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Katz's Deli vs. Carnegie Deli

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Any opinions about one versus the other?

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Carnegie Deli
854 7th Ave, New York, NY 10019

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  1. Carnegie was better than Katz's until Leo of the Carnegie died around 1987.

    Katz's has been vastly better than Carnegie ever since.

    So, unless you have access to a Wayback Machine, Katz's.

    1. katz's deli has gotten out of control over the last 2 years...with the tourists, with the crowds of newcomers who dont know how they operate, with the smaller sandwiches...that i just stopped going.

      now i get my pastrami at mile end in brooklyn.

      i like carnegie deli but ive only eaten it from delivery to my office. ive eaten it 10-15x and the woody allen sandwich is a classic. its classic ny deli...i have no issue with it. but ive never sat inside.

      8 Replies
      1. re: sam1

        The sandwiches are not any smaller today then they were 15 years ago.

        1. re: sam1

          Well, sam1, you make it sound as though Carnegie doesn't get any tourist traffic. lol

          We recently went to Katz's late on a Sunday morning, and there were no lines. The pastrami is consistently superb, and I've seen no diminution whatsoever in the size of the sandwich. Photos of our still hefty sandwich can be viewed here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

          http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

          1. re: RGR

            As in other posts, dissent on the sandwich size. My take is they are now smaller. Either that or my stomach has shrunk and I've lost my peripheral vision.

            1. re: addictedtolunch

              ive been eating at katz's for about 15 years...the sandwiches have only in the last year or two have become increasingly smaller to the tune of 35-40% of what the older sandwiches once were.

              not sure if anyone else has noticed but the coverage of katz's and il labratorio and donut plant has brought tons of tourists out. i tried to have lunch on a friday afternoon and saw a line 20 deep outside of the door...never saw it that crowded in my life.

              1. re: sam1

                sam1...completely agree with you on tourist-mania of Katz's, & sandwich size shrinkage...& I've been going there for 50 years.

                1. re: sam1

                  Agree. The second most embarrassing kind of shrinkage is the one where you take out of town friends to Katz's and for $15 they get a smaller sandwich. (So now I stay out of both Katz's and cold swimming pools when on a date).

              2. re: RGR

                Been eating Katz since the mid-80's
                Sandwich sizes have definitely shrunk. I still think their pastrami -on-rye are pretty good though.

                No opinion on Carnegie. Can't remember the last time I ate, but will definitely look forward to trying out very soon.

                1. re: RGR

                  Actually, looking at the pics you posted, they have shrunk by at least a good 1/3 from the last time I was there, which was 2-3 years ago. Before that I went on a regular basis for over two decades. that sandwich looks like you can get your mouth around it. I always had to eat 1/2 the meat before picking it up and trying to stretch my mouth to take a bit.

              3. KATZ'S without question is better. Taster meat, better fries, prefer the atmosphere. Although they are both overpriced.

                1. You'll find lots of heated opinions on this subject on the Manhattan board. Neither place is the same as 10, 20, 50 years ago, but very little in NYC is.

                  If you haven't been to either then I suggest a visit to each... both have their good points.

                  Having said all that, I vastly prefer Katz's... the pastrami is hand sliced and delicious.

                  1. Sarge's is cheaper, more relaxed setting and better than both katz's and carnegie.

                    Im 100% serious when I say this. There is nothing better than strolling into sarges at 3AM for one of there triple deckers. The pastrami is great, as is their brisket. I have never left there diappointed. except sometimes they have this nasty waitress.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Recursion

                      I agree with you about Sarge's (except I haven't seen any nasty waitresses--but then again I don't go to Sarge's at 3AM).

                    2. Carnegie is a true NYC/Times Square tourist experience. I stay away.
                      Katz's on the other hand is Manhattan at it's best. The ambience is unique and the sammiches are fabulous. Even when there are lines they move pretty quick.
                      We've been going there for 50+ years. We always split a Pastrami or Corned beef on rye since neither one of us can eat a whole one. They don't seem smaller to me.

