There are some really good corner delis in New York City, but they can’t all be good. The law of averages, in fact, would have it that there are just as many that are lousy as are good. And if you’re in an unfamiliar neighborhood, finding a good deli can be a bit of a crapshoot. There are frequently many to choose from and they all seem to serve largely the same thing. You can go by price, by looks, by how popular they seem to be, or just choose at random. You put your faith in fate, get your sandwich and go on your way.
And so it was that I found myself on the upper west side on a bright sunny mid-morning, looking for a sandwich. The Green Leaf Deli seemed as good an option as any, and I admit to being charmed not by the kitschy names for the sandwiches, but by the grammatical tweaks. The United State. The Union Square Best. The United Nation. Singular/plural can throw even the best of us for a loop some time, and I hold no error in language against a good sandwich. Unfortunately, The United Nation was not a good sandwich. Dry, tough prosciutto accompanied dry, waxy mozzarella cheese. Peppers, onions, lettuce and tomato were all present but woefully inadequate and the promised oil & vinegar had barely any taste at all. This was the first sandwich I ate on a day where I figured to eat a good number of sandwiches, and midway through I looked down and couldn’t think of a single reason to finish it. Wasting food is a sin, and wasting a sandwich is likely cardinal. But this sandwich was just no good, and no amount of piety can save a bad sandwich.