dr. Phil, the TV shrink, has stated that you NEED to go to the Carnegie Deli if you visit New York. When a psychotherapist tells you that you need to do something, you pay attention.
The Carnegie Deli Experience
· The Atmosphere. If you're looking for an intimate spot to propose marriage to your one and only, this is not the place. It's crowded, noisy and bright. It's New York. But you hear more than New Yawk Tawk. Your fellow diner may be from anywhere in the world. Try to get along with your fellow diners because they will be seated right next to you, in knee touching closeness. The place is usually packed all day long.
· No Credit Cards. How can such a popular restaurant not take credit cards? Because they don't have to. They receive a lot of criticism in reviews because they don't make this clear near the entrance.
· The service. You will read mixed reviews of the service at the Carnegie Deli, but in my personal experience I have always found it excellent. The wait staff is usually harried, given the size of the crowds, but they seem to have a uniformly good sense of humor and are quite attentive.
· The pickles. A typical sandwich in a diner may come with a half a pickle. At the Carnegie a bowl of pickles is delivered as soon as you sit down.
· The portions. As New Yorkers like to say, fuggedaboutit. Especially if you order one of the sandwiches, you will be amazed at how high the meat is piled. Always as for extra bread, and your request will be readily granted. Some of the wait staff bring the extra bread slices with your order because they know you will request it. Suffice it to say that no human mouth could fit around the opening of a Carnegie Deli sandwich. Take a look at the Woody Allen sandwich video to the right. Only a hippo could wrap its mouth around that sandwich. One sandwich can make for four meals! A logistical note. Seldom can two normal people finish a Carnegie sandwich, so plan to bring it back to your room refrigerator - or donate it to an unfortunate person.
The Carnegie Deli Strawberry Cheescake
· The menu. There's more than sandwiches, although the Carnegie is most famous for them. Take a look at this menu.
· Where does the food come from? The Carnegie Deli cures, pickles and smokes its meats at its own factory in Carlstadt, New Jersey. They bake their famous cheescake on the premises.
The Carnegie Deli is as New York as the Empire State Building. The next time you're in the Big Apple for a visit, don't miss a stop at the Carnegie Deli.
Copyright © 2013 by Russell F. Moran