HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >


Katz's--A Disaster

  • f

To me, the most important element in any sandwich is the bread, and the flaccid, flavorless, packaged rye--albeit Pechter's--failed badly. I actually made a pilgrimmage to Orwasher's to reassure myself it still existed and get some of its great corn rye (and walnut-raisin pumpernickel) before we flew home the next day. I asked whether it supplied any delis and the friendly clerk mentioned Pastrami King.

The pastrami was so lean that its nomal saltiness was over-prominent. I realize I could have requested end or extra-fatty cuts, but to my mind no self-respecting deli would offer pastrami so lean that it lost all its succulence and darn-near choked the person trying to swallow it.

A first in my long deli-eating life: The cole slaw and potato salad appeared to be sauced with the identical, soupy mixture. I'd happened to have had cole slaw at a coffee shop earlier that day and K's tasted and appeared identical, down to three (3) shreds of carrot in the slaw!

Interesting and generous mix of over- and under-done pickles.

I realize this is a personal prejudice, but I am accusotmed to being able to request Russian style sweet-hot mustard to go with my pastrami sand.

The broccoli knish was mostly potato but not unpalatable; my BH's Reuben was tastier than the pastrami simply because the ingredients were moister.

Far and away the most shocking and depressing was what we got when we ordered Katz's lemonade, expecting what we've gotten every other place on Earth we've ordered such an item, a house-made mixture of lemon juice, sugar, and water:, we got instead bottled stuff with high fructose corn syrup as the first listed ingredient and lemon flavor instead of juice.

308 E 78th St, New York, NY 10075

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Try Sarge's next time. I adore their fatty pastrami. I've been getting the best pastrami sandwiches at Sarge's for over 17 years and no disappointments!

    1 Reply
    1. re: ellenost

      I know this is an old post but for the benefit of anyone reading it in 2013 Sarge's had a huge fire after Thanksgiving. They are closed and rebuilding. We in the "Hill of Murray" miss them dearly, especially at 2 AM!!

    2. Admit it Chowhounds...Katz's is NOT what it used to be.
      The 50's and the 60's are a thing of the past.

      3 Replies
      1. re: pbjluver

        katz's is a million times better than it was in the 60s.and 70s the quality since the new owners bought it around 1980 has improved greatly,, i dont know how katz's was in the 50s and earlier. The pastrami is exceptional and you have to ask for it juicy. Alot of "non deli eaters" do want the corn beef extra lean and they like it with absolutely no fat. fatty is better to me, but if one wants it xtra lean that's a matter of taste. A broccoli knish i wouldnt think about , a round potato that has alot of onions in it, that's the choice.
        The rye bread is just fine, its not as good as the hot rye bread i got from a kosher bakery in brooklyn the other day but what they have is fine and its the meat that counts alot more than the rye bread. Orwashers may have great pumpernickle raisin bread etc but that isnt something you want with deli meat. Lemonade, ummm i dont think so! try doctor browns cel ray soda. Ruben's hmmm thats not real deli.
        I do think that the french fries could use improvement , if they arent fresh and they sit under the heat lamp they are bad. Nathan's french fries are my favorite to go with deli food,,,belgian fries i like too,,
        Katzs matzoh ball soup is real good. The pea soup is hit and miss. Alot of people like the katz's cheese steak as crazy as that sounds.
        The cornbeef is really good but again ask for it juicy. I think Sarge's is minor league compared to Katz's. 2nd ave deli's pastrami and cornbeef is very good. Pastrami king is also minor league, Katz's ROCKS

        308 E 78th St, New York, NY 10075

        1. re: foodwhisperer

          Foodwhisperer- I agree completely. Fries at Nathan's(coney island only) are great. Orwashers rye is delicious and reminiscent of the old Jewish bakeries on the lower east side. I brought some Katz's pastrami home and a sliced Orwashers rye (both the best),but the bread got soggy before I was half way through the sandwich and flattened out.

          1. re: Diane Dee

            I have to assume the fries at all of the Nathan's outlets are the same you get at CI. The ARE impressive. Too bad the ONE Nathan's here in No. CT just closed. I'm having withdrawals.

      2. Katz's did'nt do much for me, either...
        my comrades over on www.roadfood.com seem to constantly rave about it, however..

        Glad I'm not alone, anymore, FINE !!

        2 Replies
        1. re: ellen4441

          using roadfood for anything other than photos is a waste. look at the Katz site. Stern hasn;t been there in 7 years and with the whole site 1500 restaurants and 2100 reviews, barely 1.5 per on average, not exactly a good cross-section. Talk about a bit of an exclusive club.

          But the pictures are great

          1. re: jfood

            Thanks JFOOD, as I post a lot of those Roadfood.com pics you are referring to...!
            most the freshest material from Roadfooders is in the "Trip Reports" forum, and also in the "Sandwich" forum...
            I post under the name "ellen4641";;my most recent report is my "Pastrami in Philly, MEAT-up with David Sax".... just posted it last week.... went over real well...
            (also past reports on Carnegie, Harold's Deli in Edison, NJ, )

            I agree that the Roadfood REVIEW area is not a good cross section...

        2. So lets sum up -

          You didn't like the rye bread. Did you ever see a post that praised that bread? It's mediocre, everyone acknowledges it. The pastrami more than offsets the bread.

          You got lean pastrami but acknowledge that you didn't ask for the fatty stuff. Next time, ask.

          Sub par cole slaw and potato salad? Again, who told you it was good there?

          Katz's doesn't serve house made lemonade? Who knew? Actually, almost everybody knows that. Again, there are no posts that rave about Katz's lemonade so I'm shocked that you were shocked.

          At Katz's, you go for the moist pastrami. The bread is an afterthought. The sides are unremarkable. There's a reason that's the conventional wisdom .

          32 Replies
          1. re: Bob Martinez

            i get it on club bread...i dont deal with rye bread unless im at langers in LA...

            1. re: sam1

              I agree. While the club is rather chewy, it certainly stands up to the pastrami (and the brisket) much better than the packaged rye. The club gets no love on this board, but it is what I always order. Note that if the OP would have gotten on line like everyone here recommends, s/he would have gotten a taste before the sandwich was made. If the taste was too dry, a request for juicier would have been graciously met.

            2. re: Bob Martinez

              Too many people are complaining about different things at Katz's for them all to be simply clue-less cranks. There was a very recent thread regarding a perceived shrinking of the pastrami sandwich itself (I agree, and am no longer sufficiently "choked" by it, but others don't). But if we've gotten to the point where this once beloved place now only makes one thing worth visiting for, moist pastrami in insufficient quantities for $15 a throw, which can only be obtained even there if you get on line, ask specifically, tip properly, and the moon happens to be lined up with Alpha Centauri, it ain't worth the trip anymore.

              1. re: Bob Martinez

                I'm with you Bob :)
                One goes to Katz's for a pastrami on rye (not lean), half sour pickes and a Dr. Brown's cherry or cream soda.

                Just my opinion. I happen to like the place and will continue to visit for that one meal and the atmosphere it provides.

                1. re: iluvcookies

                  Add their Knoblewurst to that list and I'm there!

                  1. re: CornflakeGirl

                    And their hot dogs aren't bad either :)

                    1. re: iluvcookies

                      Love the hot dogs! And I'm probably the only person that actually doesn't mind the fries! LOL!

                      My parents go there and get pastrami, hot dogs and knoblewurst from the takeout area and prepare it all at home! They have a whole system where they steam the pastrami to reheat it!

                      1. re: CornflakeGirl


                        If you really like the hot dogs at Katz's, let me suggest that you find a store or market that sells Sabrett natural casing all beef franks and buy some. This is what Katz's serves. You can get the same for much cheaper at a store.

                        1. re: hotdoglover

                          I've had those as well and they don't taste the same!