                      1. You guys crack me up. If you want to see how great Katz's is, and how great Carnegie is, move someplace else. Anywhere else. You might legitimately finesse the fine points of one's pastrami spices or pickle brine, but please! Stop your wining. You have no idea how great they both are until you leave New York. Ditto, Stage, or 2nd (now 3rd) Ave Deli. New York owns deli. You have no idea how good NY deli is until you leave. I look forward to very trip to NYC so I can visit one, two or more of your fabulous delis. So stop complaining. Stop comparing. Go have a corned beef on rye and shut up.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: North Country Rambler

                          You're absolutely right! Twenty-five years ago, I had moved to the suburbs of Detroit, and not only couldn't I get great deli, but I couldn't even get great Chinese food or pizza. I've been back in Manhattan for more than 20 years, and I truly appreciate the wonderful foods (and cultural events) that we have. We are really just splitting hairs as to which deli has the best pastrami. I would have loved to have had even the 10th best NYC deli near my apartment in Michigan.

                          1. re: ellenost

                            Yeah, but what would be the point of Chowhound if we all subscribed to that kind of notion? Right?

                            1. re: uwsister

                              I know but sometimes we all look a bit silly quibbling about things others don't have (but wish they did).

                            2. re: ellenost

                              Took the words out of my mouth! I left Manhattan for Ann Arbor in 1969 as a newly married new grad student and discovered the great vanilla void. (There was no Zingerman's, no nothing at the time except Kroger's and a farmers market.) There was one place with pastrami -- called The Purple Pickle, so you can imagine. Later came the Bagel Factory, with cinnamon raisin bagels.

                            3. re: North Country Rambler

                              I agree completely.

                            4. That's easy. Second Avenue Deli and then Katz's. Carnegie only if you're really, really, really hungry.
                              www.shrtinkinthekitchen.com

                              -----
                              Second Avenue Deli
                              162 E 33rd St, New York, NY 10016

                              1. Over breakfast this morning my lovely wife and I were discussing this very issue.
                                Our conclusion: For a NYC "experience" you can't beat the unique "ambience" of Katz's!!
                                The other hotly debated competitors, Sarge's, 2nd Ave, Carnegie etc.. all have good food but lack odd and entertaining aspect of Katz's.
                                I.M.H.O. Carnegie is just too "Times Square" for my local boy tastes.

                                1. I am a Miami Resident who has been to both Delis quite a few times over the years. Here are my two thoughts:

                                  1) As said repeatedly, Katz's is much much better than Carnegie for a pastrami sandwich.
                                  2) Carnegie Deli is a good deli. If you really want to know what bad deli tastes like, please come down to Miami. I would love anything remotely as good as carnegie in my town.

                                  -----
                                  Carnegie Deli
                                  854 7th Ave, New York, NY 10019

                                  1. No comparison. Go to Katz's. Carnegie Deli is the ultimate tourist trap.

                                    -----
                                    Carnegie Deli
                                    854 7th Ave, New York, NY 10019

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: s.piller

                                      Pretty broad statement-and possibly unfair to some of us who now consider Katz's a tourist trap as well (see above comments).

                                      1. re: addictedtolunch

                                        Carnegie Deli was an excellent location when Leo Steiner was alive and owned it. The man was a true gentleman. I remember going there with my family on a Christmas day as a young person after the theater when few restaurants were open. However, since that time when I have been there, the quality has gone done. It's living on it's past glory.
                                        The writer was asking for a comparison between the two. In my opinion, Katz's is far superior.
                                        Is it the best deli in the City, I really do not know. Frankly, I'd rather eat other types of food. I am offering my personal opinion.
                                        If you disagree that is your right. That's why we have this board.

                                        -----
                                        Carnegie Deli
                                        854 7th Ave, New York, NY 10019

                                        1. re: addictedtolunch

                                          As I have said before: "All of NYC has become a tourist attraction." I hate to say trap. Thank goodness for the tourists!! They fuel the NYC economy. The ill advised stay in the Times Square area and patronize ESPN Zone. Those that have a little savvy might go to Carnegie Deli. Those that follow Chowhounder advice get out of Times Sq and get to the LES to try a place like Katz's. Gotta love those tourists but not their backpacks!!

                                          1. re: Motosport

                                            Actually ESPN Zone has been closed for a while--I think only two restaurants in the entire chain still exist. Think Hard Rock and Olive Garden these days in Times Square.

                                            I personally prefer Sarge's just because I can get their awesome fries with my pastrami omelet in the morning, but if we're talking Carnegie vs. Katz's I'd do Carnegie for breakfast and Katz's for any other meal.

