Alphabet City, East Village, NYC | If you haven't heard, there's a new pastrami sandwich in town, and it's been garnering rave reviews from customers and "food media" alike. It is created at the new Harry & Ida's Meat & Supply Co. in Alphabet City, and offshoot from the minds behind the likewise admires Ducks Eatery.
Modeled after the old school ideology and business model of the general store—commonplace in this city until about a generation ago—the store does offer and sell packaged good of wide variety and of high quality, sourced from the best and most food-conscious purveyors available.
But Harry & Ida's bread and butter, so to speak, are their freshly prepared sandwiches (and its very interesting culinary experiments, like smoked butter), chief among them the Pops' Pastrami sandwich, boasting thickly sliced house-made pastrami, fresh dill, kraut, cucumber, and an anchovy-Meyer lemon-grain mustard.
The sandwich takes the long treasured traditional pastrami sandwich and turns it—very successfully—on its ear. The greater thickness of this sandwich's pastrami slices allow for the palate to enjoy all the stages of "pastrami-ness", from the natural, earthy sweet, juicy and tender interior of the meat that falls apart from itself from its own weight, to the more toothsome bite of the slightly charred and grizzled edges, showcasing what we love the most smoked beef in the first place.
The additions of crisp cucumber, aromatic fresh dill, housemade kraut, and heady, textural grain mustard—tempered with Meyer lemon and bolstered by the salty hint of anchovy—only help to highlight and/or compliment each aspect of the beef's flavors.
A soft sturdy bun helps keep the whole thing together, literally and figuratively, and a Foxon Parks natural cane sugar cream soda rounded out an already solidly delicious meal.
There were customers coming in and out of the place at more than a steady clip during this, my second, visit—many who stayed and enjoyed their sandwiches while there.
And if there is any other indication of how much people enjoy the sandwiches here (they have a few others to choose from, including a pastrami dog, smoked eel, and smoked bluefish), it was the trash receptacle, which had lots of dirty napkins and empty trays, but no discarded food. They, like I, enjoyed every single bite
Now if that's not a version of a rave review, I don't know what is.
HARRY & IDA'S MEAT AND SUPPLY CO. | 189 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009 | (646) 864-0967 | meatandsupplyco.com