The eggplant sandwich at Peter Pause

Peter Pause eggplant sandwich

You're going to need a napkin.

By Daniel B

This is not a sandwich.

Let's be clear, the entire purpose of a sandwich is to be held in the hand so that it can be eaten with relative ease and tidiness. Please allow me to assure you that any attempt to do this with the eggplant sandwich at Peter Pause is a recipe for disaster.

This sandwich requires a knife and fork. It may also require a fair bit of advanced planning, because while Peter Pause is for everybody, they don't make it easy for people outside of Schenectady to enjoy this regional treasure.

Peter Pause Restaurant exterior

And it is indeed for everybody. On a recent visit to this Italian-American diner, there was a serviceman in fatigues, little old ladies dressed for lunch, college students bedecked in sweats, work colleagues wearing their business casual best, and even someone in a suit. There were old-timers sitting at the counter, families gathered around tables, and lovers holding hands.

But it's not easy to enjoy, because Peter Pause is only open for breakfast and lunch between 6 am and 2 pm weekdays. Saturday and Sunday they're closed.

So, should you happen to find yourself in the vicinity of Union College around lunch on a weekday, remember this place and go. Just go as you are, regardless of what you are wearing, and bring your appetite.

Why do they make it so hard?

Peter Pause eggplant sandwich closeup

Well, it probably has something to do with the fact that every morning they make their own Italian bread. Mind you, there is good bread in Schenectady. Perreca's is just down the street. But the bread here is a real point of pride for the owner, and for good reason. It's this bread with its sturdy golden crust, and tender yeasty crumb, that creates the foundation for their eggplant sandwich.

The sauce comes next, which is a deep, smooth red. It leaves the impression of savory stewed tomatoes. There are not a lot of herbs and spices that get in the way. But most importantly it soaks into their soft bread and cascades onto the plate.

Several layers of fried eggplant are piled on top. The eggplant is sliced impossibly thin and covered with an equally thin, almost crepe-like batter. Together they are cooked until golden, rich and tender. It's a substantial filling that is further enriched with some mozzarella cheese that yields under another ladle of sauce.

The whole thing is topped with one final generous slice of their house made bread, and brought to the table with a serrated steak knife.

If you can make it there while they are open, this very special sandwich can be had for a paltry $5.75.

Yes, it's more expensive than the similar meatball sandwich, which is only a remarkable $5. But it's well worth it. If you are going with a friend, you may want to consider getting both sandwiches and splitting them. When the waitress was asked if the meatballs were made in house, she looked insulted by even the merest insinuation that they weren't.

This is a great place. I hope you find a way to get there.

Daniel B is the proprietor of the Fussy Little Blog.

Find It

Peter Pause Restaurant
535 Nott Street
Schenectady, NY 12308

Comments

Peter Pause is my favorite place to eat in the whole capital region. Also be sure to try Lucy's soups. They are all delicious, but there is no better chicken soup anywhere. And If you linger beyond 2pm they will make you help clean up.

This is great, I'm a waitress there and also the daughter in law of the owners and I can't wait to show them this. They take alot of pride in their work and will love to see the apprieciation. Also don't be surprised if next time you come in and your blog is on the wall. Thanks again for the wonderful words!

That food looks so great! I live in Albany .Will put it on my list, for sure!

Eggplant is a passion of mine, and I will have to make it a point to get to this spot someway, somehow. Looks delicious!

I live in central Pennsylvania and have been lucky to visit Peter Pause on two occasions with Peter Pause regulars Phyllis & Bob. It was wonderful. Seeing this article makes my mouth water!!

Ate there for the first time this week.

LOVED it. The chicken parm was excellent, and the price was amazing.

Can't wait to go back.

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