My Grandma was not happy when the clock struck midnight and the original 2nd Ave Deli unceremoniously turned into a Chase bank. She'd been a regular on 2nd Ave and 10th street since her NYU days in the 1940's, and felt tradition deserved more respect than that. She wasn't the only one channeling nostalgic rage - it seemed like the whole city was pissed off. And for good reason. There are only so many Classic NYC Establishments left, and with each that disappears, so does a piece of Gotham history.
Although the new Murray Hill digs aren't quite the same, at least 2nd Ave Deli is back in business. The old school charm may be gone, but the matzoh ball soup and pastrami sandwich have remained pretty much untouched. Pickles and cole slaw remain fixtures on each table and the waitstaff is just as senile as they were in the East Village. It's funny, some people are under the impression that NYC has the best deli's in the world, which is far from the truth. The average bodega deli around these parts makes Lenny's actually seem like a good option. However, nowhere in the world will you find better, or more obnoxious, Jewish delis than in the Big Apple. Just do yourself a favor and stick with the soups and sandwiches. This isn't the place to order a steak dinner.
Tons of them come complimentary and on the house, both sour and half-sour. Glorious.
Matzoh Ball Soup
The cure for the common cold? 2nd Ave Deli Matzoh Ball Soup, also known as Jewish penicillin.
It's not the best in Manhattan, but it's pretty damn good. Ask for it lean, as the meat tends to be incredibly fatty. Also, don't sleep on getting the sandwich on challah bread.
Another high quality, high calorie option. 2nd Ave Deli's brisket may not be grandma's, but it's as good as any you'll find for sale in NYC.
Speaking of calories, one triple decker probably equals your allotted calorie intake for an entire week, which is exactly how long it might take for you to polish one off. You can custom make your own sandwich, but my personal favorite is a #1: Roast Turkey, Brisket, Chicken Fat, Onion, Cole Slaw and 2nd Ave's delicious Russian dressing.