Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
Junior's

Grand Central Station, Dining Concourse, NYC
212-586-4677
Review by Diana

Junior's started out at a deli in Brooklyn and is the author of the definitive New York cheesecake. The recipe produces a dense, sweet, sticky, cakey filling with a graham cracker and melted butter crust -- completely not like so-called cheesecakes recipes designed to need no cooking, or the versions you find with pumpkin and stuff in it. It may not suit everyone, but it sure does suit a lot of people.

I was there not for cheesecake, but to say goodbye to a friend who was moving cross-continent. We used to see each other a lot, and then much less, so there was a lot of catching up to do. He actually squeezed me in, between a show at the Guggenheim Museum and a dinner date at 8. So we were doing coffee and snack, maybe appetizers.

The Grand Central Terminal Dining Concourse is a bit like a food court that you might find in malls, but that's also like saying the Statue of Liberty is a souvenir from the French.

The food is uniformly good, and restaurants with non-chainstore pedigree or no outlets at all can be found here, operating either a counter with steam table, or a restaurant with sit-down "veranda" space. Junior's is one of the latter. The waiter was an older gentleman, the type you'd call "Pops" if you grew up in the midwest in the 1950s, perhaps. He had a thick handlebar moustache and he interjected himself throughout the meal to ask if we wanted more water or something? We thought he was a bit creepy, but ended up thinking he's a nice older man who wants you to be happy. His similarity to our mothers is what jolted us at first, but knowing that he wasn't made it okay.

We thought we'd split a reuben sandwich -- pastrami, thousand island dressing, sauerkraut, swiss cheese, mustard on rye. You'd think that this being New York, we'd realize that a deli sandwich is actually a big commitment, definitely not something to undertake before dinner. But we figured my friend was going away, he couldn't get stuff this good where he was going, so decided on the split, as well as a side of deli fries and onion rings.

It was so wondrous that we finished the meal and waddled around in a vain effort for him to make room for dinner to follow. I hear he nibbled a little bit of stuff at that meal. Makes me smile to know that he ate his whole half sandwich with me just an hour before! What a nice way to be remembered by a friend going away, don't you think?


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