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NY Deli in Austin

Katz's Deli in Austin on 6th St. is a true New York deli. The corned beef on rye is fantastic, The fried pickles, a first for me, were to die for! I've also tried the french dip and I've got to say that so far everything I've tried is just great. The atmosphere is true New York deli as well and I can't wait to return and try something else.

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  1. As a NY Jew who insists on going to a neighborhood deli in Brooklyn as soon as I get off the plane each year, I must disagree that Katz's is a "true NY deli".

    I have been disappointed so many times by Katz's that I have stopped going completely ..and while I love fried pickles they are not a NY deli thing at all, but a Texas adaptation of a real kosher pickle, which Katz does not have !

    2 Replies
    1. re: judiftx1

      Maybe you're right, but it's the best I've had in Austin. Where would you suggest? Is there anything good here in Austin?

    2. There is very little between Katz's and a NY Jewish deli. their bagels are just dry.

        1. Wow.

          I can't think of anything farther (further?) from a NY deli than Katz's. And MannyHattan's for that matter.

          1. Gotta agree with the other replies - it is like a theme park representation of the NY Deli experience - an overblown, garish, off-base and liberally enhanced fantasy of what real NY deli is.

            1. Interesting responses. I am a NY Jew raised on Carnegie, 2nd Ave, Greengrass, Ratners, Katz's, Zabars, H&H, etc And while nothing compares in Austin, when I am in the mood Katz's and Manny Hattans gets close enough to satisfying my homesickness. Particularly on a Sunday morning with the NYTimes spread out, Coffee, Bagel with Cream cheese, and eggs with onions and lox.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Paul Silver

                Hm. This is probably going to wind up like the eternal pizza quest. But Katz's (Austin) did nothing to quench my homesickness for 2nd Ave Deli or Katz's (NY), it only made me sad, YMMV. As many others suggested in a different thread, I focus on what Austin does well and make my pilgrimages back for truly delicious NY Deli, pizza, and bagels. Italian ices. Plus, the whole Katz (Austin) aesthetic is so obnoxious (IMHO) I just try to ignore it.

              2. The seafood counter at the flagship Whole Foods makes a great bagel w/cream cheese, lox, tomato, onion and capers.

                9 Replies
                1. re: mkwng

                  Agreed! Get mine with extra capers...and they have great coffee. Sit out on the patio and enjoy a nice spring morning to boot.

                  1. re: mkwng

                    I also agree. That is part of our weekly weekend ritual. It comes as a sandwich, but it is perfect for splitting with my SO.

                    1. re: Homero

                      Also, did you know you can get just 1/2 sammich if you ask? I can't eat a whole lobster roll, but a half really is special.

                      1. re: amysuehere

                        Amysue, tell me more about this lobsta roll of which you speak. I've never seen lobster rolls there (then again, haven't looked too closely either).

                        Split-top bun ? Mayo or butter ?

                        1. re: Nab

                          It's in the smoked seafood counter. It's a split-top bun. Mayo, basically, with lobster claw salad consisting celery, parsley, mayo as the main ingrediants; no lettuce, tomato or such. HUGE and plentyful lobster claw meat. Really quite a steal at under $7 for a half. I think the whole is around $9.50, but don't hold me to that. I haven't seen it during the winter, but up till about August/September of last year, they were there all the time. I'm assuming it's a spring thorugh fall dish.

                          When they were there, they were "hidden". Usually only had one prepared, if at all, and it was tucked behind everything else. Sometimes I had to ask for one and they'd prepare it.

                          1. re: amysuehere

                            Thanks, sounds pretty ideal to me (though I don't mind the buttered version either).

                            Given your closing statements, I wonder about the turnover though. Can always ask for it to be prepared fresh I presume, after all, those Whole Foods staff are so friendly and happy and nice, they'd be delighted to do that. ;)

                            1. re: Nab

                              Honestly, I think the one in the case is just for show. They always made them, never pulled the one out of the case, as I remember.

                    2. re: mkwng

                      okay........ignorant texan here.........went to whole foods and ate one of these awesome bagels.......I did love it..........we actually split it....it's HUGE.........

                      but here's my dumb question.......the bagel was cold!!! I've never had a cold bagel. I always toast them. What up with this??? Is this a NY thang?

                      1. re: mkwng

                        I tried the WF bagel and lox on Saturday and wasn't impressed. The bagel (from Hot Jumbo) didn't have the crisp outside and chewy interior that make a bagel great. My wife said that if a bagel could be mealy, that would be it. It was only a step above the HEB "bagels". Strange, because I remember really liking Hot Jumbo Bagels growing up here. The intervening years in New York must have spoiled/educated me. The smoked salmon was only okay. Sliced a little thick and a bit too dry, I thought. All in all, not something I'd go back for.

