Katz's Deli

>> Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Well I finally did it. I went to Katz's. As you may remember this famous Delicatessen appeared on an episode of No Reservations and I wrote about my sudden urge to eat there. Nothing like the threat of scarcity to get me moving.

So this past Saturday we packed up the crew and headed to the lower east side establishment, ready for a big ole sandwich. We honestly had no clue what was in store.

All I can say is Holy Cluster. There were about 30 people standing immediately at the front door waiting for a person to hand them a ticket with the reminder "DO NOT LOSE YOUR TICKET" (imagine a thick New York accent.) I would say 20% of people knew what was going on, the other 80% of us were lost puppies looking for someone to feed us. The menu lined the top portion on the wall and salami's hung in the windows. I felt like I was in a vegetarian hell.

The group quickly dissembled and I was left alone with my ticket. I must have looked pathetic because someone ushered me into a line and there I stood. What they don't tell you is that each "butcher" (?) "sandwich-maker" (?) has their own line. That would have been nice to know...

Anyways once I got to the front, I panicked and ordered a pastrami on rye. Ok. Let me tell you why this was weird. 1) I have never in my life, ever, ordered a pastrami on rye 2) I didn't know what pastrami was.

So this "butcher" hands me a plate with a piece of meat on it. I immediate eat it and realize, hey I like pastrami (which I later learned is meat - brisket - that is heavily seasoned and served steaming hot), this is going to be ok. Next he places my tray in front of me with the biggest pile
of meat and bread that I have ever seen. This is like the Mt. Olympus of meat (pictured right is Leah's Ruben - and her photography skills - but you can see a pastrami and rye sandwich in the background.)

So after I get my sandwich, I start on my next task: French Fries. I am seeing people with them everywhere, but I don't know where they got them from. These are not the kind of employees that you want to ask fairly obvious questions to, so I just kept walking, hoping that there would be a huge sign that said "FATTY, FRENCH FRIES ARE HERE." Unfortunately this sign did not exist and I broke down and asked someone and they were fairly nice in pointing me to the right station. So I got my fries and diet pepsi and was ready for my next challenge: Finding a table.

Ugh, since I was a baller and the first one to get through each station quickly, I was delegated with the task of finding a table. After a lot of stalking I found one.

Everyone joins me and we sit down and enjoy this truly historic New York landmark. The sandwiches were great, the fries were crispy, the drinks were cool and overall, I would definitely come back, however, there are some things that I feel EVERYONE should know before they even think about going to Katz's. Some things I've discussed others I haven't but they are in this neat list for you to keep up with:

  1. Do not, and I repeat DO NOT go hungover. This will be a death sentence. Trust me.
  2. Be alert, watch the lines.
  3. Don't go with more than 5 people. You will not get table.
  4. Don't lose your ticket. This didn't happen, but I don't want to know what would happen if you did.
  5. Be prepared for left-overs.
  6. This will not be a cheap meal, but you will get more than one meal out of it.
Other than that Katz's is a great institution and the walls are lined with it's history, even a sign hanging from the ceiling dedicated to the famous scene in When Harry Met Sally, the "I'll have what she's having" scene...

Katz's Delicatessen
205 E Houston St.
New York, NY 10002
(212) 254-2246


Unknown March 4, 2009 at 10:18 AM  

Rule #1 needs to be in bold and in italics.....i must admit, the reuben was by far the best. NBD.

Renee Barone March 4, 2009 at 10:21 AM  

Leah, your comment has been noted and the changes have been made. It really is the single most important point about Katz's and will make or break your experience.

The Ruben was pretty good, but that pastrami really held it's own.


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