What happens when the Court Street Grocers team takes over an iconic Jewish deli? The pure magic that is S&P Lunch. Located in the former Eisenberg’s space (and with the original Eisenberg’s exterior signage intact), this isn’t your grandparents’ Jewish deli. But also, it kind of is. That’s exactly what we love about this place.
The first thing you’ll see when you walk into S&P is the original counter with bar stool seating that’s almost always full, even at 9 AM on a random weekday. A handful of tables in the back are good for groups of three or four to get into some serious pastrami business, but the real appeal of eating here is the counter.
From there, you can watch the cooks work their magic on the flat top, chat up the random person sitting next to you, or read a book while you eat matzo ball soup alone and pretend you’re a character in an old movie. The counter feels like a place of endless possibility, and that’s why people will wait to sit there even when there’s a table available in the back.
The food here ranges from can’t-stop-thinking-about-it good to totally fine. The Dinkelburger, which is like if a pastrami reuben and a cheeseburger had a baby, falls into the first category. And while you might have seen a million people post the tuna melt on social media, know that it’s good but not great.
The real gems on the menu are things that play to the CSG team’s penchant for weird twists and retro revivals, like the cream cheese and olive sandwich on rye, and the chopped liver platter served with iceberg lettuce and Saltines that gives “grandma’s house” in the best way. There are several variations on the pastrami sandwich, and all of them are worthwhile. The Lil’ Shonda, a pastrami egg and cheese served only at breakfast, is an especially good one.
Some restaurant revivals go too hard on trying to put a twist on every menu item, but S&P strikes just the right balance of putting some new stuff in front of us, and knowing what to leave alone. It’s why we’re pretty sure this modern take on an old school spot isn’t going anywhere.
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The Lil’ Shonda
Scrambled eggs, cheese, and pastrami on rye with S&P’s signature “dinkee” sauce (basically Russian dressing). It’s a very good breakfast sandwich, and it might make you forget that BECs are even a thing.
This is the one real disappointment on the menu. Different households are famously defensive of their preparations of this classic Jewish breakfast, so we expected S&P to do something cool with it. Instead, it’s just a plate of matzo and scrambled eggs with no seasoning or condiments. A real bummer.
Banana and Sour Cream
Some people think this sounds weird, but those of us who grew up having our Jewish grandmas cut up bananas and arrange them around a dollop of sour cream know that this breakfast is absolutely elite. Sure, you could DIY it for less than $8, but there’s something about having someone else make this for you that makes it special.
A lot of Jewish delis actually get the latke wrong, but S&P makes a perfectly crisp, shredded-style latke that’s seasoned nicely and served with sour cream and apple sauce, as it should be. No matter what time of day you come here, an order of these should be on your table.
Matzo Ball Soup
The matzo balls at S&P are perfectly round, have just the right ratios of softness and bounce, and actually taste like something. The soup has a little more seasoning than some other matzo ball soups in the city, so don’t rush to add salt and pepper without tasting it first. You might be surprised.
There’s nothing too exciting going on here other than being able to get a classic tuna melt at a cool restaurant. That said, we wish this spent a little more time on the griddle so the cheese got meltier, because it’s literally in the name and no one likes tepid cheese.
Our favorite of the pastrami sandwich variations on S&P’s extensive menu, this one comes with slaw, swiss, and Russian dressing on rye. If pastrami isn’t your thing, you can swap in turkey or corned beef.
A relatively small, perfectly griddled burger topped with a hunk of pastrami, pickles, muenster, and dinkee sauce. There’s a lot going on here in all the right ways.
There’s nothing modern or innovative going on with this chopped liver platter, and that’s what we love about it. It’s seasoned nicely, has the perfect texture that’s not too chunky or too smooth, and you can switch between spreading it on iceberg lettuce, saltine crackers, and little slices of rye bread.
This isn’t the Israeli-style rugelach that you’ll find at some popular NYC bakeries, this is homestyle, cream cheese in the dough, a little bit too much filling, extra crispy on the outside rugelach. We like this old-school version.