America's Classics: Andrew Carmellini on NYC's 2nd Avenue Deli


2nd Avenue Deli


The 2nd Avenue Deli was the first experience I ever had with Jewish deli food. It was at the original location in the East Village, with the stainless steel and the red booths and I went there with friends after I moved to New York in 1990. I probably ordered the pastrami sandwich. It was my first introduction to all that stuff, like knishes and gefilte fish.

My go-to order is definitely matzoh ball soup with carrots and noodles. Pastrami with a side of Russian dressing. A potato knish—warm. That’s very important. Definitely kasha varnishkes. Their matzoh balls are just super light, not leaden at all, and they're really schmaltzy. It’s still my go-to whenever I'm down or not feeling well: delivery of matzoh ball soup from 2nd Avenue Deli. There's a certain kind of craveable comfort to it, even though I didn't grow up with that type of food.... Read more >

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