1271 Third Ave (at 73rd St)
City: New York, NY
Phone: (212) 472-0600
Site: Visit the restaurant site
2nd Cuisine: Coffee Shops
Area: East 70s
Entree Price: $10-15
Payment: Cash only
You have the undeniable urge for a delicious breakfast along the lines of scrambled eggs, bacon and home fries but it's four in the afternoon. Or, lunch seems like a good idea but you want to spare yourself the annoyance of another entirely predictable Caesar salad. A friend suggests dinner at 5:30 to get out in time to hit the movie line.
These are just a few of the reasons you might choose to eat at E.J.'s Luncheonette, a spot that's been packing them in at all hours for a long time. Two caveats: 1) weekends are kiddie-time with seemingly every family in the area lining up to get in. Unless you're among them, you might be better off eating elsewhere because the place becomes packed with noisy little ones and their caregivers. 2) The place is all cash all the time. If you know in advance, it's fine but be prepared.
That said, food at E.J.'s is consistently good, fresh and nicely served by waitstaff in signature T-shirts. Check out the daily specials which are almost always tasty and reasonably priced; most recently, I had a salmon wrap with avocado served with sweet potato fries and cole slaw that was so enormous I took the second half home. Many bemoan the disappearance of the chopped salad from the enormous menu; meanwhile, both the Cobb and salmon salads are generously portioned--too bad plates aren't larger so that food doesn't drop off the sides when you toss.
Of course, as this is the UES, there are tons of gluten-free options, often with a $2 upcharge. At breakfast, there is an organic egg-white burrito with salsa as well as a Little Italy omelet with tomato, mozzarella and fresh basil. Muffins are gigantic as are bagels with or without lox and cream cheese. Crunchy French toast has almonds folded into the batter; chocolate chips can be added to flapjacks available in multi-grain or buttermilk versions or buttermilk waffles.
For dinner, steak, meatloaf or turkey are on the menu as well as a Chef's special and a fish of the day. Milkshakes are thick and creamy; pies and cakes are served in large wedges and overall the place is good value with efficient service. Add a kids' menu, takeout and delivery and alcohol like Bloody Mary's, mimosas, a decent if not drop dead selection of beer and wine and you have a local spot that deserves the ardent following it has.
Review By: Mari Gold