Legendary | Worth driving from anywhere
Review by: Michael Stern
Steamy hot, moist and tender, perfumed by spice and smoke, pastrami is the most voluptuous of delicatessen meats. Tasty examples can be found in almost any American city with a population of Romanian-ancestored Jews; but for the very best, for pastrami to make you plotz with pleasure, there is only one place to go: Katz’s in New York. The granddaddy of Pastrami Palaces – since 1888 – Katz’s boasts a sign outside that advertises Wurst Fabric (an Americanization of a Yiddish term for “homemade sausage”) and one inside that advises, “Send a salami to your boy in the army.”
Here is an only-in-New-York experience! Brash, big, and noisy, it is a course in customer assertiveness. Although table service is available, what makes Katz’s unique is a one-on-one encounter with a counterman. Take a ticket as you enter, approach the counter and tell one of the gents with a carving knife exactly what you want. (Hint: don’t ask for your pastrami on white bread with mayonnaise.) Motherly brisket, corned beef, turkey, knoblewurst, chopped liver, tongue, and cheese steaks are all available, as are first-rate Kosher hot dogs, but we can never resist that pastrami. A Katz’s pastrami sandwich is three-quarters of a pound of meat severed into pieces so chunky that the word slice seems too lightweight to describe them. Each brick-red, glistening hunk is rimmed black, redolent of garlic, smoke, and pickling spices, as savory as food can be.
One of Katz’s lesser-known pleasures is breakfast. The usual eggs, pancakes and French toast are available; connoisseurs come for a Katz’s omelet, which is an unfolded, open-face circle of eggs in which nestles a heap of salami, corned beef, bologna, or pastrami.
Directions & Hours
|Meals Served||Breakfast, Lunch|
|Credit Cards Accepted||Yes|