                          1. re: CornflakeGirl

                            I think it's the grill... like a well seasoned cast iron skillet, the old grills impart a flavor that can't be replicated at home.

                            CornflakeGirl, I don't mind the fries either. Not the best, but OK.

                            1. re: iluvcookies

                              Or maybe the atmosphere. Food sometimes seems to taste better when you have it out. I do know that the dogs served at Katz's, Papaya King, and Gray's Papaya are the same recipe Sabrett natural casing dogs.

                              Papaya King
                              200 W 14th St Frnt 1, New York, NY 10011

                              1. re: hotdoglover

                                Thanks hotdoglover... that's good to know.
                                When you make Sabretts at home do you notice a difference? DH wanted to pick up a pack from our supermarket but I have a feeling they aren't *exactly* the same as the ones at Katz/Papaya King.

                                1. re: iluvcookies

                                  The only difference is size and perhaps the preparation and grill. I've posted extensively about this subject in the past. Let me give you the short version. I know Sabrett distributors, a guy whose father delivered Sabrett hot dogs for 41 years including to Katz's, Papaya King, and Grays, and the person in charge of private label at Marathon Enterprises which is the parent company of Sabrett. I am 100% positive that the dogs at these places are the same recipe Sabretts. Sabrett has a beef dog and a beef/pork dog. That's it, 2 recipes. They do come in different sizes and either skinless or natural casing. Katz's dog is slightly larger than Papaya King and Gray's. The serial numbers are the same for these 2. They are 10 to a lb natural casing Sabretts. Papaya King is one of the 10% of accounts that get their dogs refrigerated rather than frozen. Perhaps this makes a difference.

                                  Another reason for a perceived difference could be that the Sabrett's you buy in the store come 8 to a lb rather than 10. The casing isn't as tight. But I am sure that they are the same recipe. Confirmed to me by the person in charge of private label who thought I was opening my own place when I called to inquire about buying some of his dogs that he sold to Papaya King. Despite their claims Papaya King does not add an extra spice.

                                  I was contacted by a local news program who was interested in this information. They found it from one of my past posts. They decided not to run the piece because they feared a lawsuit even though I am positive of what I stated.

                                  Years ago I spoke with an employee of Katz's over the phone who told me they use Sabrett. When I went a friendly employee told me the same thing. When asked about the hot dogs by someone else, one owner claimed the dogs were made on premise. When another owner was asked, he laughed and said they were made for them by Marathon.

                                  Papaya King
                                  200 W 14th St, New York, NY 10011

                                  1. re: hotdoglover

                                    HDL is correct. Many years ago, after my meal of Pastrami, I went to the take-out counter to purchase some salami and hot dogs to take home.......I seem to recall the retail price was something like $9.00 per pound for the tube steaks and I placed my order for a couple of pounds of hot dogs and knoblewursts.....I had never had a hot dog from Katz's, but I have had the knoblewurst before on premise........When I unwrapped the hot dogs and knoblewurst from the white butcher paper after I returned home.......there was a tag on the meats that said......*Marathon Enterprises, Inc, East Rutherford, NJ*.

                                    I laughed because I knew I had been HAD.

                                    btw......I am a fan of Katz's Pastrami, regardless of my past experience.

                                    1. re: fourunder

                                      Thanks, Fourunder. For some reason many people have a hard time believing me on this one. I've had people tell me that they actually saw the distributor dropping of boxes labelled Sabrett. I know of a kosher deli that serves Hebrew National hot dogs. They don't mention or advertise it. But they sell them to go for $9.00 per pound. You can buy the same ones for much cheaper anywhere else.

                                      It's been my experience that places serving hot dogs want you to think that theirs are unique and that you can only get them there. Many claim to make their own. I ask to see the sausage making equipment. Several times they had to admit that they don't make their own. More common is the claim that a place gets a special proprietary recipe made just for them. Over 90% of the time this is bull. I happen to know people in the industry including some who are plant managers and some who own places that make hot dogs. They speak freely with me. One plant that makes an exceptional beef dog only makes one recipe. Different sizes, but one recipe. At least 2 people claimed to have dogs made by this company to a special recipe. My friend at this plant laughs and tells me it isn't true. I have no qualms about revealing this when I'm lied to. Katz's, Papaya King, and Gray's are just the tip of the iceberg.

                                      Papaya King
                                      200 W 14th St Frnt 1, New York, NY 10011

                                      1. re: hotdoglover

                                        This is such great information. I'm really glad you posted it.

                                    2. re: hotdoglover

                                      Thanks for the informative post! This is the kind of info I love to read about.... like little New York "secrets".

                                2. re: iluvcookies

                                  I actually think the fries are terrific there, when fresh.

                    2. re: Bob Martinez

                      Amen Bob.

                      I'll just add, next time dig into your pocket and just give the counter guy a couple of bucks.

                      1. re: Bob Martinez

                        I couldn't agree more.

                        By the way, even if you get waiter service, if you request juicy pastrami, you'll get it, and if you don't like the meat, you can send it back with specific instructions for how to remake the sandwich. I always wait on line, however.

                        1. re: Bob Martinez

                          Please tell me if I have the drill down pat:

                          If you are, for whatever reason, about to be a tyro visitor to Katz's Deli, you should first: 1. not bother if you're not familiar with Chowhound 2. take whatever time is necessary to research all the (albeit contradictory) C-hound commentary on this place 3. if you happen to agree with most of the Western world that good bread is an essential ingredient to any good sandwich and you're planning to order a pastrami sandwich--and despite the size of Katz's menu, be warned that v. few other items are worth ordering, according to C-hound's Katz mavens--then go uptown to 78th St and stop at Orwashers (or another excellent bakery of your choice) for its spectacular corn rye and have it sliced (I grew up believing New Yorkers were fanatic about the quality of their bread, as I later discovered San Franciscans, Parisians, and many other folks were, mainly based on my own experience as a kid on the Island picking up rye bread for our family supper after winter Saturday afternoon matinees and having to hold the bag by its very ends so as not to burn my fingers) 4. if you're accustomed to eating pastrami sandwiches anywhere else, you'll undoubtedly, though erroneously, assume yours will include a choice between cole slaw and potato salad, so, if you find just a meat sandwich with no traditional garnishes other than pickles not up to your expectations, well before your planned visit be sure to find tasty, fresh versions of one or both of these salads and buy a half or full pint of one or both to bring along to Katz's 5. be sure to order one of Dr. Brown's sodas and not be seduced by the refreshing image of the house's touted "own lemonade," though, if you do want that particular beverage and are willing to tolerate the sneers from the appointed lords of deli, then be sure to make your visit early enough to be able to stop at Russ& Daughters for its well-recommended version 6. once you arrive at Katz's and try to figure out its unique and confusing "ticketing" system and order your sandwich--even though no one there will tell you that you have a choice among degrees of fattiness, not even the meat-slicer who hands you a taste with no explanation even when you ask him why he's doing so--be sure to speak up and request the leanness or fattiness you prefer 7. if you like your dill pickles either under- or over-cured (called "half" or "full sour" by those--like me--familiar with both growing and curing them and visiting establishments that feature them), speak up 8. if you want to pay with a credit card, there's a person near the far end of the counter who will permit you to do so, though again, if you're not privy to the arcane rules, you will not know this.

                          1. re: Fine

                            7. if you like your dill pickles either under- or over-cured (called "half" or "full sour" by those--like me--familiar with both growing and curing them and visiting establishments that feature them), speak up

                            I always call under cured pickles........new pickles

                          2. re: Bob Martinez

                            Good post Bob. They do get their rye bread from a well known bakery. I don't mind the rye bread, but as you say, I don't go their for the rye bread or the cole slaw. I do like their pea soup, the chopped liver is good, and the garlic wurst is fantastic. Awww no homemade lemonade, I guess i'll just have to settle for a Cel-ray or a cream soda. Who drinks lemonade with juicy pastrami anyway?
                            I did have brisket the other day,that was much dryer than the usual they have. But when you 1000 meals a day, i guess something can get screwed up sometimes. Someone mentioned the tongue wasn't their thing. Basically they pre-slice the tongue, so they can portion control it. The price of tongue is through the roof. Katz's blamed the Japanese for the shortage of beef tongue, as they are buying all they can.
                            So it's more that it is scarce and the fact that they pre=slice it, makes it not a great dish to get at katz's. For dessert, I recommend the cheesecake. It is very good. I'm not sure who makes it for them, but it isn't Eileen's.

