Reason #412 Not to Eat at Generic Midtown Delis

This photo comes from the wonderful Variety Cafe (48th btw. 5+6th), a place I haven’t eaten in since they were shuttered by the DOH last July.  Thankfully I have co-workers who drag me to generic delis, so I can experience something like this:

Isn’t Peter Luger a renowned Steak House?  Why is this sandwich made with chicken?  And more importantly, I don’t know what Peter Luger Sauce normally tastes like, but the red gloop they put on this sandwich is 100% Cocktail Sauce.  As anybody with taste buds could imagine, cocktail sauce and fresh mozzarella don’t go so great together.  And for the first time in history, I actually couldn’t physically finish a lunch I had paid for.  Disgusting.

Do you have reason #413 for not eating at a Generic Midtown Deli?  Post the photo to the Midtown Lunch Flickr Photo Group, email me at or just post a comment below.


  • how have you never been to peter lugers, cmon now.

  • I’ve been wanting to go for so long… unfortunately I’ve only managed a visit to Wolfgang’s. Somehow I’m guessing the sauce tastes better at the restaurant. It was so bad, I even question whether or not they are actually using genuine Peter Luger’s Sauce. I know the description on their website says it tastes like a cross between steak sauce, and cocktail sauce- but this was 100% cocktail sauce. And it wasn’t brown like described on Peter Luger’s site. It was bright red, like cocktail sauce. If you didn’t know any better, you’d be expecting a chicken and mozzarella sandwich with marinara sauce. That’s what it looked like…

  • …Peter Luger sauce is bright red – and also really sweet, not nearly as sharp as regular cocktail sauce

  • This post brings up an interesting issue of Midtown Lunch etiquette — What are the ethics of trying to return or exchange a truly awful midtown lunch?

  • Lugers is great, but I personally would smack anyone that actually put steak sauce on a steak at my table. Their famous salad is sliced tomato and onion slices with that sauce all over it.

  • In my opinion there are 2 types of generic midtown delis 1. With premade sandwiches and other assorted crap like Cafe Metro, where the pasta and the sandwich actually taste the same (like poop) 2. The generic midtown deli with an actual deli counter, where you can talk to a human being and get a sandwich how you want it made, not sitting around for a day or two and slathered with some crap

    I only go where I can get a fresh sandwich when crunched. My personal favorites at the moment.

    1657 Broadway Gourmet
    1657 Broadway | Btwn 51st & 52nd St

    54 Broadway Cafe
    1709 Broadway – Corner of 54th St

  • Good call, Inane. Anyone who puts any sauce on the magical meats they serve at Peter Luger’s should be dragged out into the street and beaten savagely. Their meats are f@cking perfect. You don’t mess with that.

    That said, the sauce is still a delicious standby for home use by grill-hacks like myself. But you buy that shit as a souvenir, son! Recognize!

  • Nate+ Inane – why the aggression? I don’t use streak sauce either, but given your obvious anger management issues, I would never want to eat with you in case I order, say, eat something that would have you beat me (and probably embarrass me if it were a nicer establishment). If you’re married, God bless your wife…wonder what you’ve beaten them for.

  • what the…

  • ….i like a nice Petrus ’91 with Lobster ,Inane&Nate, will you beat me up during recess?

  • pretty sure they were joking…

  • Rudy McBagel, you’re the funniest commenter ever. Seriously. You crack my shi*t up.

  • My apologies to all for any confusion and/or concern.

    For future reference:

    Hyperbole (pronounced “hy-PER-buh-lee”; “HY-per-bowl” is a mispronunciation) is a figure of speech in which statements are exaggerated. It may be used to evoke strong feelings or to create a strong impression, and is not meant to be taken literally.

  • I’m a huge fan of Variety Cafe. I go a couple of times a week , and the food at most of the stations, including the sandwich station with the Peter Luger Chicken. The problem is that one of the dudes working there has decided he’s going to try to take all the sandwiches upscale, so they all are a buck more now and have totally random names…like the grilled veggie sandwich is a called “the ladies sandwich [sic].” That eliminates half of your potential customers right there! You’ll also see him aggressively pushing free samples. That foolishness notwithstanding, Variety Cafe seriously kicks ass. That health code violation was bs!

  • I know what Hyperbole is but these comments were violent. Beating and dragging people out…? Thought us midtown workers were a bit more civilized than the ruffians in other parts of the city. Guess not.

  • josef – get a clue and grow some thicker skin. Nate’s comment *was* hyperbole. You may understand the definition but clearly don’t ‘get’ it in action. If I say that a person who does something idiotic “should be shot,” am I advocating gun violence? No. Midtown and other parts of the city don’t have ‘ruffians,’ but rather people who get it and can make a point. You are clearly not part of that latter category.

  • lol zach what about your site instills violence like so in people? shall I not say luger’s is meh? *raises an eyebrow
    In any case, Luger sauce is pretty crappy imo. it’s steak sauce + loads of extra horseradish. or cocktail sauce with… I don’t know, I’m not a huge fan, though the BF will reverently refer to “the greatest steak Yvo ever made” as having been a porterhouse marinated in luger sauce (in my defense, we were about to embark on a camping trip, and we bought 2 porterhouses, threw them in the cooler in ziplocs with luger sauce… and then cooked them over hickory wood on an open flame. I really dont think it was the luger sauce that made it awesome, but he can think what he wants :D

  • I was eating at Peter Luger’s once and the guy at the table across from us started to ladle some of that red sauce onto his plate. First, I smacked him real hard, right across the forehead. So he looks over at me, winks, and he ladles again!! I had enough. I got up, ran behind him, and pulled his chair out from under him. He’ll think twice before using that sauce again!

  • shit shit shit, did i metion the shit about it??

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