Iconic Food #8: Carnegie Deli’s Corned Beef

(Photo credit: Carnegie Deli)

(Photo credit: Carnegie Deli)

Getting to Carnegie Hall takes practice, practice, practice. Getting to Carnegie Deli, located an arm’s length away from New York’s hallowed bastion of talent, merely takes a gargantuan appetite. Of course, having lots of practice eating astonishing amounts of delicious food helps too. Meat is king here and Carnegie Deli’s fabled corned beef is the jewel in its delectable, mouth-watering crown.


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The Cure for What Ails You

The deli sandwiches at this bustling, Seventh Avenue restaurant each contain an astonishing full pound of meat. But this is not just any meat. The deli’s legendary melt-in-your-mouth corned beef is lovingly cured on the premises for two solid weeks — a ton at a time — using an old-world recipe proprietary to former owner, Leo Steiner, who died in 1987. Steiner, along with partner Milton Parker, put the Carnegie Deli on the map. Parker’s descendants own and manage the Deli to this day.
 
Carnegie Deli serves a variety of corned beef sandwiches, many of which are named for popular Broadway shows and New York-centric movies. One of the deli’s most popular sandwiches is the overstuffed and juicy “Woody Allen,” an homage to his movie “Broadway Danny Rose,” which was partially filmed in the deli’s interior. The mile-high sandwich elegantly combines corned beef and pastrami on fresh and fragrant rye bread.
 
Not to be missed is the classic “Carnegie Famous Reuben,” an open-styled sandwich of piled-high corned beef, turkey or pastrami smothered in sauerkraut and drenched in melted Finlandia Swiss cheese. Other corned beef combo delights include the “Jeffrey P’s Tatalah,” sweetly flavored with cole slaw and Russian dressing on practically black pumpernickel; the Corned Beef Hash and the Corned Beef and Egg Sandwich for breakfast lovers with an appetite. If you think your tummy can take the strain, make sure to include a scrumptious side dish of a homemade, giant meat knish layered with corned beef and pastrami — mustard and pickles not optional.


 

Where the Stars Go to Eat

The deli’s location, coupled with its unparalleled food and mock-surly service has made it a favorite of celebrities whose autographed photos blanket the walls. Here you may catch a glimpse of Adam Sandler who immortalized the deli in his popular “Chanukah Song,” as well as performers of stage and screen and athletes who live in or visit New York. The deli is also a popular hangout for CBS News reporters and was a favorite of recently deceased, legendary 60 Minutes reporter Bob Simon.
 
The deli’s popularity among the famous goes back for decades. Comedian Henny Youngman, famous for his one liners, was an avid fan and called Steiner the “deli lama” in his eulogy of the meat maven.


 

Location, Location, Location

While none can equal the atmosphere of the New York digs, Carnegie Deli has opened up several restaurants in other states, including a cozy hole-in-the-wall with an abbreviated menu in Connecticut’s Foxwoods Casino, a full scale restaurant in the Mirage Hotel on Las Vegas’ legendary Strip and a family-centric option in New Jersey’s Six Flags Great Adventure amusement park.


 

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Corey Whelan is a freelance writer in New York. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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