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Carnegie or Katz's?

Hi, Hounds:

I want to take my husband out for his birthday for a classic NYC deli meal. We don't usually eat that way so I'm wondering...Carnegie or Katz's? Money not an issue, but there will be 6 of us and we'd like to be at least semi-comfortable. Delicious food the most important factor. What say you?


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  1. Katz hands down. The food is homemade and better. Not commercial. Carnegie is a more commercial experience and I find the food overdone. Best pastrami in the city at Katz.

    1. Katz's, Katz's, Katz's.....

      1. I recently posted that whenever I pass Carnegie, the sidewalk outside is littered with the corpses of people who have killed themselves rather than eat there. I was exaggerating, but only slightly. It's pretty convenient for me to get there so I want to like it. But the pastrami is dry and tasteless each time. I once heard a waitress telling a customer that the pastrami is LOW FAT!! If they are too cheap to use fat, how can it be good??

        1 Reply
        1. re: Brian S

          No kidding: a triple homicide - or something like that - occurred in one of the apartments above Carnegie a few years back. For a second there, I thought you were referring to that.

        2. Katz's for sure. You may also look into something like Sarges if the Katz's scene is too much for you.

          1. I've always heard Katz, though I've never tried either. That's a whole lotta meat! :-)

            1. Katz's or die!

              Katz's is to all other pastrami as a Thanksgiving turkey is to Oscar Meyer turkey slices.

              The knoblewurst are tasty too, especially well-done ones.

              1. No question Katz's!!
                I also like Sarge's, so I'll second that suggestion as a back-up plan.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Todd

                  sarge's is actually the last deli in nyc that smokes its own pastrami. it's delicious but katz's is better and a better expierence.

                2. Katz's without a doubt! Since there will be six of you, the temptation would be to sit at one of the tables where there is service. Even with this large a group, I would encourage you to avoid that in favor of counter service. The best way, I think, to go about it is to first snag a table, then designate two or three people to do the counter ordering. And don't forget the tradition of tipping the counterman ($1 per sandwich).

                  If you do prefer to go to a deli where you can get both table service and outstanding deli, you might want to consider the Mill Basin Deli, in Brooklyn. One of the things I love about the place is that they put bowls of assorted pickles and superb cole slaw on the table for you to nosh on while you make up your mind what you want to order. It's also one of the more attractive delis, the only one I know of where diners are surrounded by an "art gallery."


                  1. Thanks to all! Katz's it is!

                    1. As the slogan goes, Katz's, That's All!

                      Do yourself a favor and try the steak fries too (they are at a different counter down the line). They are ALWAYS cooked to perfection. they will throw away the bad/old batches rather than serve them. a remarkable surprise given that delis aren't known for fries.

                      And... whenever I get the complementary pickles for my sandwich, they are always half sours only. be sure to ask for a combination of half sours, full sours and pickled green tomatoes, assuming you like all three.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: psmalera

                        Second the fries! When we eat at Katz's I find myself gorging on fries even when I know I'm full.

                        You may also want to split a hot dog or a slice of rye with some knoblewurst.

                      2. Katz's Pastrami is living large!

                        1. it doesn't matter - the 2nd ave. deli is closed and I, for one, mourn that. It was better than either, but that being said, Katz's (and look for the table that was made famous by "When Harry Met Sally" and Meg Ryan

                          p.s., be nice to the countermen and ask for a taste

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: sportnoy1

                            I've always thought that the real reason Meg Ryan's character moaned with such enthusiasm was that she had just tasted the pastrami.