Two times I have felt a cold coming on since I’ve moved to New York, and both times I’ve sought out the same treatment: matzoh ball soup at the 2nd Ave. Deli.
New York has its fair share of delis. Uptown there’s Carnegie and Stage, downtown (on the Lower East Side) there’s Katz’s (home of New York’s best pastrami). But when I’m feeling ill, I walk two avenues over from NYU and park my sick heiny at the 2nd Ave. deli—the world’s best Jewish gustatory sanitorium.
My favorite waiter there is an old man who works his charming shtick on both willing and unwilling customers. “Hello my lad,” he says to me as I sit down, “take your coat off, have a seat. What can I get you to start?”
I say, “matzoh ball soup,” and I’m set. For appx. $5.95 you get a curative feast. First, there’s pickles and coleslaw:
And then the soup and challah bread:
Chicken soup has been called the Jewish penicillin–and for good reason. Its medicinal qualities are so powerful that even Madonna was lured over to our tribe. Something happens when you boil chicken bones in water–the consistency changes. This is the concept behind consome and certainly part of the curative powers of chicken soup. When you drink chicken soup, you’re not drinking chicken-flavored water—you’re drinking bone juice. It bones you up and soon you’re back on your feet. And hence concludes my thesis on why chicken soup is effective.
As for the 2nd Ave. Deli treatment, it’s the only place in the world I know where even if there’s a line the waiter will say, “Don’t rush” after you pay the check, “Sit down, relax. You want a paper?” Again, better than your favorite hospital, the 2nd Ave. Deli can cure all ills. I highly recommend it.
Interestingly (and I saw something about this once on TV) the owner of the 2nd Ave. Deli (Abraham Lebewhol) was murdered just steps away from the door in 1996. They’re still looking for the murderer: