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Katz's

I have absolutely nothing new to report about Katz's, but still I cannot help myself but to start a new thread to remind everyone how amazing this place is.

I was supposed to fly to Dallas today, but as people may have heard, AA temporarily grounded its fleet of MD80 aircraft resulting in 800 flight cancelations. So not only was my flight canceled, there was no good way to get to Dallas. (I could have flown via Los Angeles, but that didn't seem all that efficient.) So I got out of going to Dallas, and since I hadn't planned to be in the office anyway, I went back to bed!

I woke back up around 10, watched some ESPN, played on the computer, and at around 1:00 decided it might be time to get in the shower and think about lunch. It's on these days that I think about having lunch at places where I can't normally go for a weekday lunch. (I was fortunate to do one of these weekday lunches just last Friday when a meeting ended early, and I didn't need to go back to the office, so I went to Peter Luger for lunch and had their burger for the first time!) I immediately settled on Katz's. I emailed a buddy telling him to meet me there at 2, and I showered, dressed and headed for the subway.

When we walked in around 2, the tables were mostly full, but the lines at the counter were short. My buddy decided that we should "lay a base" with a couple of hotdogs, so he headed for the hotdog counter while I sized up and got in line for a meat slicer. The original plan was to each have a dog and share a pastrami sandwich, but when the meat slicer offered me a couple of slices to taste after I stuffed a couple of dollars in his cup, I immediately doubled the order: two sandwiches to go with our two dogs.

The dogs were excellent, but we knew that only was an appetizer. We then dove right into the sandwiches. These were things of beauty, works of art. It is hard to put into words how flavorful these sandwiches are. Reading back on some of the threads where people have criticized the place, I just don't get how some people just don't get Katz's. Is it possible to make a better pastrami sandwich? Is it possible to make a better anything sandwich?

By the way, we were halfway through our sandwiches when we saw a huge tray of heaping plates of french fries delivered to the counter, so of course we had to add a plate of those to our lunch too. But so as not to over do it, after eating our hot dogs, our pastrami sandwiches, and our fries, we rested a good five minutes before wandering down the street to Russ & Daughters, just to have a look-see.

Well, we discovered that it's kinda hard just to have a look-see at Russ & Daughters after a lunch at Katz's without at least having a taste of their rugelach. So my buddy and I each bought a box, just to have a taste.

I have now tasted almost the entire top row of my box of rugelach. I am not going to close my eyes, perhaps never to awaken again!

[Edited to add (cause my post wasn't long enough!): I forgot about my good deed for the day. When we approached Russ & Daughters, there was a tourist couple staring in the front door. As I opened the door, I remarked to them that they really had to step inside to experience the place. They responded by asking if they could get a sandwich inside. I told them they could get a lovely bagel-and-lox sandwich, but they really should head over to Katz's for a pastrami sandwich. They clearly had read about Katz's in their tourbook, but I made sure they were schooled in the proper way to "do" Katz's, and suggested that, like my buddy and me, they return to Russ & Daughters afterwards.]

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  1. Wonderful! I've never been to Katz's, and I actually don't think I've ever had a pastrami sandwich. Is it crazy there on the weekends?

    6 Replies
    1. re: MMRuth

      I hate you, Kenny.

      Seriously, I am so jealous. I love Katz's pastrami. Their french fries are great too! A pastrami reuben and a Dr. Brown's cream soda would be perfect right now!

      Anyway, MMRuth, Katz's can be crazy any day of the week - that's part of the fun, actually. I've been there on Saturdays a couple of times and you will definitely wait in a slicing line, and possibly for a table, but it's worth it. The last time I was there I was with my sister (from Chicago), and we ended up in the slowest slicing line imaginable. So, she decides to try to sneak into the next line over, which I immediately nixed. That slicer caught her eye and made a joke about me not liking his line, etc. Well, when we FINALLY got to the front of our line, the idiot slicer decided to go take a phone call. I was FURIOUS and let out a blue streak of foul language at the top of my (operatically trained) lungs. The slicer from the other line was so taken with my swearing (I don't think he expected it from someone who "looks" as ladylike as I do, LOL!) that he invited us to the front of his line, gave us tastes of everything and made me the biggest Reuben ever. My sister was mortified, but it was totally fabulous! I love Katz's!