                            1. re: foodwhisperer

                              So to sum up the summation, even those who adore Katz's pastrami will often admit that 90% or more of the food they serve there, including the bread that same celebrated pastrami is served with, is mediocre, or poor quality.

                              1. re: sugartoof

                                >> the bread that same celebrated pastrami ... is mediocre, or poor quality.

                                And that's the reason why Langer's in Los Angeles wins the top spot nationally for the pastrami sandwich.

                                Mr Taster

                              2. re: foodwhisperer

                                Reading the OP and my reply was a trip down memory lane. 2009. Dinosaurs walked the earth.

                                In the meantime Mile End has opened up. Two locations - one in Brooklyn, the other in the East Village. They serve pastrami's Canadian brother, smoked meat on Orwasher's rye. It's very good although the sandwich is smallish and expensive. Still, it's well worth going.

                                I live in Brooklyn and lately I've been visiting David's Brisket House. Two locations - one in Bed Stuy and a new one in Bay Ridge. The brisket is fine but the pastrami is terrific. They sell the sandwiches in 3 different sizes and the prices are really friendly. The rye they use is a cut above the crap they use at Katz's but not as good as Orwasher's. The best I can say is that it doesn't get in the way, unlike Katz's where every time i go to Katz's I think "Wow, this pastrami is great but the bread sucks."

                                David's - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4362...

                                1. re: Bob Martinez

                                  The rye bread never bothers me at Katz's. Years ago they got the bread from Fink, but Fink no longer exists. I used to live next door to Orwasher's so I know that bread very well and love it. I'm thinking if rye the bread at Katz's inhibits your enjoyment or the pastrami, maybe get it on club. Back in the day many people ordered on club

                                  1. re: foodwhisperer

                                    It's too bad. Fink actually did make good bread, as their slogan said.

                                  2. re: Bob Martinez

                                    How does the pastrami at David's compare to the pastrami at Katz's? I really don't care about the bread and usually don't eat it, anyway, so that's the question I'd care about. (Although, since I live a 10-minute walk from Katz's, I will still undoubtedly go there more than any other place for pastrami, even if it's only 5 times a year or so).

                                    1. re: Pan

                                      The pastrami at David's is very good but it's not better than Katz's. Equal? Maybe. I've never had them side by side. I do think they ought to be part of the conversation.

                                      Considering where you live traveling out to Bay Ridge is a real haul. If your curiosity gets the better of you I'd treat it as a day trip. Pick a sunny Saturday in early May and take a pastrami loving friend. Leave at 11:30 - you'll be in Bay Ridge by 12:30. Eat one of David's large pastrami sandwiches.



                                      Then walk up 5th Ave. to 86th St. The neighborhood now has a mid sized Muslim population and there's plenty to see.

                                      When you get to 86th St. make a right and check out the Brooklyn branch of Century 21. It's huge and far less crazy than the one in lower Manhattan. If you don't feel like shopping continue walking west and check out the waterfront promenade.




                                      It will be a really pleasant day.

                                  3. re: foodwhisperer

                                    Did you ask for the brisket to be juicy? I find that if I order it juicy, it's great, but otherwise, it's too dry.

                                    1. re: Pan

                                      i asked for the brisket juicy , but ordered through a waitress,, maybe she didn't put it in that way. It is usually very good, this time it was dry and a little tough. The pastrami was perfect though. So was my garlic wurst ( sliced, no bread).
                                      Other brisket I like is at Hill Country, and Fette Sau

                                2. i must say i am actually very happy to see this post. to me katz's is a litmus test of knowing whether someone is a "foodie" or a food person, a trendy food network influenced eater or a connoisseur. katz's is just plain awful and has been for many, many years. In fact they are very consistent in how little they care about their product. I’ve eaten at katz’s probably about 50 times in my life and yes, there was a time where the food was to die for but those days are LONG gone bubby. If given the choice of kat’s for dinner or going to bed hungry, I’m sorry to report that I would wait for breakfast. at this point i don't know any new york jews who even eat there any more. i still end up there about once year and for the last 4 times i've been there the food has been so bad that it's not even worth sending back. Literally it’s been take two or three bites of what tastes like an old hotdog and take your ticket up to the counter and get the hell out. It’s astounding to me that people can be so influenced by others that they ignore their own taste buds…

                                  if you want good pastrami I am sorry to report that you are not going to get in manhattan. I’ve been to ben’s, 2nd ave, katz’s, sarge’s, Carnegie, and noah’s ark all several times and the only one that even comes close to resembling a good pastrami is 2nd ave. in new york city the very best pastrami that you are going to get is at ben’s best in rego park. Hand’s down, no questions asked, the best. Outside of ben’s best the only pastrami that I’ve had that has really knocked my socks off has been Schwartz’s in Montreal. Sorry to be so vitriolic but I can’t tell you how many times on this board alone I’ve seen people include katz’s on their “must-eat” list and I always bite my tongue. To me sending a non-New Yorker to katz’s is a as good as sending them to bubba gump shrimp or hooter’s, a disgusting tourist trap…

                                  12 Replies
                                  1. re: El Tigre

                                    I really am sorry if I’ve insulted anyone with this post. My distaste for katz’s has been building for a long time and any venom in this email is directed squarely at them.

                                    1. re: El Tigre

                                      no insult , as far as I'm concerned...!
                                      I've tried Katz's a few times, and I found the pastrami tough to chew , just my personal tastes ...

                                      I DO like Ben's Best in Rego Park, AGREED!
                                      plus Jay and Lloyd's in Brooklyn...
                                      and the Carnegie (about 5 out of the last 7 times I got a perfect succulent pastrami sandwich!!!) Twice it was "off"...

                                      and I DO want to get to SCHWARTZ's in Montreal!!

                                      1. re: ellen4441

                                        Tough to chew? I would have rejected that sample and asked them to bring another slab. It's very occasionally happened to me that I got a sample that was a bit gristly or something.

                                        1. re: ellen4441

                                          I had a recent very bad experience at Jay & Lloyd's in Brooklyn. Food was terrible and service was worse! Won't go back--ever!

                                      2. re: El Tigre

                                        you must always order your pastrami, wherever you are, fatty & nasty.

                                        1. re: El Tigre

                                          Severely misguided! I know many NY Jews (myself included) that still eat at Katz's. Been doing it for more than 35 years! If you know how to order you rarely leave disappointed.

                                          Been to Ben's Best many times as well. I think it's slipped in recent years. And don't even get me started on Knish Knosh.

                                          1. re: El Tigre

                                            I take my friends to Katz's and like it better than Schwartz's and Ben's Best. Does this really make me a mere 'food person'? ohhh f'ng well. To each their own, makes the world go around

                                            1. re: El Tigre

                                              Langer's in L.A. also makes a better pastrami sandwich than Katz's, hands down. and their bread is way superior besides. I only go to Katz's now when friends or family come to town and ask.

                                              1. re: addictedtolunch

                                                No one claimed that Katz's was the best pastrami in the known universe. Langer's can have LA. Katz's and Sarge's rule New York.

                                                1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                  ...and Irving's Deli in LIvingston, NJ currently beats them all. :)

                                                2. re: addictedtolunch

                                                  Langers is my #2 favorite pastrami, after the Carnegie...!
                                                  Just had Langers last month during an L.A. vacation ...

                                                  And the Pastrami Queen in Boca Raton, FL (homemade pastramii!!) rounds out my top 3 !!!!
                                                  (former owners of the Pastrami Queen in NYC)

                                                  Pastrami Queen
                                                  1125 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10075

                                                3. re: El Tigre

                                                  I'm a New York Jew and love Katz's! And their pastrami is far better than 2nd Av. Deli's. I always get it juicy and don't care about the bread. I like their brisket a lot, too.

                                                4. I've only been to Katz's once, but when you get the fatty, nasty pastrami (which I got without even asking), it's so damn good.

                                                  1. A pastrami sandwich is NOT about the bread. The bread just helps get it to the mouth. I for one want to enjoy the succulence of properly made and properly cooked (with a LONG steambath) pastrami and the _last_ thing I want it served on is dense, chewy bread. Save that for the crappy supermarket deli pastrami.

                                                    I like the great pastrami at Katz's, and am fine with the Pechter's, though I do wish it was the seeded variety. But to me (and many other pastrami mavens) the mediumweight Pechter's rye bread is a perfect delivery vehicle.
                                                    You tried the place, you didn't like it. That's fine, to each his own. The place is definitely not for everybody.
                                                    Katz's is about PASTRAMI. There's _no_ other reason to go there, but it's a damned good reason.
                                                    It has never disappointed me.

                                                    5 Replies
                                                    1. re: The Professor

                                                      "There's _no_ other reason to go there"

                                                      Oh, come on! The not only serve the best corned beef in New York... they are the last deli in the City to make it the old fashioned, original way: 2 weeks of brining, NOT the 2 day injection method used by Carnegie, Stage & the lesser delis.

                                                      I do love Katz's pastrami, but I also love to go there for a great corned beef.

                                                      As for the "mix of over- and under-done pickles", as the grandson of a deli owner, I can tell you that they are half-sours and Kosher dills, all served when they are just right... not over- and under-done pickles. Really: judging Katz's by pickles that you don't understand, by their not making their own lemonade and by the bread in the sandwiches? Some people really should stick with Shop-Rite for their meals.

                                                      1. re: Sommelier

                                                        I also like their brisket a lot, providing you tell them "juicy." If you don't, it's too dry. If you do, it's wonderful, almost as good as their pastrami (and a couple of my friends actually prefer the brisket).

                                                        1. re: Sommelier

                                                          Good point about the pickles Sommelier... I personally don't like dill or full sour, but they certainly aren't wrong or bad or over-done. Just ask for the ones you like and the counterman will happily oblige you.

                                                          1. re: iluvcookies

                                                            Sorry, but I'm going to have to disagree. As much as I love Katz's pastrami, their pickles are terrible... always way too soft no matter whether they are dill or half sour (they should be called barely sour)... just a bad texture and very little flavor.... not how good pickles are supposed to taste at all.

                                                            1. re: ChiefHDB

                                                              I think their pickles are OK, but I'm not a huge pickle connoisseur. But 2nd Av. Deli's pickles are better.

                                                      2. If to you a sandwichh is all about the bread, then why bother with the filling at all - whether it be katz's pastrami or canned tuna. Get real!

                                                        1. I agree that a pastrami sandwich is not about the bread, and that it's just a delivery mechanism, but I believe that 2nd Ave Deli has a better pastrami anyways.

                                                          I also had a similar "choking" experience at Katz's which I why I don't eat there.

                                                          1. I gotta qualify that I'm a Katz's loyalist.

                                                            The thing that did raise my ire was the lemonade. Shame on Katz's if they peddle that chemical-crap. Now, we usually have beer with our meal at Katz's so I've not fallen prey to the lemonade deal. Russ & Daughters sells a marvelous store-bottled lemonade made all naturally and it's just absolutely delicious.

                                                            I'm disappointed to hear Katz's gave the OP pastrami that was like sawdust. It's not happened to us as we ask for "medium fatty" from the waiter and get a wonderful cut every time.

                                                            Katz's garlic sausage (knobel-wurst-sp?) is on my top ten list for "last meals." Snap!

                                                            I will concede that indeed the crummy bread is annoying, especially when it becomes compressed into a grey paste... yecch.

                                                            1. Eisenberg's on 5th has great pastrami. The bread is only there to soak up the fat. I find it ridiculous that one should have to ask for a "juicy" anything. It should just be that way.

                                                              1. Why bother with the meat if the bread is the most important thing to you in a sandwich? I ate at Katz last Friday and it was as good as it has been for 20 years, and that is great. I ate there in 1964 and it was great then. I say "One juicy" to the slicer and am never disappointed. Everyone I know knows the rye bread sucks. But so what. Bring your own bread and order a juicy pound sliced if that's your game. And lemonade...what do you think Katz makes its own Coke too? Dr. Browns, seltzer or water for me. I also ask for only full sours. Sheesh. I live near Barney Greengrass, eat there weekly, and I laugh at the people that come their and order a tuna fish salad on white toast and then leave saying what is so special about that place. Katz was a disaster for you because you didn't know how to order. Next time, maybe will be better.

                                                                Barney Greengrass
                                                                541 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: 1 guy from harrison

                                                                  Anyone so concerned with the bread should head to Sullivan St. for a sandwich. At Katz's the bread is merely a vessel for the meat.

                                                                  We stopped in for a quick spur of the moment bite before meeting a friend the other night and had no problems! Of course we had Dr. Brown's Black Cherry though.

                                                                  We've had some good times at Katz's watching tourists order chili cheeseburgers or roast beef on white with mayo. We've even tried to advise a few of them. One group of 20-somethings from Boston seemed more concerned with the cheap beers than anything else!

                                                                  1. re: CornflakeGirl

                                                                    CornflakeGirl... I secretly love watching tourists too! But people will want what they want... being in the hospitality industry I've tried to steer some of them right as I appreciate it when I travel. It makes me sad to see people walk away from a great place with disappointment because of not ordering what the place is really really good at!

                                                                    1. re: CornflakeGirl

                                                                      Not to mention, it's a hell of an expensive way to buy two slices of bread.

                                                                  2. Deli's strive for consistency, but food quality varies much more than at fast-food chains. Most of this type food tastes better when prepared in smaller amounts. That's why most any deli meat at a deli tastes better than a deli meat from a take-out supermarket counter.

                                                                    I've had very good pastrami and so-so pastrami at Katz's. How busy or slow the restaurant is, how good or bad your slicer is, and the weather make a big difference in how good your sandwich is. At most deli's, including Katz's, the food is better when the place is busy, but not super busy.

                                                                    The differences among all these places are not all that great. I think we're kidding ourselves to think so. Ben's in Rego Park when it's busy will usually be better than Katz's when it's real slow.

                                                                    Katz's Delicatessen
                                                                    205 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

                                                                    13 Replies
                                                                    1. re: BigGuy

                                                                      "How busy or slow the restaurant is, how good or bad your slicer is, and the weather make a big difference in how good your sandwich is."

                                                                      Could you explain how the weather affects how good your sandwich is? This is a new theory for me.

                                                                      1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                        Bad weather could mean low turnover.

                                                                        1. re: a_and_w

                                                                          If that's the case mentioning it along with low turnover would be redundant. I'm hoping to learn if pastrami tastes different depending on the temperature and humidity. That way I can plan my visits for maximum flavor impact.

                                                                          1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                            He didn't mention turnover -- I did. He simply referred to how busy a restaurant is. Katz's might be packed on a rainy day with people escaping the weather. But that doesn't necessarily equate with high turnover of food.

                                                                            1. re: a_and_w

                                                                              Doubtless the quality of a Katz pastrami sandwich varies from very good indeed to excellent, depending on all kinds of factors. What conclusion to draw from that, I have no idea.

