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Pastrami Sandwich

I have read mixed reviews about Katz's, I am looking for opinions on the best Pastrami Sandwich; I will be visiting my son this weekend (he's in East Village, we are staying in mid-town) and would like to take a Pastrami Sandwich to go. Any Recs?

Also, have reservations for Sat. night at Crispo, anything that are must haves?

Thanks in advance.

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  1. Pastrami and More, formerly pastrami king, on 23rd between 1st and 2nd

    2 Replies
    1. re: kcijones001

      Pastrami and Things closed about a year ago and it wasn't terribly good. IF you want pastrami you shouldn't consider, for even one second, going anywhere but Katz's.

      1. re: ESNY

        fUNNY, MUST HAVE CLOSED right after i moved from that area.

    2. For Crispo, bone marrow, spaghetti carbonara, spaghetti & meatballs, pappardelle w/wild mushroom ragu.

      1. Yeah, Katz's. The people who give it bad reviews are high on angel dust.

        3 Replies
        1. re: tpigeon

          There's nothing like Katz's pastrami...nothing. Second.

          1. re: LeahBaila

            seriously, its by far #1. though, i dont mind carnegie deli's pastrami.

          2. I'm like Mikey, I never agree with the Board majority but even I have to agree with the other posters: Katz's rules...

            1. Second Avenue Deli returning soon (please God). Otherwise...Katz's.

              1. Katz- And I have no affection for the place, no nostalgia, but it really is the best pastrami sandwich you'll get anywhere.

                1. Pardon my naivete. Is Katz's a mile-high, good for two meals, pastrami gorge? What does the sandwich cost? What makes it your favorite?

                  Has anyone been to L.A. and tried the pastrami on rye at Langer's? Some reviewers, both local and around the country, say their's is the best pastrami. Great rye bread, soft in the middle and crunchy crust. Not a huge sandwich, but amazingly succulent and costs about $11.

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: nosh

                    Bigger isn't always better!

                    Katz's is the best hand carved pastrami I've had. I've heard of Langer's but even my oldest friend who lives in LA wants Katz's when he comes to town.

                    I don't even know where to start. They carve it by hand so you don't get those almost dried out thin machine slices. The flavor is fabulous and if you get it fatty it just melts in your mouth.

                    1. re: nosh

                      It's the hand carving, which opens up the flavor throughout the thick sandwich because of the irregularity of the cut, combined with the quality of the meat itself. And I think the water here gives us better bread (and now I go into the foodie protection program).

                        1. re: addictedtolunch

                          I love Katz's as much as anyone but let's not pretend the bread is any good. It's only a medium to hold the pastrami and it is almost universally derided.

                          1. re: KTinNYC

                            Katz's rules as everyone agrees. However i was in midtown and carnegie was too crowded and went across the street to ben ash where ive had some decent pastrami. place has gone downhill fast. matzoh ball soup was tasteless even the the matzoh ball was the size of a softball and pastrami was really dry. service sucked also. wont go back. which leaves only katz's and 2nd ave when they re-open on 33rd st for good solid pastrami. everywhere else is just lousy.

                            1. re: ricky7

                              Thanks for all the good feedback. I definitely will be going to Katz's.

                          2. re: addictedtolunch

                            Yeah... my interpretation: Katz's is the only place in NY that still does the relatively thick hand carving... and you can ONLY do that if the pastrami is fabulously tender. The thin slicing elsewhere masks whether the pastrami is just so-so tender or crazy tender. Katz's knows how to get crazy tender, and they flaunt it with the thick cut. One of a kind. Go there.

                          3. re: nosh

                            Yeah, I actually fell in love with Pastrami at Langer's first, then moved to NYC. It's a close call. They're very similar products - dripping, juicy, fatty, warm meat, not the thin glossy sheets of reddish pink rimmed with black that seem to be the norm absolutely everywhere else. Langer's does have better bread, but a much worse egg cream, and nothing else I've had is as good as at Katz's. But the Pastrami...

                            I'll put it this way. It's a close enough call that I'd need to try both of them, side by side, freshly sliced, to make the decision. And unfortunately, that's difficult to arrange. You can't trust Jonathan Gold on this - as great as he is, he grew up in LA, so he's biased. I'm pretty sure neither is good enough to be definitively better than the other. As opposed to Katz's competition in NYC, which (as long as 2nd ave remains out of commission) is, in my opinion, no real competition at all.

                          4. At the risk of getting kicked off the thread, I had the Woody Allen last night at the Carnegie- pastrami and corned beef combo the equivalent of about 4 Katz's sandwiches in terms of size and pretty good. Not Katz's or Second Avenue good, but pretty good. P.S. I was the only NYer in the place! Sat next to two little old ladies from Topeka-I kid you not.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: guttergourmet

                              I agree that Carnegie is good. Come to miami if you really want to know about bad deli. We can give you an education.

                            2. If it's to go, Katz's for sure. It's still the best. Sure, you get your ticket and stand at the counter, but where else in the City do they still hand cut the pastrami and give you some to taste while you're waiting. Don't forget to ask for a First Cut!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: lovefood

                                I also vote for Katz's first, followed by Carnegie. I also enjoyed the pastrami at Artie's, on the UWS. Although I definitely suggest Katz's or Carnegie first.

                              2. Katz's it up there. I always tip and ask for it lean (still tastes great)
                                Pastrami Queen (takeout only) I was there recently and totally impressed. Not quite Pastrami King of old Queens but a contender I would need to eat more to see if they are consistent but Katz's isn't consistent and the pastrami ranges from very good to fantastic.

                                Sarges is also very very good.

                                the old 2nd ave deli I found too salty.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: joelm

                                  anyone ever have the pastrami at eisenbergs, 5th and 22nd, its surprisingly good. sandwich not too big but good.

