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Oct 14, 2011 07:23 AM

A surprising disappointment-Second Ave Deli

A takeout of a pastrami on rye the other night 7pm or so was a true disappointment. Some 40-50 years ago I lived a few blocks from the old store and had pastrami many nights both in the store and takeout. Since then I have eaten or taken out at a good number of delis including Katz's, Sarges' and so on. This was the worst. I now live near the new Second Ave. Deli and the pastrami was still warm. But it was dry and the pieces of pastrami were mainly a half inch to an inch and a quarter long. Just lots of little stringy pieces all pressed together. And the taste of the pastrami was middling. I usually eat pastrami separate from the sandwich but this time after a while I pressed some of the pastrami inside a rolled up piece of bread. The bread was the best part. The sides of potato salad and cole slaw were OK but the potato salad was too sweet for my taste. I will not go back. It's not what it once was.

Second Avenue Deli
162 E 33rd St, New York, NY 10016

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  1. Given the choice I go around the block to Sarges. I also live close by. Given the time to travel I go to Katz's
    Possibly, since it was late in the day and you were doing take out they gave you some less than prime slices of pastrami.
    The waiters want their patrons to be happy.

    Katz's Delicatessen
    205 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

    Sarge's Delicatessen
    548 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016

    1. Are you referring to the new Second Ave Deli on 1st Ave on the UES?

      1 Reply
      1. re: Brian W

        I believe he's referring to the one on 33rd btwn 3rd & Lex, as shown on the map to your right.

      2. I've mentioned before on this board about my disappointing experience with 2nd Avenue's pastrami. It was while dining in the restaurant not long after it opened. We specifically requested "very fatty." (Mr. R. and I were sharing the sandwich.) What we were served was pastrami that was dry, dry, dry and had little flavor. We have been back several times since but having been burned, we now stick with knoblewurst. Ordered hot, it's always nice and juicy. Also, their chicken soup with matzoh ball and noodles is excellent, and the round potato knish is first-rate.

        2nd Avenue Deli photos:

        3 Replies
        1. re: RGR

          The pastrami at 2nd Ave Deli is Hebrew National brand. It is nothing special at all - not worth it unless you require kosher pastrami.

          And if you want kosher pastrami, it's better at Pastrami Queen uptown anyway.

          1. re: gutsofsteel

            I had the corned beef at Pastrami Queen - it is terrible. Haven't been back for anything else yet.

            1. re: Brian W

              Don't bother unless you require kosher.

        2. I have to agree with you. I've been there twice -- once because people here were raving about it, and once to see if I just hit a bad night. Both times, the pastrami was salty, fairly flavorless and dry. I have to say that Katz's is so much better, and even Langer's in LA is better. Don't think I'll ever go back to 2nd Ave.

          1. i'm not surprised...i ate there many years ago and found it awful: a tefton place coasting on nostalgia -- not quite as shamelessly as Yonah Schimmel, but in the same ballpark...