                                                                              1. re: a_and_w

                                                                                You're right, but my point still stands. The OP said -

                                                                                "How busy or slow the restaurant is, how good or bad your slicer is, and the weather make a big difference in how good your sandwich is."

                                                                                He mentioned busyness *and* weather. I would really like to hear about the effect of weather on pastrami. Does weather also affect ham and roast beef or is the influence limited to members of the brisket family?

                                                                                1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                  :) at Bob Martinez
                                                                                  Personally, I only by weather-proof salami. Keeps better in the fridge.

                                                                                  1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                    When there's lousy weather, there's usually fewer people in the restaurant and the food doesn't turn as quickly. That's the main way the weather affects the food.

                                                                                    But the weather affects people even more so than the food. When its hot and humid, the slicers at Katz's tend to be irritable, just like everybody else is, so maybe some of them won't feel like treating you nicely. And when the weather's cold and dreary, a hot pastrami sandwich tastes better than usual just because of how good it feels to eat a hot sandwich on a cold day.

                                                                                    1. re: BigGuy

                                                                                      "When its hot and humid, the slicers at Katz's tend to be irritable, just like everybody else is"

                                                                                      It's pretty much hot and humid behind that counter year round so your theory falls pretty flat in that regard.

                                                                                      1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                        You may be right about that, and I may be wrong, but it does feel worse behind a deli counter when the weather's hot and humid than when it's nice out.

                                                                                        1. re: BigGuy

                                                                                          "... it does feel worse behind a deli counter when the weather's hot and humid than when it's nice out."

                                                                                          Air conditioning?

                                                                                          I've been in Katz's in the winter and I've gone in the summer. The weather inside is the same.

                                                                                          With pastrami you're dealing with a naturally variable product. Some pieces are fattier than other. They keep the lean stuff around to cater to the misguided folks who think that a sandwich filled with fatty meat will send them straight to hell.

                                                                                          If you ask for a fatty sandwich 95% of the time they'll give it to you. If the sample is too lean you can tell them. It's really not tricky.

                                                                                          I'm a big believer in Occam's Razor - "When you have two competing theories that make exactly the same predictions, the simpler one is the better."


                                                                                          1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                            Love you Bob, but you are misapplying Occam's razor, which is actually pretty unreliable.

                                                                          2. re: BigGuy

                                                                            I've never had a so-so pastrami sandwich at Katz's. If the pastrami sample isn't good enough, I ask for another slab.

                                                                          3. something tells me that you're not the only person with such a story...

                                                                              1. I was recently advised by a deli counter employee who has worked at several major stores and is a Katz's maven that one should not get pastrami at Katz's after 2 PM or so. He told me that the steamers are shut off about then. I do not know what the steamers are or what they are used for and whether he is correct or not, but I have noticed that once or twice when I went to Katz's late in the day, I was disappointed with the pastrami. Any comments?

                                                                                Katz's Delicatessen
                                                                                205 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: AlanMa

                                                                                  This seems pretty unlikely to me. Katz's doesn't close until nearly 3 am on the weekends. I don't see how you can get a hot sandwich 13 hours after the steamers are shut off. Even on a weeknight the closing time is 10 pm so I can't see how the would turn off the steamer 8 hours prior to close.

                                                                                  1. re: AlanMa

                                                                                    The steam is what makes great deli pastrami what it is.
                                                                                    Sure, the cure and the smoking steps are important, but that 2-3 hour+ steambath it gets in the steam cabinet is the finishing touch...it's what makes the meat tender and succulent, just as a long braise makes stew meat tender. If the meat is too lean, the result is not as good and that's why for pastrami the fattier cuts will be the most succulent and flavorful.
                                                                                    I would question that 2 PM steam cabinet shut off story though...it does seem a little too early of a shut off time for a restaurant that serves 8 to 10 hours past that time and whose main attraction depends upon it...

                                                                                  2. KATZ's is a wonderful place. LONG LIVE KATZ's !

                                                                                    You have to know how and what to order.

                                                                                    I am going there right now to get a pastrami sandwich on rye, with russian dressing and coleslaw, some fries and Dr. Brown Cherry Soda (not diet!)-- Nothing is better !

                                                                                    A couple of well-done Crunchy HOT DOGS with DELI MUSTARD and SAUERKRAUT, one of those square potato knishes (with mustard), along with Dr. Brown's, is medicine enough for me. (Skip their other knishes--and yes, the matzoh ball soup is better at the 2nd Avenue Deli--so what?)

                                                                                    ENJOY YOURSELVES. ENJOY YOUR LIFE !

                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: ZaZa

                                                                                      I just returned from Katz's thoroughly happy. During that first bite of Pastrami on Rye w/Russian dressing & cole slaw, I thought: "Mother's Milk" with my eyes rolling inside my head. That's how it is.

                                                                                      Just a couple of tips:

                                                                                      That one sandwich is really enough. I could only eat three or four fries. It's good to share the fries, or even a sandwich with someone else. I walked home very happy with my fries in a paper bag, in ecstacy, to the Far-West Village from the Lower East Side. This was quite necessary, because I was quite full.

                                                                                      The way to eat such a sandwich: You cannot put it down, or it will fall apart. Keep it in your hand, and make sure you have a fork handy. That's how it is. Absolutely heavenly !

                                                                                      I just got there just prior to closing (9:30 p.m. on a Monday night). The wonderfully skilled technician behind the counter gave me a couple of slices, while he walked away and came back with a steaming pastrami all ready to slice, just for me--the last customer. So much for that rumor !

                                                                                      It's good to give the experienced, skilled carver a dollar! This is important. Tonight, I gave him a dollar after he gave me a couple of slices to taste and another after he made a most impressive sandwich (because I saw that steaming pastrami come my way).

                                                                                      So I sat amongst chairs being put on tables with a few other customers still in the place, and then walked out of Katz's dancing. I had a delirious smile on my face all the way home.

                                                                                      1. re: ZaZa

                                                                                        "gave me a couple of slices, while he walked away and came back with a steaming pastrami all ready to slice, just for me--the last customer."

                                                                                        If he gave you a sample, and then cut you from a fresh piece of meat, then that defeats the point of letting you sample the meat. Also, I'd hope their last customer wasn't a half hour before closing time.

                                                                                        1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                          Actually, their customer arrived just a couple of minutes before closing time -- that was me! I was not the last customer to leave; and nobody rushed me. There was a full staff available to accommodate my needs.

                                                                                          The carver also gave me a couple of slices from that steaming pastrami (the sample cut for my sandwich). The prior taste was for the brief waiting period, while he walked away, only to return with a steaming pastrami to carve for my delicious sandwich. (I thought he was walking away to get the cole slaw). THAT'S KATZ's !

                                                                                          G-D it was GOOD. IT WAS ALL GOOD.

                                                                                          Sounds like you're in the restaurant business. I'm not. I'm a happy consumer who took a brief subway ride to Katz's on a freezing winter night thinking their Monday closing time was an hour prior. (These food posts had my stomach growling -- I couldn't wait to get there).

                                                                                          Although I got there a few minutes prior to closing, there was a full staff behind the counter ready to carve -- eminating good vibes.

                                                                                          I euphorically ate my sandwich and left -- truly content. You can't take that away from me. IT WAS FABULOUS, BABY. IT WAS TRULY FABULOUS.

                                                                                          1. re: ZaZa

                                                                                            I appreciate your enthusiasm (even though it's the total opposite experience from mine) .....I was just confused about the hours, with their 9:45 closing on Mondays.

                                                                                            1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                              I'm so enthusiastic, I'm going back for more. This time, I'll get a couple of crunchy hot dogs w/sauerkraut & mustard, along with a square potato knish & Dr. Browns.

                                                                                              (The problem with the other knishes is that they get microwaved. I don't do microwave).

                                                                                              Once again, I'll walk home with a doofy, happy smile on my face, knowing that will be all for Katz's -- for another few months.