                                            -----
                                            Hard Rock Cafe
                                            1501 Broadway, New York, NY 10036

                                            Olive Garden
                                            2 Times Sq, New York, NY 10036

                                      2. any updates here on Carnegie? Visiting from west coast and staying midtown. Better options?

                                        76 Replies
                                        1. re: jessejames

                                          No updates. Just go to Katz.

                                          1. re: Monica

                                            got it.thanks

                                          2. re: jessejames

                                            Carnegie is good but far from the best.
                                            Katz's or Pastrami Queen are both excellent and different enough that I can't use the word best.
                                            Katz's has a one of a kind time warp ambience. If you go to Pastrami Queen ask for hand cut.
                                            Both places make a pastrami sammich that is big enough for two adults to share.

                                            1. re: Motosport

                                              thanks again - i looked up PQ and sounds delish. i went to katz's about 5 years ago and meat was somewhat dry...probably an off day...been decade or more since ive been to carnegie but fond memories of that towering sandwich and cheesecake...soho will be easy to do...thanks hounds.

                                              1. re: jessejames

                                                Pastrami Queen is in Manhattan on Lexington Ave & E 78 St.
                                                Whenever you order a pastrami sammich ask for "fatty" not lean.
                                                Carnegie has been living on it's reputation for years. Good but far from the best.

                                                1. re: Motosport

                                                  thanks moto for that tip! looking forward to getting my fix on pizza, bagels and pastrami while in the big apple!

                                                2. re: jessejames

                                                  You can control that (the dryness of the meat at Katz's) by (a) asking for a fatty cut and (b) asking to taste the meat before it's put on your sandwich. If it's too dry, ask them to give you some other cut. (Of course, you have to tip for this -- but you should be tipping the counterman there anyway.)

                                                  1. re: Sneakeater

                                                    thanks i never knew that about tipping in that situation...do it before for maximum effect on sandwich right?

                                                    1. re: jessejames

                                                      When you order the sammich put a buck in his tip jar. It's not totally necessary but a nice tradition. Since you won't be getting waiter service it's the only tip you will pay.

                                                      1. re: Motosport

                                                        really appreciated
                                                        We'll be staying in Times Square area -- I'd love to go to Nathans...any other NYC specialty good spots in that area like pizza, bagels, other good stuff?

                                                        1. re: jessejames

                                                          Most Ch'ers would agree that Times Sq is a culinary wasteland. Best to get out for good food.
                                                          There are lots of "Best" topics on CH.

                                                          1. re: jessejames

                                                            Where to Eat Near Times Square:
                                                            http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2013/0...
                                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/833282
                                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/901130

                                                            You can probably do bagels near Times Square if you're willing to walk (and I'm using Times Square very loosely here to indicate Midtown as a whole). John's Pizza in Times Sq is OK (not great). You could pick up some cheesecake from Junior's.

                                                            But for most everything else that's a "uniquely NY" food, you will need to head out of Midtown.
                                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/916615

                                                            1. re: kathryn

                                                              9th Ave. is worth hitting up for options Midtown, and there are plenty of gems scattered within a short distance from Times Square, like Sullivan Street Bakery.

                                                            2. re: jessejames

                                                              I highly recommend the Edison Cafe in the Edison Hotel. Also know as the "Polish Tea Room". It is on 47th st between broadway and 8th. If you are looking for old new york jewish style food, you can't go wrong. They have amazing matzo ball and borsch soups, great deli sandwiches (I think their pastrami is better than carnigie), blintzes, fish salads, corn beef hash, etc. Just try to order their "homemade" stuff.

                                                              1. re: joestein

                                                                thank you kathryn, Joe and josh...great help and looking forward!

                                                                1. re: jessejames

                                                                  For a fabulous cocktail walk over to Lantern's Keep. It's an experience.

                                                                  1. re: Motosport

                                                                    thanks moto-gotta do some drinking in nyc!

                                                              2. re: jessejames

                                                                The only Nathan's worth going to is the original, but it's in Brooklyn at Coney Island. You can get there by subway though.

                                                                1. re: coll

                                                                  Nathan's hot dog, fries and root beer on the Coney Island boardwalk is PRICELESS!! Especially after (not before) a ride on the Cyclone.