                      2. Katz is OK if you want to drive if not there is Manny Hattan's

                        http://www.mannyhattans.com/

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: angelfoodmaker

                          How does Hog Island compare here? I haven't been (keep meaning to though), but a couple of people I know swear its the only place to get a decent NY Deli sandwich in the city.

                          1. re: shan

                            I love Hog Island. I don't think it's what folks here are looking for, though - it's more of an Italian sandwich shop than a Jewish deli. They do have pastrami and corned beef on the menu, but the hoagies and cheesesteaks are the attraction at Hog Island.

                            1. re: shan

                              That's true - not what the OP was asking, but the bread will bring you to tears. It's the only place in Austin to get decent Italian bread - which they will sell you separately if you ask. They bring it in from Philly parbaked and you can finish it in your oven at home as well as they do there. A most excellent sandwich is assured, whatever you order there but I agree, stick with the Italian items.

                              My 2 cents about Katz's is boo. I moved here 14 years ago from NYC and my first cold I caught, I went looking for matzo ball soup. Katz's was the only game in town so I got some from there and was completely horrified. 14 years is a long time ago, so I can't say what was wrong with it, I just remember it being wrong enough to never consider returning. I haven't been to Manny Hattens but it doesn't seem very chowish. People talk about their bagels from H&H - which you can also get in the freezer case at Central Market so what's the big whoop.

                              BTW I also had the NY Bagel & Lox sandwich at the fish counter at whole foods recently and was very pleasantly surprised - it was dee lish.

                              1. re: Allison L.

                                The Downtown whole foods does have a great Bagel and Lox. The same counter also has several different types of seafood burgers which are absolutely great. I have often wonder why there is no where in Austin that makes homemade bagels not the HEB imitations.

                                1. re: Allison L.

                                  are the bagels at whole foods new york worthy? or did they just have the overall ratio & combination right? ;)

                                  1. re: kugelchic

                                    The bagel itself is pretty ordinary, actually. But the fish was good, you got a nice big hunk of cream cheese, and the tomato and onion were freshly sliced. Once the guy making mine had a beautiful heirloom tomato he'd scored from the produce department.

                                    The whole thing, though, has taken a dive since they rearranged the seafood department to add more chairs to the restaurant area. Now they premake them, wrap them in plastic, and stick them in the self-serve case.

                                2. re: shan

                                  I have not tried Hog Island where is it located?

                                3. For Chicken Soup - you might try the Russian deli just off Anderson Ln across from Sun Harvest. Homemade, fresh and delish.

                                  I'm not a huge fan of the decor at Manny Hattan's but the food is pretty good, IMO. Katz's doesn't do it for me.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: ridgeback

                                    The Russian Deli is called Sasha's by the way also they have a lot of Russian and East European gifts there also.

                                  2. Has anyone tried Bambino's on guadalupe?

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: ieathereforeiam

                                      I have tried Bambino's. I've never lived in NYC so I can't attest to it's Big Apple authenticity with any authority. But somehow I doubt that delis in New York have pictures of guys from New York gangster movies spread all over the walls. Like other Austin NYC themed restaurants, I think this one would probably come across more like a theme park to visiting New Yorkers.

                                      The food was okay, not as good as Spicy Pickle a little further down Guadalupe. The bread was dry, not fresh at all, and the sandwich ingredients were only average. Nothing remarkable or outstanding to it at all.

                                      My experience there was annoying. The sandwich maker was this frat boy fellow who tried a little too hard to be buddy-buddy with me. He also admitted (without prompting) that the store's business was sagging. Then he conveniently "forgot" my sandwiches were each a dollar more than the price he originally told me until it came time to ring me up. I wonder if that's why they don't post the prices in the store.

                                      1. re: poutine4e

                                        Hi Poutine4e,

                                        Any luck finding a Poutine around here? We're headed to Quebec next week and are looking forward to a real Poutine!!!

                                        1. re: poutine4e

                                          Hey, it wouldn't be an authentic NY experience if they didn't try to rip you off a little!

                                      2. if u want great deli u need to visit kenny and ziggys in houstonmthe stuff here in austin doesnt cut as i a former nyker and lived there for over 3o yrs.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: nytexan

                                          I second both of these conclusions. I gave a more elaborate review of Austin's "NY deli's" in the Reuben thread.
                                          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/392943
                                          I keep hoping that as the city grows we will get something more like Kenny and Ziggy's. We don't have delis, we have deli "concepts."

                                          1. re: tipsytexan

                                            While I'll admit that Katz's may fall short of "the real thing", I will say that it is pretty good.

                                            I lived in NY until I was 17, and I lived in DC for the last four years before I moved here - and I will say that Katz's is far better than anything I ever got in DC.

