Though the Flatiron Building was there first, Eisenberg's Sandwich Shop has long been a fixture on the block of Fifth Avenue between 22nd and 23rd streets. Serving up lunchtime goodness since 1929, it remains one of the last reminders of one of New York's formerly favorite way to grab a nosh: the lunch counter.
I used to pop in for semi-frequent lunches when I worked (kind of) in the neighborhood. If you don't like crowds, Eisenberg's may not be for you (or go during off-hours), but I love jostling for a spot at the busy counter and watching the guys make and serve up sandwiches, lime rickeys, and other old-school fare--much of which probably hasn't changed all that much since the place opened. (They do have empanadas on the menu now--one with pastrami! I'll have to try one sometime soon.) I'm a fan of the reasonably-priced and not overly-gigantic pastrami sandwiches, and the tuna melts are apparently pretty great as well.
Killing time in the neighborhood around 4:30 yesterday, I decided to pop in, take pix of the place, and have a beverage. Here's an admission: I'm always encouraging visitors to try an egg cream, a quintessential New York concoction. But...I've had maybe one during my time in New York, not long after I moved here 15 years ago. So, I figured it was time for another--a chocolate one--and Eisenberg's is one of the best places in the city for them.
Egg creams apparently date back to 19th-century Brooklyn, and--despite their name--contain neither eggs nor cream. A little milk, Fox's U-Bet chocolate syrup, and some seltzer, and you have a pretty spectacular drink. I think now, instead of that once-in-a-blue-moon milkshake treat, I'll be sticking to the much lighter, fizzy, chocolatey egg cream.
Eisenberg's Sandwich Shop has been "...raising New York's cholesterol since 1929" at 174 Fifth Avenue, between 22nd and 23rd streets.