                                                                                              Bye Bye, y'all.

                                                                                              1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                                Sorry to have confused you, Sugartoof. This was a typo on my behalf due to The Excitement of the Sandwich. I believed they closed an hour later than the time I arrived, not an hour prior.

                                                                                                If I'm back on this site, its time to go back for some more. I'm glad Katz's is still here. Kind Regards from a Late Girl in a Late City.

                                                                                          2. re: ZaZa

                                                                                            ZaZa, I'm so glad you enjoyed your experience. I really love the place--their pastrami is comfort food for me.
                                                                                            Here's to more many happy evenings at the counter at Katz's!

                                                                                        2. Katz's hot dogs better than 2nd Avenue, also their corned beef. Fries and ESPECIALLY the potato salad, 2nd Ave for the win. I'm not a pastrami fan, but friends give it to 2nd Ave also. Either sandwich, you have to unhinge your jaw like a python to eat it.

                                                                                          1. I'll be in NYC in June and will be going to Katz's. I understand they often have long lines. what time would be ideal to avoid the crowds and get a fresh sandwich? I would be open to going in the morning as long as I'm not getting leftover pastrami from the day before.

                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: tatuaje68

                                                                                              Weekends are always crazy busy.....before 11 AM I've never run into a line..

                                                                                              1. re: tatuaje68

                                                                                                I was just there. We went early and had breakfast. I ordered a lb each of pastrami and corn beef to go and I can attest it was fresh and not leftover. Yummy!

                                                                                                1. re: tatuaje68

                                                                                                  If you go during the week it's not bad. Rather than going for breakfast you can hit it at around 2:00PM after the lunch rush has ended. There are multiple lines, one for each slicer. Pick whatever line is shortest.

                                                                                                  Ask for fatty pastrami. You're not going to eat this every day so enjoy yourself.

                                                                                                  (It's been a couple of years since I've been to Katz's but I recall tourists thinking there was some type of feeder line system and swamping the line at the end. You can actually choose whatever line you want. Someone should correct me if that's changed.)

                                                                                                  1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                                    Someone should correct me if that's changed.)


                                                                                                    Still the same...pick any line...long or short

                                                                                                  2. re: tatuaje68

                                                                                                    There is always a crowd. less of a crowd during the week than on weekends. The only time you will get pastrami from the night before is in the morning. By lunch that will be long gone.
                                                                                                    The pastrami is not like fish, where it would be bad to have the next day. The pastrami is over 3 weeks old before they serve it to you. Don't worry about it , just ask for it "juicy"
                                                                                                    i wrote this then read Bob's post,,,so i'm repeating much of what Bob said. As far as lines go,,, one can sit at a table , get waitress service, no line to wait on, can pay by credit card. The only drawback with a table , is you don't get your little taste of meat before the sandwich is ready. And if you are a glutton for tons of meat, the $1 tip at the counter will get you a lot of extra meat. The sandwich is big anyway, so I don't mind sitting at a table. You also avoid the line to pay if you pay with a credit card at the table. That line is as bad as the food line.

                                                                                                    1. re: tatuaje68

                                                                                                      I agree that weekdays are going to be the least crowded, in general, but I've never had that much trouble. There are enough cutters that I've never had to wait more than a few minutes in a friendly line, and I've never quite been shut out of table space, though it's come close once or twice.

                                                                                                    2. Funny, I go through this same discussion about a variety of establishments and have come to the conclusion that there are too many people who are surprised when they encounter something more authentic than they are otherwise used to. Unless you actually ate at the place in the 50's, you are not in a position to judge what it was like in the 50's (I did, and with my parents, who judged it from an earlier era - my father got a salami, while in the Army)

                                                                                                      What is sad to me, is that some might want to check facts and backgrounds more.

                                                                                                      Of course, there are some changes over time, and change in ownership has made a difference, but Katz's is still the most authentic I know, and they know how to cut the meat, and they will given you cuts that you request. You have to remember that a LOT of customers will complain if they get the pastrami where the oil runs down your arms when you pick up the sandwich.

                                                                                                      You also have to remember that "traditional" Jewish cooking, like a lot of other "traditional" ethnic cooking is not what most people expect (how many of you order off the unpublished menu in a Chinese restaurant? Pig uterus, anyone?)

                                                                                                      26 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: law_doc89

                                                                                                        I ate at Katz's in the 60's. Katz's changed hands in the early 80's. They caught a bad break, because the Williamsburg bridge was closed for about a year ( seemed like a year). That is the only time they were taken over. The same people who took it over then still own it. The son of the guy who took it over ,Jake , is officially the new owner and runs the place. His father and uncle are still there very often. Katz's has improved significantly since these 2nd owners took it over. There is no "Jewish style" deli that compares to Katz's, especially its atmosphere, its salami, pastrami and corned beef.

                                                                                                        1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                                                                          Many complain about Katz's....quite frankly, I do not understand it compared to what else is available to them....or more specifically what is available to them in the same immediate area and not 30 + blocks away or in another borough.

                                                                                                          The only Pastrami I have had that was better than Katz's was home/house made with the Deckle from the Outer Cap off Prime Rib.....Commercially, I have not had any better in NY/NJ.

                                                                                                            1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                                              I have not made it there yet...but it's on the short list.

                                                                                                              1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                                                I've been to the original Mile End location in Brooklyn more than a year ago. It was very good. Pricey and on the smallish side but very good. It's also different than pastrami - call it pastrami's first cousin. The Orwaher's rye they serve it on really helps the overall flavor. I wish Katz's used better bread.

                                                                                                                Is Mile End *better* than Katz's? I wouldn't say that but it's certainly worth trying.

                                                                                                                1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                                                  Mile End is great, but you are 100% right in that it's not pastrami. Montreal smoked meat is what it is. Delicious in it's own right, but not exactly the same.

                                                                                                            2. re: law_doc89

                                                                                                              ""traditional" Jewish cooking, like a lot of other "traditional" ethnic cooking is not what most people expect "

                                                                                                              Were talking about Katz's not Sammy's, or even one of the places serving Tzimmis and Cholent.

                                                                                                              We're also talking pastrami. I don't think the idea of authenticity really saves it from criticism when it's about ingredients, service, preparation, and just serving good food. There are excellent "authentic" pastramis in other parts of the country. Can we really even say Katz's is the most authentic specimen representing Jewish delis of yesteryear? Not really.

                                                                                                              1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                                                " Can we really even say Katz's is the most authentic specimen representing Jewish delis of yesteryear? Not really."

                                                                                                                Please tell us where in NYC we can get better.

                                                                                                                1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                                                  "where in NYC we can get better."

                                                                                                                  I've already named a place I prefer for pastrami.

                                                                                                                  I don't think a competent full service Jewish deli still exists in Manhattan.

                                                                                                                  1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                                                    "I've already named a place I prefer for pastrami. "

                                                                                                                    Now now, don't be shy. Lots of people would like to know. Please tell us.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                                                      Cut it out Bob Martinez. I've named the place, and you replied agreeing it's good.

                                                                                                                      And smoked beef is essentially the same as pastrami, with minor variation....

                                                                                                                      And I wouldn't reduce Jewish deli down to some sliced meats anyway to pretend the tradition has been preserved.

                                                                                                                      1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                                                        I don't remember what you wrote, so why not just repeat it here?

                                                                                                                        1. re: law_doc89

                                                                                                                          (9 posts up, made 3 days ago.)

                                                                                                                          I think Miles End is superior.

                                                                                                                2. re: sugartoof

                                                                                                                  Allow me to suggest you peruse both the text and the video at this link:


                                                                                                                  The video is a conversation (which takes place at both Katz's and Mile End) between David Sax and Josh Ozersky about delis old and new. Very worth a look...

