548 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10016
(212) 679-0442

The temperature was somewhere hovering near ten degrees. When it's that cold, the only thing on any sane foodie's mind is "where's the chicken soup?" Sure, you could go for The Original Soup Man or Hale and Hearty for if you really crave your soups overpriced and oversalted. But I was in the mood for something more... traditional. Not just any traditional, New York traditional. And that means a matzo ball soup. A buddy of mine, Pike, suggested Sarge's, and the next thing I know I'm outside braving the wind sans earmuffs or hat.

Sarge's is an old-school Jewish deli with Tiffany-esque lamps adorning the ceiling and lots of dark wood. It even smells of deli. And I don't mean Blimpie or that place you get your sandwich. I mean it smells like a deli. The smell permeates every pore of the place, from the glass counter when you walk in, to the leather booths in the back. Ahhhhhhh. You know the smell. As I said, Sarge's is a Jewish deli. The best kind of Jewish deli. The kind that serves bacon and cheese. You can also tell a good deli by the age of the people in there. At Sarge's, Pike and I were easily the youngest people here. Most of the others were right about ready to kick.

The first thing you get when you sit down is a bowl of cole slaw and pickles. Sour or half sour. I prefer the half sour. We got some sodas.

As I said, it was witch's tit cold out there and soup was a necessity. Matzo Ball Soup, specifically. So that's what I got. Oh damn was that good. I ordered a cup's worth, which means you basically get a matzo ball in a cup with just enough broth to keep it wet. The ball's the meal, the soup's the gravy. Pike ordered Chicken Noodle Soup, which was pretty simply chicken noodle soup. He liked it, but I wasn't about to have him serve me a spoonful to make sure he wasn't lying.

Pike and I both went for the Twin Double lunch special, which allows you to try two sandwiches and a soup. Plus, even though we missed the lunchtime hours, we were still given the lunchtime price. Pike ordered the Pastrami Sandwich and the Corned Beef Sandwich. He loved them. Loved. He says he orders them every time, which I learned was true when, the day after this first visit, he ordered them again. Personally, I'm not a big fan of corned beef (I find it too salty), but that's just my (albeit very important) opinion. I did like the pastrami though.

My sandwiches were the Roast Turkey Sandwich and the Roast Beef Sandwich. The roast beef sandwich was awesome, especially if you like your roast beef so rare it bleeds into the bread. But the roast turkey was way too dry. Way too dry. I had to lather on mayo and mustard with each bite just so I could swallow, and that's no good. It isn't helped by the fact that none of the sandwiches come with lettuce and tomato.

The next day, we ordered in rather than go out to get lunch and Pike once again ordered his double sandwich meal with chicken noodle soup. I had to try something different. So I went for Sarge's Favorite, a hot open-faced beef brisket sandwich with gravy, horseradish, a potato pancake and applesauce. Ohhhh, that was good. But I don't even want to imagine the calories and fat of that thing. It's been hours since I ate it and I'm still full.

Expect to pay anywhere from $15 to $20 for an average lunch. I can't speak for the dinner cost.

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