I first learned about Katz’s Delicatessen from Chris Leonis of Aquitaine Boston. His favorite food in New York City is the famed pastrami sandwich here. The first time I was in NYC after my interview with him, I went to Katz’s Deli, and I had a pastrami sandwich. I was curious about the Hot Dogs, and not because of this article, but I can’t find the article that sparked my interest. I don’t know why I had such an inclination to order something other than the pastrami sandwich today, but I did, and I successfully squelched that desire. Thankfully.
There was an open table just as we finished ordering, so we grabbed it. There was an old asian lady pointing at the ceiling. We scored the actual seats in which the actors sat (I sat in Billy Crystal’s seat).
If I was going to guess what Meg Ryan had, I would say it would be the Egg Cream. That’s a double entendre, by the way. Here’s the scene:
I’ve come to this conclusion after watching this video again; Sally is an idiot and Harry is a fucking pimp. How do I know this? Because she ordered the turkey sandwich, and he ordered the pastrami.
Now, I am a food blogger. One of the things you learn about being a food blogger is that ordering in numbers is awesome. When you have two or three people at your table, you get to share, and you get to have more new taste experiences. Instead of one appetizer, you might get three, or five and two entrÃ©es, depending on what sounds the sexiest or what kind of reviews things have received. The opportunity to take pictures of more food and to get a better feel for the restaurant is one of the most important aspects of being a great reviewer.
The last time I went to a restaurant and my mom ordered the same thing her husband ordered, I was just about outraged. I tried to convince them they should order different things; they didn’t. Why would they order the same thing if they didn’t know what it tasted like? Then, when our entrÃ©es came, they liked mine the best. Go fucking figure. After a few more drinks, we started having a conversation about mentally retarded kids and how they should be shot instead of having society handle their burden, and my mom started crying (she thought we were serious). She’d had one too many, but telling someone they’ve had one too many never sobers anyone up. It doesn’t get them to stop crying, either. I don’t know why this is.
Back to the main point; I love variety, curating and rating food experiences is my responsibility as a writer, and if I fail to do this, you’re getting the short end of the stick as a reader (if you got the short end of the stick, wouldn’t you also get the long end?). This brings me to my feelings on Katz’s Deli: Why would you ever order anything but the Pastrami Sandwich on Rye with Mustard here? It’s just too damn good.
My brother’s girlfriend, wanted to order the turkey sandwich. I advised against it. I didn’t want to be the overbearing jerk that pushes my agenda on everyone, so I said that she could get anything she wanted to, and I’d try it, but it was my opinion that the best item on the menu was the pastrami sandwich. She ordered the pastrami sandwich (SEO FTW!).
My brother wanted swiss cheese on his pastrami sandwich, I told him that if he wanted swiss, he should get a Ruben. He brought it up again, saying “It’s my sandwich and if I want cheese, I’m going to have cheese.”
“No.” I told him, “You’re going to get it on rye and with mustard. It doesn’t need anything else.” I didn’t let my brother have a choice in the matter; he was getting the best stuff.
I was going to try the tongue because I’ve liked the Lengua tacos in the Mexican places at which I’ve been eating. If the tongue was as good as the pastrami sandwich, I could be in food heaven. I asked to try it. Huge meh. Mexican restaurants know tongue, Jewish delis do not. I ordered (drum roll, please) the pastrami sandwich.
So that’s three pastrami sandwiches from Katz’s Deli. Food blogger blasphemy? I don’t think so. You may think this sounds stupid, but I haven’t had anything else here, and this is the best thing here. How do I know? I just know. I’ve been to two places and two dishes more than twice since I’ve been in NYC, and one of those dishes is the pastrami sandwich from Katz’s Deli (the other one is the Tongue Taco from El Aguila, and if I lived closer, the third would be the curry laksa from Taste Good Malaysian).
It’s the shit. On the island of Manhattan, there’s no bite I’d rather take than the Katz’s Pastrami Sandwich, and I’ve taken a lot of bites. To think that there would be a possibility for one restaurant to have a second taste as good as the best in Manhattan is even more ridiculous a claim than to say, “I’ve never had anything else here, but this is the best.” It’s just that simple. It’s the best.
We also got fries.
The steak fries were crispy on the outside, but had a thicker crispy than most steak fries. Just to explain this, let’s say the average fry is crispy on the outside and the crispy part is two millimeters thick before it gets to the soft, potatoey inside. This crispy part was maybe double that, but not overcooked anywhere. Mariana ordered a small plate of fries, but I would recommend a large if you’re dining with three people (a small should be just fine for two).
I made sure that I got Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray Soda along with the sandwich this time. I learned about this with David Fishman at The Carnegie Deli. I think David is no longer a middle school food critic … could it be that he’s writing for a major publication somewhere now? I don’t know. Such is the life span of the food blogger.
What did you learn from this post? Let’s recap:
1. You can’t get a drunk to stop crying by telling them they’re drunk
2. Getting the short end of the stick isn’t so bad, as long as it’s all one stick
3. Jews can’t do good tongue
4. Order the pastrami sandwich at Katz’s Deli.
I think that’s all there is to it.
Enjoy your sandwich.
205 East Houston Street
New York, NYâ€Ž 10012â€Ž