      1. re: MMRuth

        MMR You've got to go, whatever the lines are like, no question! Don't wait. (And don't order it lean) You will be very happy you did.

        1. re: MMRuth

          Weekends are definitely an ebb and flow type of crowd. You never know when it will happen but suddenly there will be a flood of people at each slicers line not really able to distinguish between each individual line. About 20 minutes later, there will be no line.

          Even if there is a line, its worth it. The line moves much quicker than say Shake Shack. Worst comes to worst, you do what I do and what Blumie above mentioned and you grab a dog to eat while waiting on the meat slicer's line. Usually there is never more than one or two people waiting for a dog (closest to the window on Houston).

          I always get a pastrami on rye with nothing else, not even mustard. I also ask for just sour pickles since i'm not a picked tomato guy. A pastrami sandwich, hot dog and a large Dr. Brown's black cherry and you will be in heaven. If there are 2 of you, i'd throw in a knoblewurst too.

          1. re: ESNY

            I also get pastrami on rye with no mustard. I do like the tomato pickles, though, and the half-sours. That sandwich is so big that I wouldn't get anything else, except maybe some cole slaw. And of course Dr. Brown's soda, of which my favorite is Cel-Ray.

            1. re: Pan

              we didn't care for the cole slaw at all, but I can't wait to go get another pastrami sandwich!!!!

          2. re: MMRuth

            Wonderful review--share your admiration.

          3. the latka's are another way to lay a base in your belly!!
            so good!

            4 Replies
            1. re: jb44

              Oh, how i LOVE Katz's!! I agree, the potato latka's are so yummy. I'm known to get a pastrami sandwich to eat there, and i'll take home some latka's and pop them in the toaster later on that evening...so good!!

              Does anyone know about Katz's closing for building renovations? Wondering when my last shot is before closing/re-opening...

              1. re: rugburn

                That was an unconfirmed rumor that showed up in the NY Times a few months ago. There's been nothing since. Go. Eat. Enjoy.

                1. re: Bob Martinez

                  definitely the 2 best eating venues of NYC...
                  Katz's = luv the tongue on rye
                  and Russ & Daughters = luv the entire store. Give me a fork and I will gladly eat my way thru the entire display case.
                  My parents used to drag us to both places in the mid '50s.
                  I never appreciated it much...now I do!

                  My idea of gourmet heaven!

              2. re: jb44

                I've ordered latkes at Katz's before and it just wasn't good: less than warm, a little soggy, not something I'm dying to order again.

                The pastrami, however, is an institution! If you haven't tried it, you're only hurting yourself. :-)

              3. "I just don't get how some people just don't get Katz's."

                Neither do I, Blumie, but the fact is, some people just love being contrary for its own sake, and will say the Emperor has no clothes, even if he is wearing resplendent robes encrusted with jewels. Besides, there's no accounting for taste. I could be said not to "get" Peter Luger's, because the greatness of a piece of steak that hasn't been marinated and has no sauce is lost on me. All that remains is a good piece of steak that isn't worth the price for me. What I don't do, however, is talk the place down. I believe others when they say it's a world-beating steak. I just realize that I am not part of its target audience.

                1. Do not apologize for your starting the thread. I've been swearing for years that I just have to get to Katz's and your post confirms that I have to do it. Soon. Your good deed with the tourists is duly noted. If my Sunday plans don't pan out, I may do it. My soda of choice will be cream.

                  I did make it to Russ & Daughters, now operated by the 4th generation of the Russ family, a few months ago, after I saw it featured on a show on public television, The Jews of New York and said I had to stop putting it off. It's just fabulous. It was an instant visceral connection when I walked in. I don't know how to explain it, but I think it goes back to appetizing tending to be served at life-cycle events or break fast. And the sable was divine.

                  1. And never ask for lean meat -- the slicers know what tastes best and it is the meat with the most fat on it.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: batterypark

                      Lean? What's lean? Never heard of lean.