Katz Deli was one of the top few places that we had on our to-do list when we visited NYC last year. Having watched Harry Met Sally one too many times, I was adamant we went to the deli that Meg Ryan had her convincing fake orgasm scene and to “have what she’s having”. M was more than happy to oblige to go to Katz so we could try the amazing pastrami sandwiches that we had all read about from everywhere ranging from Lonely Planet to local food blogs. Since we hadn’t managed to make it to the deli during our first few weeks in NYC, we also managed to pick up some tips from locals about dining at Katz before we got there.
One of the best tips we got was to order at the counter ourselves (self-service) and to stuff a dollar or two notes into the tip jar for the deli guys before they start making the sandwich Apparently this usually results in a slightly more generous serving of pastrami. Although it could have been our imagination, but I swear our pastrami sandwich was fatter than our neighbouring table ones. Another fun aspect of doing self-service is that you are invited to sample a few slices of pastrami before they start making the sandwich, so you get a taste of what is to come.
… and boy was that trek to the Lower East side worth it! The pastrami sandwich was the fattiest, juiciest, most melt-in-your-mouth sandwich I have ever had. Like many of the pastrami sandwiches we had in NYC, the serving size was huge. However what made this sandwich stand apart from the rest was the warm, freshly carved, richly flavoured pastrami. The pastrami was tender and melted in your mouth, whilst the Dijon mustard gives the sandwich a nice kick. The side of the half pickled cucumber is a good and necessary touch, helping the diners break the richness of the sandwich. We also ordered a bowl of their matzo ball soup that we originally thought would be a light side soup to balance out with the heavier sandwich. However we soon found out that the matzo ball was a meal in itself, swimming in a warming and light broth.
Definitely a deli worth going in at NYC – both for movie fans as well as for generic fans of damn good sandwiches. The lines can be long, but the turnover is usually quite fast and the pastrami makes the wait worth it.
205 E Houston St NY
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