                                                                  1. re: Motosport

                                                                    Before, you need a good, stiff drink, I find!

                                                                    1. re: coll

                                                                      Ruby's!!!!! Before or after!!

                                                                      1. re: Motosport

                                                                        You read my mind!

                                                                        1. re: coll

                                                                          Maybe before AND after!!

                                                              3. re: Motosport

                                                                It has nothing to do with nice and try a fiver or a ten. The point is to shmear the guy BEFORE you order and then he gets you a nice, fresh, juicy piece of meat from the bin.

                                                                It is the one time that tipping actually makes sense - the person KNOWS you are paying for good service instead of having to guess if you are a good tipper.

                                                      2. re: jessejames

                                                        The best deli, IMO, is actually Barney Greengrass in the UWS. It's a smoked fish deli, and the smoked salmon pastrami is ridiculous. The sable is also amazing. Split a platter with an extra bagel and you'll be very happy.

                                                        1. re: Josh

                                                          Barney Greengrass is an appetizing store, not a deli like Katz's or Carnegie.

                                                          1. re: iluvcookies

                                                            And Russ and Daughters is better than Barney Greengrass for that type. (and conveniently near Katz's so you can pick up some smoked fish for the next morning after you recover from your pastrami coma)

                                                            1. re: dyrewolf

                                                              R&D does not have the sit down dining room and you can't get an ELO there...

                                                              1. re: tpigeon

                                                                "ELO" That took a moment to figure out. In my experience it's always been a L.E.O. Lox eggs and onions, one of my favorites!!

                                                            2. re: iluvcookies

                                                              ?

                                                              Their menu is huge. Agreed, not a full deli, as I mentioned, but for someone visiting and wanting a meal it more than does the job and is better than Carnegie or Katz, IMO.

                                                              1. re: Josh

                                                                Barney Greengrass is where you go for fish i.e. herring, smoked sturgeon etc. They have meat sandwiches but it is not what you want there. Katz's is a million times better. But BG should not be compared to Katz's they are not even similar. Maybe compare to Russ and daughters, maybe.

                                                                1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                                  Apples, oranges and turnips. All three are great but very different.

                                                                  1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                                    Katz's is certainly not a million times better. Jewish deli isn't one dimensional and I think people miss out by overlooking how epic a great smoked fish deli can be.

                                                                    1. re: Josh

                                                                      Though in a discussion of Katz's vs. Carnegie, it is about the meat not fish. One could bring up Sarge's or Pastrami Queen and stay on point... but discussing Barney Greengrass is about as relevant as mentioning that the meat is better at Lugars than either Katz's or Carnegie and that the salmon is better at Yasuda than at BG or Russ and Daughters...

                                                                      1. re: dyrewolf

                                                                        Respectfully disagree. When the two options being debated are both middling I don't see anything wrong with bringing up something that's better than either, especially since Barney Greengrass isn't exactly widely known. It's not at all analogous to mentioning Lugar's since Lugar's isn't a deli.

                                                                        1. re: Josh

                                                                          Very different sorts of deli's one famous for smoked fish, the others for meats... as someone said upthread.. apples, oranges and turnips...

                                                                          And, if you're looking for pastrami, BG sucks.... and if you're looking for whitefish you're probably outta luck at Katz's, Carnegie prob has it but it prob aint good... so each is better in its milieu...

                                                                          Then again they are all restaurants and belong in one comparison

                                                                          1. re: dyrewolf

                                                                            This comes from the misunderstanding that "deli" is pastrami and only pastrami, and lox, or whitefish are "appetizing", never found in a deli setting. New Yorkers forget that "deli" is a big umbrella. The logical guess when discussing Katz's or Carnegie is that you're going for pastrami, but we don't know that the OP is using that same logic. There's nothing wrong with someone saying to skip either and try Barney Greengrass.

                                                                            1. re: sugartoof

                                                                              Deli is deli.

                                                                              Appetizing is appetizing.

                                                                              You go to a deli for deli

                                                                              You go to an appetizing place for appetizer.

                                                                              You go to a pizzeria for pizza.

                                                                              And you go to Acme to look at models.

                                                                              1. re: Sneakeater

                                                                                I guess you're not aware that there were and are delis that include appetizing.