                                            Sadly, Katz's pickles are all wrong. But they do some things pretty damn well.

                                            1. re: EricDC

                                              had to put my two cents in ;) (must be the northeasterner in me!)

                                              bagels: the quest continues... is there not one?!?!?!?

                                              kugel: me :) i make a fabulous sweet noodle kugel that tastes somewhere between cheesecake and apple pie... YUM :)

                                        2. I have to agree, Katz's is nothing like a NY deli, it wouldn't stay open more than a week anywhere in the Tri-State area, you get a better sandwich at a corner bodega in New York. Hog Island is actually good, it's not really a deli, but they have solid hoagies and cheese-steaks, the owner told me that he flies the bread in from the northeast every other day. I've heard good things about Sarcone's and Little Deli but have to yet to try either. Manny Hattans is average but nothing spectacular, the bagles are from H&H but I believe they are only flown in once a week. I'm not sure why they haven't been able to pull off a good deli (especially downtown), maybe it's just not in demand, I'm not sure. Houston has a great deli called "Kenny and Ziggy's" and Dallas has some excellent delis as well. If anyone finds any good pizza or deli please respond, thanks.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: lloyddaniels

                                            I'll add my voice to the chorus of Austin deli-haters. I wouldn't get so much as a glass of water at either Manny Hattan's or Katz's. I utterly despise them both, after giving them a fair try. I'm a Philly-raised Jew, and out of all the cuisines I grew up eating, Jewish deli is the one thing that I CANNOT get here in Austin on any acceptable level. Hog Island is good, but as noted above, it's an Italian sandwich shop, not a Jewish deli; these are seriously different concepts. As an Italian sandwich shop, especially a Philly-derived one, it's pretty good. I adore their hoagies, and the cheesesteaks are...well, they're not quite like the ones I have back East, but they're not bad at all. (But I'm pretty fussy about things like cheese/meat ratio.)

                                            And as for bagels, forget about it. I gather that no bagel-making establishment in Austin has boiled their bagels in years. (Steaming is quicker and easier for them.) Without boiling the dough before baking, it's not a bagel worth eating. Austin has many wonderful attractions, but the East Coast Ashkenazi Jewish food is not among them.

                                            1. re: elustaz

                                              Katz's sucks. I would much rather skip a meal than eat there. Recently, I ordered corned beef hash there. It cam out burned and bitter. I sent it back. It came out burned and bitter twice more before I gave up and left.Over the last decade, I've probably been drug in there five times. It's always bad. Manny Hattan's may not rise to the level of Great New York Deli, but it doesn't suck like Katz's does.

                                          2. First of all, it has been WAY too long since I was in a real deli, but I have been to Katz's MannyHattans, and others. Some of the ingredients at both have been good, but the definite nod on the sour pickles goes to MannyHattans. One thing I don't understand is how some place can masquerade as a Jewish deli when you have to "special order" to get a pastrami on rye without cheese! The pastrami is ok, but, as in the great bagel lament, the missing ingredientn I find most notable is great sour rye bread for all of the hot pastrami and brown mustard. Given that "lowest common denominator," Jason's makes a pastrami on rye that isn't that far behind Katz's and MannyHattans. That may say something positive about the Jason's chain dining, but I don't think it moves Katz's and Manny's into the realm of "true Jewish delis." Kahn's in Houston isn't bad.

                                            1. if you want good deli you must goto houston to kenny and ziggys which reminds of the stage deli in ny ,the ones in austin arent worth the money .

                                              1. Katz's is AWFUL! MannyHattens is sub par. If you want authentic NY deli food in Texas you have to make a drive to Houston and eat at Kenny and Ziggys. Their triple smoked pastrami is the best thing in the world. There is no decent bagel in Austin either. Almost all of the bagels in town are baked, not boiled first. Again, in Houston , There is the New York Bagel Shop on Hilcroft and Brasewood, best bagels in the south.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: ezrailson

                                                  Well I finally tried Little Deli on Woodrow. Though not a Jewish Deli it certainly is the best deli is Austin, WITHOUT A DOUBT. Little Deli serves thinly sliced Boar's Head meat, accompanied by a variety of different breads (rye, wedge, sourdough, hoagie) delivered fresh every morning. This place is so for real, the owner (a great Italian guy from up north) really puts his heart and soul into the establishment.

                                                  Little Deli takes pride in soup made daily (check out the soup of the day), fresh potato salad, pasta salad, bread delivered daily (nothing kept overnight), and meat cut to-order. The veggies are brought in fresh and dressings made in house. I sampled the Italian wedge (solid), turkey/mozz on rye, chicken salad, and tuna - wasn't disappointed by any of them, something I can't normally in regard to food in Austin. Sort of reminds me of my neighborhood luncheonette growing up in the Northeast. I'll definitely be back.