                                                                                                                  1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                                                    Katz's is the same Jewish Deli it was when the neighborhood was mostly Jewish. Just a bit of trivia, After the owner of Sammy's ( sammy) left Sammy's he was a counter man at katz's. That was in the late 90's. Also, Al Goldstein, the guy who started porn on cable TV (host of Midnight Blue) was a greeter at katz's for a short time in the 90's.
                                                                                                                    Katz's is a Jewish style deli, to deny that is just wrong. They happen to have very good potato latkas, to prove it. haha

                                                                                                                    1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                                                                                      "Katz's is a Jewish style deli, to deny that is just wrong."

                                                                                                                      Really? So you're recommending the chopped liver, soup, kasha varnishkes, and kishke? Do they make kishke? Rolled beef?

                                                                                                                      I'm not asking if they're somewhat edible dishes in a preserved room either. It's not a place ultra observant Jews can even eat, and oh yeah....that's not rye bread.

                                                                                                                      1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                                                        Ummmm, Katz's is not for observant Jews. It's "kosher style" not kosher. That doesn't make it bad, actually kosher meat is usually not all that good. Second Ave Deli is kosher , but not glatt kosher. But if kosher is what you want, Katz's isn't for you . I believe that Katz's took rolled beef off the menu, because I was the only person who ever asked for it. Tongue is on its way out too. The chopped liver is very good. The matzoh ball soup and the pea soup are very good. The potato latkas is very good. I don't know if they have kasha varnishkas, 2nd ave deli has it though , also 2nd ave has egg barley which is my favorite thing there. Katz's is good has the best pastrami, and corned beef. Great knubblewurst. and of course Dr. Brown's sodas. The french fries are pretty bad though.
                                                                                                                        The meat at Katz's is better than Gorelick's ever had. If you've ever been to East New York, or Grabsteins
                                                                                                                        in Canarsie. Both long gone. They both had great hot dogs.

                                                                                                                        1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                                                                                          Look, you mentioned they stuck a Jewish personality at the door in the 90's, as if the place earns credibility for it, so it's fair game to note that they're not serving an observant Jewish crowd to begin with.

                                                                                                                          The rule of thumb has long been to stick to pastrami, corned beef, and maybe a knish or hot dog (which they just heat up) and avoid the rest.

                                                                                                                          1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                                                            What I am saying is the rule of thumb still holds somewhat, pastrami and corned beef are winners. However, chopped liver is very good, latkas are very good, cheesecake is very good. Philly cheese steak amazingly is very good. Hot dogs and garlic wurst also. And the soup too. So the rule of thumb I think should be extended a bit.

                                                                                                                            1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                                                              I thought I surrendered. The chopped liver and the cheese cake are good at katz's. Chopped liver better than most. The cheese cake not as good as Eileen's but good.
                                                                                                                              I don't know what opinions on coffee I've posted.All I know is i have cupped coffee with certified coffee tasters. I have learned about blending of coffees. I know what I like. We all have different tastes. I enjoy Colombian Supremo coffee medium roasted the best. However, I do enjoy a good espresso as well. I hate Starbucks, I hate Duncan Donuts.
                                                                                                                              Now I surrender.

                                                                                                                              1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                                                                                                Foodwhisperer, I never replied to you.... It was a post to someone else. I think touting Katz's cheesecake said plenty.

                                                                                                                                1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                                                                  Katz's serves S&S Cheesecake if I am recall correctly.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: MVNYC

                                                                                                                                    If only there were ever room for it after that pastrami sandwich.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Pan

                                                                                                                                      I always suggest: "Share the pastrami sammich!!" It leaves a bit of room for something else.

                                                                                                                  2. Katz's is amazing!! Plain and simple.
                                                                                                                    Whenever I am waiting in line to order a nice pastrami sammich and I hear some "health nut" order "Lean Please!" I have to meddle and give them just a little bit of an education. Then I ask the countermant to give them a "taste". Works every time.

                                                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                      "Whenever I am waiting in line to order a nice pastrami sammich and I hear some 'health nut' order 'Lean Please!' I have to meddle and give them just a little bit of an education."

                                                                                                                      I don't suggest that a lean pastrami sandwich is remotely healthful, but it's still probably a bit less likely to cause a heart attack than a fatty, albeit more delicious, one. You might reply that folks with those kinds of risks shouldn't be ordering any at all, but sometimes these events are unpredictable and sometimes folks don't believe their MDs' warnings. Best not to be a party to a stranger's decision.

                                                                                                                      Strange definition of health nut!

                                                                                                                      1. re: Fine

                                                                                                                        Wait till you hear someone ask for organic, non-gmo, vegan pastrami.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Fine

                                                                                                                          Maybe I should direct them to "Dirt Candy?" Oy vey!
                                                                                                                          So many "tourists" walk into Katz's and are overwhelmed by the venue, ticket, menu, tipping and ordering method that they need a little help. Not all of them have done their CH homework.
                                                                                                                          They don't go to Katz's for a "healthful" meal. They want, as they say in the Levy's ad: " A nice sammich, a nice sammich!"
                                                                                                                          If you were in one of NYC's finer sushi restaurants and heard someone order "Toro sushimi, well done." Would you say: "STOP!!!" and give some well needed advice?

                                                                                                                            1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                              I would try to mind my own business unless I saw someone endangering him/herself or child.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Fine

                                                                                                                                You're right.

                                                                                                                                If they were ordering lean pastrami for themselves, I'd stay silent. It's none of my business.

                                                                                                                                But if they were forcing it on a child . . . .

                                                                                                                                1. re: Fine

                                                                                                                                  For some, having to mind their own business would take away from the performance they put on when eating at Katz's, which I'm convinced is a large part of the appeal.

                                                                                                                                  We've all seen those people, who want everyone else in line to know they're not new to the experience, complete with the high roller big tip flashing the bills like they're at a strip club, right down to the grunting after the first bite. Scowling at anyone who doesn't follow their own Katz's ritual isn't unheard of.

                                                                                                                          1. I love Katz's! It is always one of my stops the ten or so times per year I get to NYC. Often, I'll go straight from the airport to Katz's. I have noticed absolutely no change in quality or service in a little more than a decade of patronage.

                                                                                                                            I always get the same thing: pastrami on rye, both types of pickles, and then head to the other counter for a beer. I grab a table, and, for a little while, I'm in heaven.

                                                                                                                            1. Foodwhisperer

                                                                                                                              It is funny you mention Gorelick's and Grabsteins. I grew up in East New York and Gorelick's was the deli in the neighborhood, very good stuff. I also remember going to Grabsteins with my friends for the Romanian Tenderloin Steak which was great as well as the deli. For pastrami I think Katz is the greatest by far.

                                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: irvingk

                                                                                                                                ahhh yes the good old days. Gorelick's was a regular stop or Nino's italian. Grabstein's lasted a lot longer. Both were really good. But Katz's still remains and is awesome.

                                                                                                                                1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                                                                                                  Did not know that you were a pastrami maven too. ;-)

                                                                                                                                  Back when I worked on the Street as a trader, we hired a limo to take us around on a pastrami tasting. Katz's, 2nd Ave. a place behind the old AMEX, St. Charlie's. St. Charlies was the best. OMG was it good. It was an Irish bar with a carving station that was amazing. I believe it is long gone.

                                                                                                                                  Don't get me wrong, Katz's otherwise is the best in the City.

                                                                                                                                  Pastrami Queen on Queen's Blvd back in the day was impossible to drive by.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: sushiman

                                                                                                                                    "Impossible to drive by" I like that. I'm going to steal it for a new thread.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: sushiman

                                                                                                                                      Back in the day, I liked the hand carved Brisket sandwiches at Blarney Stone. St. Charlie's sounds similar.

                                                                                                                                2. Those certainly were the good old days. I remember a hot dog being 12c and a corned beef on club 35c. Now the prices have gone crazy on everything.

