A Long Overdue Return to Cafe Edison
When we reported the news of pastrami cart Katz n Dogz legal troubles with Katz’s Deli, many commenters reminded us of the cheapest legit pastrami sandwich in Midtown. Few of us venture over to Cafe Edison since it is inside a very touristy hotel and you must cross over either Times Square or the equally mobbed Eighth Avenue to get there.
Zach reviewed the stuck-in-time Eastern European diner back in 2007 and I used to frequent this spot back in my early days living in NYC (back in the early aughts). Back then, if anybody had asked me where to get a good affordable meal in Midtown, this would have been my only answer.
But aside from a few mentions and shout-outs, there hasn’t been much chatter about Cafe Edison on this site since. Well, I braved the tourists in Times Square last week for a re-visit and I was delighted to see that very little (if anything) has changed at this under-hyped NYC institution. And if I’m looking back 10 years or so and saying that, I can only imagine how pleased the regulars from 30 years ago are today.
The prices are just as I remember them. I scored a full corned beef and pastrami sandwich (yes, a combo) and a cup of their legendary matzo ball soup (my favorite in the entire city) for $14. If I wanted to stick within the ML price limit, I could have chosen just about any of their other deli sandwiches, as most are well under $10.
And the deli meat still holds up. I probably wouldn’t put it up there with the likes of Katz’s (the real Katz’s), 2nd Avenue, or even Sarge’s, but it’s not too far off. The corned beef had a hint of sweetness but was extraordinarily tender and buttery. I wasn’t as impressed with the pastrami since it was missing significant smoke and spice, but with some mustard schmeared on the rye bread, I got all the fatty meaty flavors I really wanted.
And that matzo ball soup is just amazing – with a deep chicken broth loaded with dill and pepper, lots of egg noodles, the perfect balance of chewy, yet fluffy matzo balls, and hunks of dark chicken meat throughout. A larger portion could be enough for a meal!
I do fondly remember their Eastern European specialities like blintzes and kasha varnishkas, but unfortunately there was just no room for it on this visit. Cafe Edison is a great alternative to all the other overpriced sandwich shops in and around Times Square. And it’s refreshing how little has changed here even since 2007. Service is still surly, the tables are still close together, but the food is still delicious and incredibly affordable. A true Midtown Lunch if ever there was one!
Cafe Edison, 228 W. 47th St. (btw. B’way & 8th), 212-840-5000