                                                                                What you call it matters little...there are people who will and do reference lox and bagels as "Jewish deli".

                                                                                1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                  Delis started serving appetizing to satisfy people who don't want deli (and some appetizing places like Barney Greengrass started serving deli), but that's an accommodation and a sideline (and, if you were to take the Kosher laws -- which would forbid a place that serves meat to also serve cream cheese -- seriously, which of course we don't, a violation).

                                                                                  It's EXACTLY like Peter Luger's serving salmon.

                                                                                  1. re: Sneakeater

                                                                                    Forget the Luger's salmon analogy.

                                                                                    You know what it's REALLY like? Someone going to a Texas barbecue place and ordering pulled pork instead of brisket.

                                                                                    MAYBE there are some Texas barbecue places that serve pulled pork, as an accommodation to ignorant people who want what they want and don't know what Texas barbecue is.

                                                                                    But pulled pork is IN NO WAY part of Texas barbecue.

                                                                                    The same would go for barbecued brisket at a barbecue place in South Carolina.

                                                                                    And the same goes for appetizing at a deli.

                                                                                    (Although having said all that, I have to concede that Carnegie's appetizing remains superb, even though its deli has declined precipitously. They've lost the art of producing deli meats. But they still know how to buy good smoked and cured fish.)

                                                                                    1. re: Sneakeater

                                                                                      If Katz and Carnegie were Glatt kosher then *maybe* you would have a point. They serve Reubens, so bringing up kosher laws is nonsensical.

                                                                                      Smoked fish is as much a part of Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine as kreplach or chopped liver.

                                                                                    2. re: Sneakeater

                                                                                      "Delis started serving appetizing to satisfy people who don't want deli "

                                                                                      This warrants a correction. Delis in other regions (the West Coast comes to mind) have long traditions serving both.

                                                                                      Now that NY is down to less than a hand full of appetizing specialists (some of which are criminally neglected to the outside world, like Sables), we like to pay tribute to the appetizing tradition, and that's great, but when people ask for deli, they will often mean to include lox and bagels.

                                                                                      You can joke about how it's abomination and for some, wrapping their head around this is more than we should expect - but like I said, deli is a big umbrella, and it means more than pastrami on bad rye.

                                                                                      1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                        I love Sables appetizing! Their gaspe is almost as good as Russ & Daughters and their sable is superior to R&D. Also love their lobster salad!

                                                                                        1. re: ellenost

                                                                                          But do they have a Lox Sherpa?

                                                                                          http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/04/nyr...

                                                                                          1. re: ellenost

                                                                                            Sables is definitely one of the more underrated (or really unrecognized) great places in NYC.

                                                                                            1. re: Sneakeater

                                                                                              Adding to the list for my next visit. Thanks.

                                                                                            2. re: ellenost

                                                                                              The lobster salad is a small fortune, but it's one of the best tastes in NYC.

                                                                                              For the uninitiated, Sables can feel like a mirage of old New York, that only Upper East Siders appear to know about. I've forgotten the place existed more than once.

                                                                                              1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                                The counter people are always great about giving very generous tastes of the lobster salad. Works every time and I always buy a 1/2 pound. The counter people are also very nice about giving generous tastes of the smoked fish.

                                                                                        2. re: sugartoof

                                                                                          No one I know. Bagels and lox are not deli.

                                                                                          1. re: Just Visiting

                                                                                            Question: you're in a city with a large Jewish population and you feel like having bagels and lox. Do you try a deli?

                                                                                            http://katzsdelicatessen.com/menus/#s...
                                                                                            http://www.carnegiedeli.com/menu2a.ht...

                                                                                            1. re: Josh

                                                                                              Umm no, you go to a bagel shop... Murray's, Ess-A, David's, H&H (east) etc... or Russ and Daughters or maybe even BG.

                                                                                        3. re: Sneakeater

                                                                                          This seems to be a really pedantic line of argument. For someone unfamiliar with "appetizing" as meaning "food you eat with bagels" they could get the wrong idea.

                                                                                          In any case, if someone is visiting NYC and wants to eat some good examples of Jewish deli then BG offers something that you can't easily find anywhere else, which to me makes it an essential dining destination.

                                                                                          1. re: Josh

                                                                                            Appetizing and appetizer are two different things.

