Stomach Trumps Brain: An Adventure to Cafe Edison

Let me start by saying this: Cafe Edison is a lot closer to Time Square than I like to get. Go ahead and accuse me of being a curmudgeon, it won't phase me. I hate it here for so many reasons. I hate the walking arterial clog of Midwestern tour groups. I hate the neon Olive Garden sign that is the size of 11 of me. I hate that restaurants there have to do things like this:

And most of all? I hate, HATE that TGI Friday's.

Ok. Now that that's out of the way, let's talk about some things I like. Something really special happened yesterday. On my misguided walk down Broadway from 54th to 47th, as I weaved in and out of clumps of clueless, slack-jawed visitors, I passed no less than 20 flyer hander-outers, tour bus guides and other people who try to get you to buy stuff off the street. The special part? None of them said a word to me. This means that my gait has finally become that of someone who doesn't need to be sold any crap in Times Square. This means that I have discovered the body-language phrase, "Leave me the hell alone." I feel like I've passed a test. I like this.

Here's something else I like:

After finally arriving and settling down inside Cafe Edison's dingy, Art Deco dining room, this matzoh ball soup came to me no more than 45 seconds after I ordered it. I know this looks like a bowl. To normal people this is a bowl. At Cafe Edison, this is a cup. Now, no one's matzoh ball soup will ever beat my Grandma Glenda's, but this is a pretty decent approximation. The actual matzoh ball has no business being both as enormous as it is and as fluffy and tender as it is at the same time. The chicken pieces are substantial, juicy and taste like they've been simmered for hours. I don't love noodles in my matzoh ball soup, but it's an offense I'm willing to forgive for $3.50.

Next came the sandwich:

I think it's clear that I have a pickle abuse problem, so right off the bat I'm pleased by this plate. The requisite midtown diner cole slaw, which I tend to ignore, actually got me to take another bite. And another. And another. The corned beef, while a little on the dry side, is homemade. Hear that? Home. Made. The rye bread is soft, with a little crunch on the crust.

Munching away on the kind of food that is increasingly more difficult to find in New York, I started to forget my initial panic attack as I neared the bright lights of Disney Square. I noticed the tables of elderly Jewish couples being served regular orders without menus (How do I know they were Jewish? I just know. How do you know when it's about to rain?). I even noticed, with decidedly less malice than usual, the one large table of six or seven very large out of town visitors. Having a particular shape and size only achieved by driving a car everywhere you go and not being able to go outside in the winter, they perused Broadway playbills, subway maps and bus tour programs. I found, at this moment, not disdain for these people, but pride, because if they managed to stumble just slightly off the beaten path into the Cafe Edison, they were at least doing one thing right.

Cafe Edison
228 W 47th St
New York, NY 10036
(212) 840-5000
(Cash Only)