Hit Eisenberg’s Sandwich Shop (174 Fifth Avenue, 212-675-5096) at the end of the lunch rush, and it will still be busy, full of a unique mix of construction workers, businessmen, locals, and a few tourists, who share the 25-seat long counter. You’ll see suited types with gold pinkie rings enjoying pastrami on a sub roll, and you’ll hear German tourists discussing just exactly what a tuna melt is. With its melting pot of cultures and dependable food, Eisenberg’s exemplifies the essence of a true New York diner.
Eisenberg’s surely does not have the best food in town, but the food is still very good. But it’s not the sole reason the place is typically filled from morning (it opens at 6:30 a.m.) until about 7 each night: it’s filled because Eisenberg’s is a true old line establishment that prides itself on its past, its consistent quality, and, as its saying goes, “Raising New York’s Cholesterol Since 1929.”
Eisenberg’s long counter and red leather stools hearken back to how diners and luncheonettes used to look. Skip the tables in back for one of these stools — the true Eisenberg’s experience happens at the counter. The joint will be packed with regulars, so the first question from the cooks behind the counter is going to be, “Do you need a menu?” And after one visit, you probably won’t.