                                                                                                                                  15 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: irvingk


                                                                                                                                    yeah, the prices have skyrocketed ... even since the early 80s when i went for the first time. but went last night, and the pastrami was still wonderful.

                                                                                                                                    one odd thing, though, that i don't recall from the 'old days' (or even a year or so back)....lately, they've taken to slicing the pickles long-ways, so that you get thin slices that look like those 'stackers' you can buy at supermarkets. they haven't cut the number you get at all, just the presentation.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: debinqueens

                                                                                                                                      The prices have skyrocketed because you're comparing the prices to a time when the dollar had a lot more buying power.

                                                                                                                                      Just an example: $1.00 in 1940 (when the average salary was less than $1300) was the equivalent of around $16.00 in today's money.

                                                                                                                                      So yes...prices are higher today...but it's all relative.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: The Professor

                                                                                                                                        Yep Professor, it's all relative. But you can find great variations in prices these days. You can still get Lo Mein in Chinatown for a few bucks. In Queens in Flushing you can get many Chinese treats including Lo Mein for $1.50. You can still get a slice of pizza at Pizza to Go for a buck. You can go to Gray's Papaya or Papaya Dog and get a great deal on a hot dog meal. Or you can go to Per Se and spend a fortune.
                                                                                                                                        So there are still "good Ol' day prices" today,,,,not quite the 15 cents a slice of pizza from the 60's, or the 50 cent Cha siu bao. But Still within reason , if you shop around. Oh , and there is still White Castle.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                                                                                                          "Oh , and there is still White Castle."

                                                                                                                                          Purely in the interests of pricing research I picked up a sack of White Castles to eat while watching this year's Superbowl. They were. I believe, 79 cents each. In the early 1960s they were 12 cents each.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                                                                            In the early '60s, White Castles were still $1 for a dozen!

                                                                                                                                          2. re: foodwhisperer

                                                                                                                                            i think the 50cent cha siu bao from our childhood is a lot different than the bargain basement bao that gets sold today. while buck a slice joints sell 'pizza', the comparison to dollar slices from 20 years ago only goes so far. . .there's food, and then there's stuff that just occupies space in our g.i. tract temporarily. i see your point, tho.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: afong56

                                                                                                                                              20 years ago, almost every plain slice was $1.50, and the $1 slice wasn't any different. I still wouldn't say a Ray's kind of slice is much different from a dollar slice now.

                                                                                                                                              Another comparison is Gray's Papaya. They've almost tripled in price in the last 20 years.

                                                                                                                                              Katz's was overpriced 20 years ago though. It's not that meat prices are up, or bread prices, both of which are true, it's that they price themselves high. They've also outlasted almost everyone else in the LES.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                                                                                Ha! Ha! I remember when Sicilian was 15 cents, and Neopolitan, from bread bakeries was 10 cents. The subway way 15 cents also.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                                                                                  the dollar slice of today i suspect may taste similar, but is composed of differently sourced ingredients of variable quality/content. granted, memory and nostalgia often invents reality, so of course i'm clearly not remembering the early '90s in perfect verbatim, but i stand by my belief that they are only so 'similar'.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: afong56

                                                                                                                                                    You have no idea. There was a time when a pizza had real cheese, with long strings when one tried to take a bite or cut a slice. The crust was thin, and crisp, and the topping real tomato, and one could get it at local parlors. Now the stuff is homogenized junk, but I can remember NYC from the 1950's.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: law_doc89

                                                                                                                                                      the funny thing is you are actually agreeing with my post, but i think in your desire to be contrary or absolute, you come across as not. i actually do remember a time when dollar slices enjoyed real ingredients. . .but i also realize that the past is a foreign country. . .

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: afong56

                                                                                                                                                        I was agreeing with you and this is a light hearted discussion, or so I thought.

                                                                                                                                                        What passes for pizza in NY these days is made of ingredients that are different that used to be.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: afong56

                                                                                                                                                      It's all relative. We're talking cheap quality pizza that's barely worth a dollar, then or now. Very few slice places used real cheese or quality ingredients then either, but it was still easier to get an edible slice.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                                                                                        " Very few slice places used real cheese or quality ingredients then either,"

                                                                                                                                                        See, that's not true. They used real mozzarella and real flour, real olive oil; now it is who knows what.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: law_doc89

                                                                                                                                                          I disagree about the cheese. You still had to go out of your way to a place like Joe's or Two Boots to avoid a cheese substitute and slice pooling with grease.

                                                                                                                                        2. I'm in Los Angeles visiting kids and grandkids. I've long heard about Langers in LA being as good if not better than Katz. I decided to go to Langers yesterday. Here's my verdict. The pastrami, was not nearly as good as that at Katz, albeit better than decent. I didn't see them cutting it, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't hand sliced. The slices were too thin. The portion wasn't as big as a Katz sandwich, but was big enough for me. The one area where the Langers sandwich really stood out was the bread. Simply put it was by far the best rye bread I've ever tasted on a deli sandwich or anywhere else for that matter. The bread alone made the sandwich comparable to that of Katz. I know its the pastrami that counts the most. But its not a sandwich without the bread. If Katz was able to acquire a comparable bread, their pastrami sandwich would be perfection.

                                                                                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: porkpa

                                                                                                                                            The point is this:
                                                                                                                                            Katz's make a fabulous sammich.
                                                                                                                                            Katz's is expensive.
                                                                                                                                            Katz's bread could be better.
                                                                                                                                            Katz's is very popular and hugely successful.
                                                                                                                                            Better bread would raise the price. Not a good idea.
                                                                                                                                            Don't mess with success!!

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                                              I would happily pay $1 more for better bread... why not... perfecting perfection itself is true nirvana...

                                                                                                                                              1. re: dyrewolf

                                                                                                                                                Back in the day my cousin Leo would bring 2 slices of bread to Katz's. Since there was so much pastrami on one sammich he would make another sammich for the next day.

                                                                                                                                              2. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                                                Motosport: You are so right. Katz;s is probably the most successful deli in the world. Don't mess with success is 100% correct. If it aint broke don't fix it.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                                                  "Better bread would raise the price. Not a good idea."

                                                                                                                                                  Or just cut into their profits slightly and return Katz's to the form that made it a success by giving it's customers more value.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: porkpa

                                                                                                                                                  porkpa, back in 2005 I did a (more or less) side-by-side Langer's/Katz comparison (within 24 hours, if I recall correctly). Others have done this comparison since then. You may be interested to read my findings.


                                                                                                                                                  Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: porkpa

                                                                                                                                                    I asked Langers to hand slice mine and they did. All in all I found their sandwich better. Many others do too. Maybe it was the way the bread worked with the meat compared to Katz's, whatever, but that's my take. But why their biggest seller is pastrami with Russian dressing is beyond me-proof that they are insane in L.A., fer shur.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: addictedtolunch

                                                                                                                                                      >> But why their biggest seller is pastrami with Russian dressing is beyond me-proof that they are insane in L.A.

                                                                                                                                                      I've been preaching that since (at least) 2006:


                                                                                                                                                      Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                  2. I don't have a bias, in that I live in San Francisco and don't have a sentimental attachment to what I grew up with. San Francisco has always been a mediocre deli town until recently, when Wise Sons opened and changed things completely. They do a great rye and make their own pastrami.

                                                                                                                                                    As far as New York delis, the bread is the weak link in otherwise great sandwiches. I slightly prefer Second Avenue over Katz's but they both do great pastrami with so-so bread.

                                                                                                                                                    Langer's in LA is head and shoulders above everyone else when it comes to the bread. No one is even close, and the New York places should study what they do. You could make a really good sandwich great.

                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: vocesf

                                                                                                                                                      I much prefer Katz's hand cut over 2nd Ave Deli's machine cut. Sarge's was hand cut but closed due to a fire.
                                                                                                                                                      All good I.M.H.O.