Thursday, January 21, 2010

Katz’s Delicatessen - Houston & Ludlow Sts

Katz’s Delicatessen
205 E Houston St

New Yorkers know it as one of the best Jewish delis in Manhattan - and, therefore, the world. Tourists know it as the scene of Meg Ryan’s famous “fake orgasm” scene in 1989’s romantic comedy, When Harry Met Sally. It doesn’t matter how you know Katz’s Deli, though, so long as you show up hungry!

Katz’s deli boasts that it is “famous for the best sandwich in town”, and while the sandwiches at Carnegie Deli and Second Ave Deli make this a tough judgment call, Katz’s towers above its other competitors. Its pastrami sandwich is so good you wish you could live off of it – layers of cured, smoked brisket rest between two slices of Jewish rye, and are topped off with a big squeeze of deli mustard. The corned beef doesn’t pull apart as easily as the pastrami, but both meats are fatty, tender, and crying out for a house-made pickle!

Pastrami sandwich on rye (top), with pickle (bottom). On “Seinfeld”, one of George’s girlfriends famously said, “I find pastrami to be the most sensual of all the cured salted meats.” After eating at Katz’s, *Little Scarlet* has to agree!

“I’ll have what she’s having.”
From front-left to right: Sauerkraut, half- and full-sour pickles, pastrami sandwich, corned beef sandwich. Any sandwich should be washed down with one of Katz’s several different beers on tap, ranging from Budweiser, to Brooklyn Lager and Magic Hat #9, to Katz’s own Katz’s Ale.

Any sandwich is made better by a serving of half- and full-sour pickles, as well as a side order of sauerkraut. The sauerkraut is strong, but it’s fresh and crisp, and is perfect to cut through the richness of Katz’s meats.

Katz’s serves only one type of knish - potato. These square pockets have a chewy, fried crust, instead of the light, flaky crust of Yonah Schimmel’s knishes down the street, and, at about one-third the size, are nowhere near as dense. A knish from Katz’s goes great with an egg cream, which, if you’ve never had one before, is worth trying here. Made entirely without eggs or cream, a classic egg cream calls for a combination of chocolate syrup, milk, and seltzer water, and tastes like a thin, bubbly milkshake.

The best strategy for a place like Katz’s is to come in a group - how else can you expect to try the pastrami, corned beef, and brisket sandwiches, plus finish off a knish, an egg cream, fries, and a big glass of beer?!

And yes, you really do need to try it all. Grab a self-serve table and make sure you linger for a while after you’ve finished eating - trust me, you’ll be thanking Little Scarlet later!

1 comment:

  1. this makes me miss new york so bad!! i should never have left :'(