Katz’s Deli – LES, NYC

Katz's Delicatessen - Lower East Side, NYC
What I Ordered

Review By: Andrea Gohlke –

There is no reason to beat a dead horse, this certainly won’t be the first or last review written about the famous Katz’s Delicatessen. However, it’s worth noting that this weekend they are celebrating a century and a quarter of throwing open their front door by hosting a pastrami sandwich eating contest amongst other festivities. You can count me in as a spectator for this gluttonous display of consumption.

To be perfectly honest the first time I ate at KD’s I had no idea the storied history, or the fact that in When Harry Met Sally this is where the famous words “I’ll have what she’s is having” were uttered. I have no shame in admitting I now dream of Katz’s Deli, on the regular. In fact, the other day I texted a pal and inquired if it’s awkward that the first thing I thought of in the morning was a Katz’s deli sandwich and their melt in your mouth pale ale that pairs so fabulously with their pastrami. An emphatic, “no, I want to go with you right now” ensured that my cravings aren’t wildly unusual.

There are few places in NY that I feel compelled to parade visitors through and Katz’s is definitely in the top three. There is something comforting about an establishment that has managed to remain relatively unchanged for 125 years. I think the highlight for me is the mingling of neighborhood regulars with the tourists. Everyone stands in line together, and we all crave a little slice of the hot pastrami or corned beef as you wait for your sandwich to be built.

I’ve made a pact with myself to attempt to resist the temptation by only eating at the deli when I have guests in town. This can be both a blessing and curse when you have friends frequenting the city on nearly a weekly basis. I don’t deviate much from the path paved before me and recommend any of the hot meat sandwiches. Personally, the pastrami is where my ‘I’ve died and gone to heaven’ moment occurs. The epic tastiness reminds me of the drool-worthiness of the Cuban sandwich at Paseo in Seattle. I’m not quite sure what the secret is, but it’s ridiculously hard to turn down either of these famed creations.

I usually recommend splitting a sandwich with an eating partner so that you don’t succumb to a food coma prior to leaving the restaurant. Plus, it leaves room for the creamy all white potato salad, the handcrafted matzo ball soup, or the steak fries. This, after you have mowed on a plate of pickled vegetables, allows for you leave feeling pleasantly full, and not too piggy. Hard to not want to go zero to sixty in two bites flat, but rest assured nothing tops Katz’s. Savor the flavor, gulp down a pint or two, and know that you’ll find yourself wanting to be back sooner rather than later.

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