Stage Door Deli / Financial District

I never intended for this to become a once-yearly Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day blog, but damn it, I’m not going to let the best day of the year go by without me celebrating it properly, consistent updating schedule or not. We’ve all got lines in the sand that we don’t cross, and “not posting on Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day” is, apparently, mine.

After four years (three here on the blog, one on Instagram) of amazing lunches, I decided to vary it up this year and go for breakfast. So after an extra session on the treadmill this morning, I ferried across the Hudson to Stage Door Deli in the Financial District for that most essential part of a complete breakfast: meat.

 
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Across Vesey St from Trinity Church, Stage Door has been dishing out breakfast and lunch for Wall Street’s working stiffs since opening in 1989, and their mastery of the craft honed by two decades of experience is obvious the minute you walk in the door. Orders were barked between takers and makers, sandwiches wrapped in wax paper were tossed to cashiers’ outstretched arms, and staff threaded in and between each other behind the counter like a finely tuned sewing machine.

 
It was a masterpiece of sandwich making, and beautiful to see.

It was a masterpiece of sandwich making, and beautiful to see.

 

I stepped up to the register and ordered a twist on my normal BEC: egg, pastrami and Swiss on rye with a side of hash browns. After some small talk with the cashier—who was overjoyed to learn of today’s significance to pastrami enthusiasts everywhere—my order was up and I dug in.

 
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While not as towering as the sandwiches of years past, Stage Door’s take on the hot pastrami sandwich was a delight. I don’t know if it was the addition of the egg or the meat itself, but this sandwich shot right up to the number two spot on my list. (Katz’s remains the lead dog in the NY pastrami pack. Sometimes, the hype is real.)

I usually find pastrami sandwiches to either be thin and dry or thick and greasy. This managed to be both thin and juicy, laying on just enough grease to keep it interesting without becoming overwhelming. It’s a delicate balance, like… OK, you know how sometimes you like trashy tv, but for the right reasons? Or… hmm… I don’t think words can really express this. I’ll just let my face do it:

 
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Pictures are said to be worth a thousand words. These four are worth two: “holy shit".

I’d definitely recommend Stage Door’s pastrami sandwich, especially if you’re downtown and looking for something quick to chow down on with real NYC cred. (While there, stop by Trinity Church’s exhibit on how they turned their chapel into a respite center for first responders during 9/11, too. It’s honestly one of the most moving 9/11 tribute pieces I’ve ever seen, especially when you see George Washington’s pew next to a wall full of emergency responders’ badges from across the country.)

Till next year, or the next sandwich,

The Sandwich Enthusiast