                                                                                            1. re: Josh

                                                                                              Pedantic? This is Chowhound! Would anybody here DREAM of ordering a Fujianese dish at a Hakka restaurant?

                                                                                              1. re: Sneakeater

                                                                                                That is so funny and brings to mind my neighbor who orders Chili at our local Spicy's BBQ known for its excellent BBQ and a hamburger at our local Rendesvous Steak House that has amazing marinated steaks.
                                                                                                She thinks the bagels at Panera are the best!!!

                                                                                              2. re: Josh

                                                                                                Funny, you are not giving in and calling the rest uf us pedantic.... maybe you are too... or of course you're just right and the rest of us are wrong...

                                                                                                1. re: Josh

                                                                                                  Maybe BG is essential and at the top of its category... but that category is not deli (for those of us who consider pastrami to be deli and whitefish to be appetizing anyway... poor fools that we are)

                                                                                                  1. re: dyrewolf

                                                                                                    I'm asking you guys to take off your NYC glasses for a moment and look at the world through someone else's eyes.

                                                                                                    If you're not from a city that has such a heavy concentration of Jewish food-eating places the perceived difference between "appetizing store" and "delicatessen" is potentially minuscule, especially given the menu at BG, which includes meat sandwiches, and given the menus at Carnegie and Katz which include appetizing items.

                                                                                                    Trying to turn this into ordering pork at a Texas BBQ joint or lasagna at a Neapolitan pizzeria is way off the mark, IMO.

                                                                                                    It's not like Ashkenazi cooking has such a huge palette of colors to choose from in the first place. You guys are making me plotz over here.

                                                                                                    1. re: Josh

                                                                                                      If you're not from a city with a heavy Chinese population, you probably would expect to find Cantonese dishes on the menu of a Sichuan restaurant. (And you know what? That happens here, too. Cuz even in NYC there are lots of tourists and ignorant natives.) That doesn't make it correct, and it doesn't mean that people who actually understand Chinese cuisine have to cater to that kind of ignorance.

                                                                                                      1. re: Sneakeater

                                                                                                        I don't think it's analogous. If you were expecting Sephardic, or Israeli, dishes at an Ashkenazi restaurant that would be analogous.

                                                                                                        E.g. if I go to an Israeli restaurant expecting potato knishes because "it's Jewish food" then yeah, that'd be ignorant.

                                                                                                        1. re: Josh

                                                                                                          I actually know someone who went to Taboon and was surprised because the food wasn't what he thought of as Jewish!

                                                                                              3. re: sugartoof

                                                                                                Another point that the pedants might want to consider is that BG also sells pastrami, corned beef, tongue, et al. Not what I'd recommend ordering there, of course, but useful for splitting hairs.

                                                                                                1. re: Josh

                                                                                                  >BG also sells pastrami, corned beef, tongue, et al. Not what I'd recommend ordering there, of course ...

                                                                                                  That you wouldn't recommend Barney Greengrass' deli meats illustrates why the deli/appetizing distinction matters: it arises from a historical delineation between the two categories of restaurants, one still reflected today in recommendations from Chowhounds like you.

                                                                                                  In that sense it's indeed comparable to the differences between, say, Sichuan and Cantonese Chinese restaurants. That's not pedantry; that's useful background that help diners order in an informed way.

                                                                                                  1. re: squid kun

                                                                                                    "it's indeed comparable to the differences between, say, Sichuan and Cantonese Chinese restaurants"

                                                                                                    I find the approach to Chinese cuisine and so called authentic ordering practices has at times smacked of an elitist snobbery that's not always valid. Likening that discussion to Deli is a mistake - the distinction between Deli and appetizing is ultimately about Kosher laws (and we're not having this conversation on the CH Kosher board for a reason, I'm guessing), or the difference between a fish monger, and a butcher. Places now serve both. Do they do it well? Maybe not.

                                                                                                    1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                                      >the approach to Chinese cuisine and so called authentic ordering practices has at times smacked of an elitist snobbery that's not always valid.

                                                                                                      I suppose snobbery sometimes enters into it. But far more often on these boards, I find the conversation's about steering people toward what a given restaurant does best. Order something that's in its wheelhouse—sturgeon, not salami, at Barney Greengrass; double-cooked pork, not sweet-and-sour, at Little Pepper—and you're likely to leave happy.

