#101: Tuna Melt, Eisenberg’s

58 down. 43 to go.

Sometimes it’s less about the taste of a sandwich, and more about what that sandwich represents. The intense debate continues over the best pizza in New York City, yet people still travel from all over the world to eat a slice at Lombardi’s, the birth place of New York style pizza. McSorley’s Old Ale House may only have two beers on tap, light and dark, but people still fill the bar stools to drink at the oldest bar in New York City. And while sandwiches have certainly evolved since the early 1900’s, the narrow diner Eisenberg’s, priding itself on “raising New York City’s cholesterol since 1929” is still packed with hungry patrons looking for a taste of history.

Perhaps that’s how Eisenberg’s Tuna Melt eked its way onto the list of the top 101 sandwiches in New York City. Unfortunately in every contest, there must be a loser. And this sandwich, listed as #101, was that loser. However, it did make the list, possibly beating out hundreds of other less appealing sandwiches. Perhaps the historical significance of this establishment was enough to make it a winner.

I always wondered whether taste in foods was hereditary. After my cousin Gillian and her brother both individually expressed to me their love for Tuna Melts, I had a feeling it was. So I met Gillian at Eisenberg’s for lunch to celebrate her birthday and show her what The Quest was all about. We both quickly concluded that this sandwich was nothing to write home about. In fact, we were confident that put to the test, we could make a better tuna melt. There was too much mayo and a little chopped up celery, onion, or apple would have helped add some texture to the otherwise bland sandwich.

On a more personal note: while the younger, more naive Greg enjoyed the occasional tuna melt; the older, wiser, sexier Greg avoids eating canned tuna. Tuna, often times overfished, are caught using longlines, which results in a tremendous amount of bycatch, including endangered sea turtles, sharks and seabirds. If you’re going to buy canned tuna, buy Wild Planet or American albacore tuna, which you can find at most supermarkets. They are troll/pole caught which result in little or no bycatch.

Knock, knock.
Who’s there?

Tuna fish.
Tuna fish who?

You can tuna piano, but you can’t tuna fish.

Eisenberg’s | 174 5th Avenue between 22nd & 23rd Streets

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