Katz Delicatessen makes just about every “Top Places to Eat in New York” list, and we finally decided to pay a visit to see if it lived up to the hype. The 1888 Jewish institution cures their own meats, and is particularly known for the pastrami, roast beef, and brisket. Mile high sandwiches flood Instagram, but are they as good as they look?
The line out the door moved quickly, and we were handed a ticket before being thrown into the madness. The seating area was a free for all, and the deli bar had various registers with questionably organized lines full of fumbling, confused tourists. We quickly made it to counter, and it was obvious the men hacking away at the meat knew exactly what they were doing. They handled the mobs with ease and efficient politeness with a certain air of “I’m nice, but won’t tolerate any bullshit”. A taste of pastrami was presented to us, and from nibble one, there was no question that’s what we were ordering. Within 3 minutes we were at the door shelling over our ticket and $23 before sitting on a park bench and digging in.
The pastrami was juicy perfection, with perfectly charred skin and a rich smoky flavor. There was just enough mustard to enhance the meat without over powering it, and the two pieces of rye bread were the perfect holding mechanism to keep it all together.
It was the best thing we’ve eaten in a long time, and absolutely worth the $23. It would be hard for one person alone to take on the meat monstrosity, so really it’s $11.50 a person, which is a very reasonable price tag for a lunch in the Lower East Side.
Katz Delicatessen is 100% worth the hype, and it’ll be the first of many trips there for the frugal foodies!