after obtaining a rather huge shopping bag of coveted jack rogers from their annual sample sale, my mother, sister, aunt and i had worked up quite the appetite. in search of a quick lunch that would fill us but not make us late for a 2:00 matinee of matilda(a must-see!), we ventured back toward broadway, stopping after only a couple of blocks once we spotted eli zabar’s e.a.t. from the outside, the restaurant resembles any other new york city cafe, but a step inside will reveal exactly why critics have dubbed mr. zabar “baron of the breads.” the storefront is completely covered with enticing loaves that were totally irresistible, so we decided to lunch amidst the breads in the jewish deli meets classic nyc cafe setting.
we were seated instantly toward the back of the restaurant at a rather small table for the four of us, but we made it work. the table was set with the cutest cloth napkins embroidered with the restaurant’s name and a basket of bread made in-store. the basket included a classic baguette, cranberry walnut whole wheat and “health bread,” a wheat dough with various grains baked right in adding the perfect little crunch to the chewy consistency.
i started my meal with e.a.t’s famous unsweetened lemonade which was essentially water with lemon juice, but very refreshing and a great palette cleanser. because we were so hungry, appetizers seemed like a waste of time, so we jumped directly to our main courses. i opted for the smoked salmon sandwich with a caprese salad on the side(a weird combo, i know). the sandwich consisted of two slices of health bread layered with scallion cream cheese and delicious salmon that had the perfect mildly fishy taste and the smoky undertone i have come to love about lox. on the side, my caprese salad included a generous portion of creamy, slightly salty mozzarella and tomatoes that tasted as though e.a.t had some type of secret urban garden growing behind the restaurant that the fruit had been freshly picked from. over top, was a sauce that we spent a portion of our lunch trying to decode, but concluded that it was a dijon mustard vinaigrette. despite the ambiguity, it was delicious.
e.a.t. definitely supplied us with an ideal lunch between shopping and a show, with only one mild issue. the menu had absolutely no description. the names of the dishes were the only things there. yes, really. i would definitely recommend googling the menu for more in-depth details before visiting this upper east side sweet spot.