Katz’s Delicatessan

April 6, 2011

What everyone outside of New York City knows about Katz’s most likely comes from a little scene in “When Harry Met Sally” when Sally faked her orgasm (There’s even a sign to commemorate the table that it happened at). What most everyone doesn’t realize is just how good the food is. From the knishes to the French fries and the pastrami to the hot dogs, you can’t order wrong at Katz’s.

Depending on whom you ask, Katz’s is known for its pastrami sandwich or its corned beef sandwich; it’s one or the other with no in-between. I went with the pastrami and, after finishing the meal and having no room to spare in my belly, I knew I made the right choice. Katz’s pastrami sandwich is a thing of beauty in both its taste and its simplicity. The meat is smoked for almost two days, and then black pepper, coriander, paprika, and salt are added. This makes the pastrami some of the finest, tenderest, and juiciest to be found in the city. The pastrami is sliced right in front of you after you place your order, and your cutter provides you with a little piece so you know what you’re getting into. The proper way to eat the sandwich is on two slices of rye with mustard. Anything else is a sin.

1/2 a Pastrami sandwich with fries

The sandwich weighs in at 1-pound (3/4 lb. pastrami and 1/4 lb. bread) and it’s so thick you expect slices of pastrami to fall onto your plate. And they do, but just because you’re eating it off of your plate doesn’t make it any less better, it just makes you feel like you’re eating more food. The juicy pastrami and spicy mustard are perfect on rye bread. You take bite after bite, but the sandwich is so big you don’t feel like you’re getting anywhere. The only negative is the second half of your sandwich gets mushy by the time you’re ready to dig in. I wonder if toasting the bread could have prevented this.

Katz’s doesn’t take any guff. You need to know exactly what you want when you order, otherwise, you’re going to be standing there like a doofus with nothing to say. They’re not going to ask if you want lettuce, tomato, or onion. You want that, you need to tell them, they’re not going to read your mind or force things that should be in a salad (ie, green peppers) onto your sandwich. They are going to make the sandwich as plain as possible unless you tell them otherwise.

Taking out is easier than ordering in. Since it’s an “every man for himself” attitude when it comes to getting a table, you’ll feel like a vulture standing there with your tray of hot food waiting for others to finish. Most importantly, never lose your ticket. If you do, it’s an automatic $50 for whatever it is you ordered. Their pricing is already high enough without you losing your ticket.

With the variety of foods offered, you can get a different meal every time you’re in Katz’s.

Katz’s Delicatessen is located at 205 East Houston St. (http://katzsdelicatessen.com/)