Alphabet City, East Village, NYC | Like any self-respecting chef, Will Horowitz—of Alphabet City's Harry & Ida's Meat and Supply Co.—isn't happy just resting on the laurels of having, by many esteemed accounts, the city's new must-have pastrami sandwich. No. Will keeps updating the his menu with new, clever yet deliciously accessible sandwich expressions.
Ad I'm still playing catch up. And as a smoked chicken, mushroom, and hot ham sandwich have been added to the regular menu since my last visit, my most recent visit offered my the delightful opportunity of having the likewise revered smoked eel sandwich, a longterm menu resident and prepared with housemade kalechee, horseradish cream, greens, and maple sauce.
Eels are kept live in a tank in a kitchen, so they couldn't be any fresher once they are dispatched for a proper smoking. The eel's firm, slightly flaky meat holds the smoke well, countering it cleanly with it's own inherently natural sweetness. Horseradish cream adds some aromatic and heat balance, verdant properly cooked greens add earthiness, and a maple sauce finishes with another hint of woodiness and sweet.
Having a friend and Harry & Ida's newbie accompany me for lunch, she needed to be properly initiated, and not only enjoyed, but happily devoured the full "Pops"-sized original pastrami sandwich, still sporting thick slices of ideally smoked and tender pastrami, abutted by buttermilk-fermented cucumber, and heady and punchy anchovy mustard, and bright, sweeter greenery of dills, balancing the cucumber's augmented sourness and the mustard's bite, while accentuating the beef's natural sweetness.
Once again, a trip to Harry & Ida's Meat and Supply Co. proves to be one of great culinary satisfaction, reconfirming that as sandwich shops go, Harry & Ida's is no fluke, but instead the genuinely real deal.
HARRY & IDA'S MEAT AND SUPPLY CO. | 189 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009 | (646) 864-0967 | meatandsupplyco.com