Tourist Talk: Katz Deli, New York

I last left you at the bottom of the High Line with a rumbling belly, waiting for a proper New York lunch.  

After making a quick pit stop at Washington Square Park, we continued on our special pilgrimage towards East Houston praying for a taste of what has been described as “the best pastrami on earth”.  Now from my personal experience, the UK is just not that big on pastrami.  We prefer our sandwich meats roasted, seasoned with a bit of salt and pepper and shoved between two pieces of bread but let me tell you, we’ve got a lesson or two in sandwich making to learn.  

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Katz Deli has been plating up Reubens like no other for the last 126 years, now serving up to 1000 punters a day.  This unassuming Jewish Deli  has been consistently hailed as making not only the best pastrami on earth, but also some of the best sandwiches in America.  It’s kind of a big deal.  

I’d been itching to visit Katz ever since I’d watched Adam Richman – from Man v. Food, duhhh – chow down on some of their deli classics but you may also recognise the interior from a scene in When Harry Met Sally where Sally, errr….well you know she puts on a show by faking it…I’ll have what shes having.  

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Katz’s menu caters to just about everyone with breakfast classics, soups, salads and various other sandwiches on offer as well as these huge, juicy pickles!  My order?  Do you even have to ask?  The pastrami reuben.  Just look at it!

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Lashings of hand carved hot pastrami, smothered in swiss cheese, topped with a healthy handful of sauerkraut and Russian dressing, between two perfectly soft pieces of rye bread.  This isn’t just any sandwich, this is a Katz’s Deli sandwich.  

The pastrami is sweet, spicy and so so succulent it literally melts in your mouth.  The sauerkraut isn’t too acidic and the Russian dressing adds a bit more spice to the mix – all the elements blend together to make the most perfect sandwich.  I can definitely understand why Katz has such a huge cult following and if I lived nearby I’d probably be visiting every other week to the detriment of my waist line.

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While its nice to visit posh restaurants in big cities, sometimes you get a more authentic experience if you spend a bit of time scoping out where the locals return to time after time.  The menu might not be cultivated by internationally renowned chefs or the interior designed by the latest architect, but you can’t argue with the taste of their hearty sandwiches.  If I had to mark them out of 5?  I’d give them 6.  

 

If you’re in New York, you’d be a fool not to head to Katz.

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