                                  1. re: ricky7

                                    forgot about them. major old-school place for all sorts of sandwiches. looks and feels a lot like katz's, but with about 20 seats... tiny.

                                    1. re: ricky7

                                      Eisenberg's-I like their pasrami with eggs for breakfast chase by a couple of chocolate egg creams. Also love the never touched (or cleaned ) decor ;) .

                                  2. Mixed reviews about Katz's? East Village? Uh... Katz's is the only place to go. End of story.

                                    1. If you are on the island of Manhattan you should NOT be going anywhere else for a pastrami sandwich other than Katzs. I will tell you what I tell everyone I send to eat there, this is top secret patented "proper protocol" from years of extensive research ;)
                                      1) There is NO line, well yes there is but there is no ONE line. Each carver has his own line of customers -- so after you have received your ticket in hand walk up to the carver with the shortest line (unless you have your favorite guy), I cannot repeat how many times I see tourists pack up a singular line when there are so many guys to go towards and then give me strange looks because it appears to them that I have skipped the ONE line.
                                      2) Have in your possession one US Dollar bill, just do it.
                                      3) Walk up to your guy with a giant smile, make eye contact, put the dollar in his tip cup and THEN place your order (my order never changes and I am not going to dictate to you what you should order and eat ... but if its pastrami on rye- proceed to 4).
                                      4) After the dollar's been strategically placed inside the tip cup, you say One pastrami sandwich and Make It JUICY please.
                                      5) Now ENJOY the best pastrami you will have during this trip to Katzs, and that would be these slices he serves you now while you are waiting and watching your sandwich being prepared. ...
                                      6) Finish your order with your preferred pickled products, I always request half sour/new pickles. He will give you a disproportional amount compared to a single sandwich, but thats in your favor so just be HAPPY.

                                      I swear by AND INVENTED! these steps. And of course step 5 is subjective, because the sandwich is damn good once you get to the table - but really I find most savory are those generous slices he carves up during your wait, probably to keep you from leaping over the to the other side of the counter to steal his pastrami stash. Working with the directions above there will never be mixed reviews about Katzs. These steps work for take-out as well, and in that case ask for mustard and extra slices of rye bread.

                                      1. Mixed reviews of Katz's? You've gotta be kidding me! Don't listen to those dufuses! Katz's is fantastic! I live a 10-minute walk from the place and go only once every 2 1/2 or 3 months, because it's so rich and filling, but I just can't imagine who wouldn't love their pastrami! Go, wait on line (don't do waiter service), ask for juicy pastrami, try a sample, and if it's too fibrous or whatever, just tell the counterman, and he'll get another slab for you. Tip him at least $1 per sandwich. The last time I was there, about a week ago, I tipped $2 for one sandwich, and he gave me extra pickles and extra pastrami. And man, was that food for the soul!

                                        Crispo recommendations:

                                        Butternut Tortelloni "Zucca" Roast Chestnuts - fantastic!
                                        Spaghetti "Shrimp Fra Diavola"
                                        Trofie al Prosciutto "San Daniele"
                                        "Ricotta Gnocchi" Duck & Fontina - lovely
                                        Spaghetti Carbonara "3p Classic" - very good Carbonara

                                        Seared Duck Breast "Figs & Port" - great! I love this!

                                        Tasting of Crème Brûlée & Chocolate Pot de Crème

                                        Also, listen to the specials. The last time I was there, they had a special veal Cotoletto with artichoke hearts in a genuinely sour lemon sauce that was just as good as the duck, in a different way. All the things I've had there have been at least solidly good. I guess this is beyond the season of zucchini flowers, but if you have the room in your stomach, do get some antipasti. They're really good.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: Pan

                                          If you don't like Katz's then you don't like Pastrami...

                                          1. re: Hungry Brooklyn Mike

                                            katz's has the best pastrami, but order it 'JUICY" not extra lean

                                          2. re: Pan

                                            Sorry Pan, even Dufusses know Katz's ranges from perfect to perfect.

                                          3. dont forget the cream or blackberry soda with the pastrami - or celray for the trully adventurous.

                                            1. o.k. fellow "pastrami purists" ifyou're searching for Nirvana follow these steps.go to Orwasher's Bakery 308 E.78th St. buy a loaf of black -seeded light rye sliced thin.Secondly, get a small jar of Coleman's Original Mustard,it's hotter than brown deli mustard.And lastly, go up to the counter and custom order a pastrami sandwich,hold the mustard at the "mecca' of all delis Katz's. Now deconstruct the sandwich,throw the bread away or feed the pigeons,and reassemble. You are about ready to taste something that is better than the Porterhouse at Peter Lugers

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: PAULSCOHEN

                                                Wouldn't it be easier just to order the pastrami by the lb and not a whole sandwich?

                                                1. re: JRSD

                                                  jrsd that's an alternative but my way you can eat the sandwich rightthere at Katz's,indescreetly. if you ever ate a whole lb of pastrami the EMT's would be carrying you out on a strecher

                                                  1. re: PAULSCOHEN

                                                    Are you thinking the meat that's in the sandwich made by the counterman is a lot less than a pound? You might be surprised (horrified?) to find out how much that meat actually weighs. Between the fact that the slices are thick and they pile them on, I'll bet it's around a pound, give or take an ounce or two.

                                                    1. re: PAULSCOHEN

                                                      For some reason, when you mentioned feeding the pigeons, I immediately concluded that you would be assembling the sandwich outside.

                                                      1. re: JRSD

                                                        i'm sorry for not being more articulate. reassemble and eat the sandwich inside katz's and feed the pigeons outside unless some have flown inside.ntl enjoy the pastrami, inside or out or even bring it with you to a good movie.