Never do I ever visit the great city of New York and NOT go to this deli. I am certainly not nearly the only person who sings the praises of Katz’s Delicatessen but I do sing them pretty loud. To say this is my most favorite deli in NYC is not a small feat nor is it an understatement. It was established in 1888 and is a landmark of not only the lower east side, but of the entire city. Over the years it has been both neighborhood gathering place and tourist destination.
You will brave a good crowd when you come to Katz’s Delicatessen. Grab your ticket, choose to be waited on or order at the counter and go sit in the back (which is what I always do). They do a lot of things well here but my favorites are 1-the pastrami, 2-the corned beef and 3- the knish.
This particular trip to NYC was with my mom. She was born and raised in NY and her father (my grand father) owned a blacksmith shop a few blocks down on Chrystie street. My aunt would tell me stories of them going to Katz’s Delicatessen with a loaf of bread, ordering one sandwich and splitting the meat 4 ways. The first time I went there I found out just how that was possible. STACKS of juicy, salty, glorious pastrami!! I have yet to taste any better.
My sweet mom sat in silence and didn’t speak the whole time. It was the first time she’d been back in 25 years and it lived up to every memory she had, which is hard to do amiright? They carve a few pieces for you as they wait on you at the counter and it’s hard to order (or think straight for that matter) when your tasting those first few bites of fatty, velvety beef. The pastrami is simple, with mustard on rye and it is perfection. Juicy or lean, I like a good mix with more juicy than lean, but both burst with flavor and have complex and rich bark.
Their Reuben is also a must get for me. Tart kraut, cheese and perfect corned beef piled so high you’ll struggle to get your mouth around it. If I go with other people I strongly suggest they get one and I get the other and pile on pickles and a few potato knish. Its way more than I can eat in one sitting but it keeps well and I’m always more than happy to eat it on hot toast for breakfast.
Katz’s Delicatessen ships nationwide at a pretty penny, but it might just me the best Christmas gift I give to my mom this year 🙂
Katz’s Delicatessen (205 East Houston Street, New York City, 10002 // 212.254.2246)