IF YOU GIVE A NEW YORKER A PASTRAMI…
ARTICLE BY FRANKIE GAROFOLO, PHOTOS BY BRANDON CHIN || SPRING 2015
Take a trip down to Katz’s Deli with Culinarian as we see whether or not this famous New York City staple lives up to its reputation.
Hint: it does!
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Katz’s Deli down in the Lower East Side serves up some of the most gigantic sandwiches you’ll ever see. Your mouth will water on first sight of their delicious smoked meat and freshly baked bread. My advice is to go with the classic pastrami with mustard on rye. Their knockwurst, while delicious as a straight up piece of meat, was a little dry when eaten in sandwich form. When you order, a fresh piece of meat is brought up from behind the counter and sliced in front of your (now ravenous) eyes.
The pastrami is warm and juicy, and the the schmear of tangy mustard on top perfectly complements the rich, smokey meat flavor. And they certainly don’t scrimp on the filling in this sandwich. Piled high with six layers of meat, each bite gives you an enormous mouth-full of pastrami. The rye bread soaks up the pastrami juices and the mild rye flavor adds a touch of background sweetness that helps counter the intensity of the meat.
But Katz’s appeal goes further than the promise of a delicious mile-high sandwich or chance to see the setting of a famous movie scene (re: Harry Met Sally’s infamous “I’ll have what she’s having!” line). Katz’s is a culture unto itself. The counter where you order those giant sandwiches is at least fifty feet long. As you lean over to talk to the Katz’s employees, you’ll notice that behind you are rows of hanging meats along with pictures of celebrities who have visited the deli. Not much has changed about the appearance since Katz’s was built in 1946, when it served the Jewish immigrants that inhabited the neighborhood. It is still, and always will be, a classic New York City spot.
Katz’s Deli is located at 205 Houston Street. For more information call (212) 254-2246.