                                                                                                      I agree that the old-line appetizing stores expanded their menus in part because there are fewer of them and because many New Yorkers now expect a one-stop shop for "Jewish-style" food: deli, dairy, appetizing under one roof. But the old categories are still relevant—not for centuries-old reasons rooted in kosher law but because those specialties mastered decades ago remain the smart orders at places that are still taking care of business, like Barney Greengrass. (I also agree, by the way, that Sable's belongs in the conversation about the best smoked fish in town.)

                                                                                                      1. re: squid kun

                                                                                                        I agree about steering people towards what a place does best. I was really just commenting on the way people talk about Szechuan or say, appetizing. It's more out of a desire to feel or sound knowledgeable or in the know than any anything else.

                                                                                                        As for Jewish deli, the old categories stopped being relevant once places combined their menus, especially outside of NY where you would be hard pressed to find a Russ & Daughters type place. Even in NY, how many dairy only, appetizing specialists do we have? How is this a discussion aside from Russ & Daughters? Barney Greengrass is about the appetizing, and dairy items, without a doubt, but there's no reason it doesn't fall under the larger umbrella of a"Jewish deli" conversation, especially if their menu includes deli items. It's part of the same tradition, and separating the two strikes me as more about sounding cool or connected to a mostly lost tradition than anything else...and proof of that is that we're not of the Kosher forum, nor are we arguing over whether a Reuben is true Jewish deli. We're not discrediting Langer's because it serves lox, or writing off the new generation of Miles End/Wise Sons type delis for incorporating appetizing into what they do.

                                                                                                        1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                                          At least in the past, Mile End actually took care not to serve anything whose composition would violate the Kosher laws. Not because it was Kosher -- it wasn't -- but for reasons of cultural and culinary authenticity.

                                                                                                          Things have changed there, so I don't know if they still do.

                                                                                                          1. re: Sneakeater

                                                                                                            They still made a name with lox on Canadian bagels, and then also smoked beef, rather than specializing in one and not the other.

                                                                                        4. re: Josh

                                                                                          Maybe not a million times better but certainly unique. Name one place that has the same "ambience."

                                                                                  2. re: Josh

                                                                                    Josh just had the sable and potato pancakes. Delish start to day. The meats await us later! Thanks for tip. Nice folks there and cool atmosphere too.

                                                                                    1. re: jessejames

                                                                                      Glad to hear it! Cheers.

                                                                                      1. re: Josh

                                                                                        really appreciate all the other great tips....we did the tipping at katz's and that worked out quite well....gotta say that hotdog stole the show there tho, but nothing like an awesome pastrami sandwich with a side of a dog....now no side needed at carnegie cuz that sandwich is f'ing HUGE...but really tasty too...hell there was more swiss cheese on my pastrami and swiss than some places give you pastrami. but that pastrami at carnegie was succulent, so juicy and flavorful without being too salty....you know, the bread not quite the same as katz's a bit soft, but still that is one hell of a sandwich and maybe the bread was soft because of that mountain of steaming meat, and i mean a mountain. sometimes you gotta climb the mountain. pickles at carnegie to me were better than katz's. all and all, you guys are very fortunate to have both these places and the winner was me. lots of cheer to my NYC hounds and thanks for the tips. i can't wait to come back and try more of the smoked fishes at barney greengrass either (we have one here btw but not the same -- the bagels, the fish, the larger menu, the century old atmosphere and family friendly vibe and pride...to me that is the thing that makes all three of those spots so great -- nostalgia and tradition do matter and make it a better experience for me...that's my kind of history and hats off to NYC -- we have some good stuff here with Langers, but yalls are the overall kings, not even close.

                                                                                        1. re: jessejames

                                                                                          Swiss on your pastrami?

                                                                                          What kind of bread? Did you put mayo on it?

                                                                                          1. re: Just Visiting

                                                                                            Pastrami Reuben will have Swiss cheese!! No MAYO!!

                                                                                            1. re: Motosport

                                                                                              Unless they add Russian Dressing...

                                                                                2. The OP has almost certainly had his pastrami sandwich by now, but just to update this thread - I went to Katz's yesterday (let's just say I broke fast a bit early, as in noon). The pastrami was phenomenal as always. Yes, the sandwiches are smaller but still ample and I for one am glad of that as I have a hard time finishing a whole sandwich there.

