You cannot come to New York and not try a deli (short for delicatessen). Carnegie Deli is with Junior's and Second Avenue Deli, one of my favorites. Yes, I did not mention Katz's Deli because I do not like it, think it is overpriced and overrated.
The restaurant opened in 1937 and got its name from being close to the Carnegie Hall. It is still operated by the family of the founder: the Parkers. It is today one of the most visited restaurants in New York City, although the expansion of business has not been that successful, seeing most of the branches in California or Connecticut close. Today, there is a Carnegie Deli in the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas.
The restaurant is pretty big and tables are cramped, making it uncomfortable when the restaurant is packed, especially during the week end. At the entrance, you cannot miss the desserts that are showcased, as well as all the autographed photos of celebrities who ate there. By the way, the Carnegie Deli was even mentioned by Adam Sandler in his song about Hanukkah (Saturday Night Live).
Concerning the menu, you may think that is is expensive (it is a bit). In fact, they serve family style portions. So be careful when you order!
But, the plat de resistance was the open face pastrami reuben. This was huge and we had to split it! We asked the waiter to split it for us, but he did not seem to be willing to (only disappointment in the service that was overall great).
The meat was delicious, lean and with just the necessary amount of fat. There was tons of Swiss cheese and some sauerkraut to give a bit of crunch. With the amount of meat and cheese, the bread was invisible. All of this was served with a very good Russian dressing. Definitely a great dish!
So, of course, we had to finish with desserts...
The Carnegie Deli is one of my favorites, but not for dessert! If you go there, enjoy the reuben: it is so good!
Enjoy (I did)!
And remember: I just want to eat!