On 7th Avenue in Midtown Manhattan somewhere around 54th and 55th streets is the location of what USA Today refers to as the “most famous” delicatessen in the United States – The Carnegie Deli.
The Carnegie has its walls decorated from floor to ceiling with autographed photos of celebs and other notables that have visited. (I tried to give them mine, but they said they had plenty of toilet paper, and to take it to the Stage Deli.)
Adam Sandler, a frequent patron, has a snippet in his Chanukah Song about the Carnegie Deli, and Woody Allen has one of the Deli’s signature sandwiches named after him. It seems the Deli was used in the filming of one of Allen’s films. With me not being a fan of Woody Allen’s screen talents, I am unaware of the film, BUT we did try the sandwich that bears his moniker.
Sandwiches at the Carnegie Deli are served with at least one pound of meat. The Carnegie makes all of their own meat; therefore it is virtually impossible for any other deli to duplicate their work as it is all made in house. (This fact is point made in the deli wars of New York. The Stage Deli and the Carnegie are in constant battle for the top billing of the city evidently. Having eaten at both I see no competition from the Stage for the Carnegie.)
Our waitress, upon finding out we were from the southern states, was very polite in telling us some of the history of the deli, it’s sandwiches, and more. She suggested that we “split” a sandwich. Now those of you that know me know that I don’t split my food. I might eat mine and then finish yours, but I don’t split my food. However, on this day I would not be able to hit the hotel fitness center so I said ok, let’s split one. While we pored over the menu, we were treated to a basket of pickles. Yum!!
We finally decided to go with the recommendation of the patrons sitting next to us from Australia. The four of them still had a huge pile of food on their table from the two sandwiches they “split”. These friendly folks told us they were like us and could not decide on corned beef or pastrami either, so they went with the Woody Allen which was piled with both. That was the kicker. We ordered the Allen for splitting, and Natalie wanted a hot dog.
Natalie’s hot dog was quite an adventure for her. When the wait staff delivered her dog, (it must have been a Great Dane at one time) her eyes lit up! This was one happy hot dog eating girl!
Our sandwich was the right choice for splitting. As a matter of fact I believe we could have split it with all the folks riding the 6 train!! This monster was huge. The waitress delivered a plate of extra bread slices to the table for us. I didn’t know why at first, but after a few bites I realized it was to make EXTRA sandwiches out of the stuff that falls from the MAIN sandwich!!
Now the Carnegie Deli also has the reputation of being one of the best for New York Cheesecake, but after the meal we just ate, “there was no room at the Inn” for any cheesecake on this trip to the deli.
If I should ever get the chance to venture back into Manhattan, the Carnegie Deli will be the place I want to go for lunch.