                                                                                  And by the way: http://www.amazon.com/Katzs-Autobiogr...

                                                                                  Coming out 9/18.

                                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Just Visiting

                                                                                    You said you broke fast meaning you were hungry.When I'm hungry portion always appear smaller . I'm just saying :)

                                                                                    1. re: scunge

                                                                                      Breaking fast at noon means they skipped the midnight snack and breakfast. That's not enough hunger to shrink the mythical Katz's sandwich.

                                                                                      1. re: scunge

                                                                                        No, it wasn't about hunger. This was actually a planned trip to NYC and a planned trip to Katz's. Meaning that I don't observe and let's just say that about half the people there on Saturday were similarly not observant.

                                                                                        I deliberately ate breakfast and a snack so I wouldn't be starving when I walked in, so I wouldn't over-order out of hunger.

                                                                                        True story - lady in front of me ordered half a sandwich and a small green salad. I wanted to take a photo. I'd never seen anyone order a salad at Katz's before. Turns out that if you order a half sandwich, you have to order a side so she decided to order a salad. Who knew? It would never occur to me to order half a sandwich.

                                                                                      2. re: Just Visiting

                                                                                        Thanks so much everyone. I'm going first week October and will report back. Loads of great tips and i love the passion and pride. Ill be hungry and ready'

                                                                                        1. re: jessejames

                                                                                          Pointers - they do not take credit cards. Bring that green stuff. Walk in and stay to the right to order at the counter. Don't bother with table service. Take your ticket and go to the counter. When your turn comes, hold up your tip before you put it in the jar so the slicer sees it. Then order.

                                                                                          http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/201...

                                                                                          Don't bother with the knish or other sides unless you are really a big eater. Don't lose your ticket or you are charged $50.

                                                                                          There is an episode of No Reservations where Bourdain has a sandwich at Katz's and I can smell the pastrami as it comes out of the cooker and gets sliced. It always makes me want to jump in the car and start driving. I think my husband loves me because I take him to Katz's.

                                                                                          1. re: Just Visiting

                                                                                            «they do not take credit cards»
                                                                                            Ah, but they do. Just not at the cashier line. To pay with a credit card, go to the take-out (whole salamis for sale) counter and hand in your ticket along with your credit card. Then just show the credit card receipt to guard when you leave.

                                                                                            1. re: bobjbkln

                                                                                              That is good to know!! And I thought I knew it all.

                                                                                              1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                Me, too. It makes sense - you can order online so clearly they have to take credit cards for the internet sales. And the NYT article says they do.

                                                                                      3. I always liked Carnegie for its ambience and its rather thick bagel and cream cheese.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: williej

                                                                                          True. But judging a deli by it's bagel-and-cream-cheese is like judging a steak house by its salmon.

                                                                                        2. And perhaps some day they will both up their respective games and begin to approach Langer's, but until then I would take Katz's when traveling in New York.

                                                                                          1. Carnegie for corned beef, and Katz's for Pastrami.......

                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: polentachili

                                                                                              I agree. I have tried the corned beef at Katz's several times. Never worth it.

                                                                                              1. re: Just Visiting

                                                                                                Back in the day it was 2nd Ave for corned beef... where is it good now? (I actually had 2nd Ave a while back from the UES branch... good but not old days good)

                                                                                                1. re: dyrewolf

                                                                                                  David's Brisket House. (The pastrami is also excellent, as is -- surprise! -- the uncorned brisket.)

                                                                                            2. Informative, from Russ & Daughters website: WHAT IS APPETIZING?

                                                                                              “Appetizing,” as a noun, is a Jewish food tradition that is most typical among American Jews, and it is particularly local to New York and New Yorkers. The word “appetizer” is derived from the Latin “appete,” meaning "to desire, covet, or long for.” Used as a noun, “appetizing” is most easily understood as "the foods one eats with bagels.” Its primary components are a variety of smoked and cured salmon, homemade salads, and cream cheeses.

                                                                                              Eastern European Jews started meals with cold appetizers, known in Yiddish as the “forshpayz.” In New York, the popularity of forshpayzn among Eastern European Jewish immigrants led to the creation of the institution known as the appetizing store.

                                                                                              Appetizing also originated from Jewish dietary laws, which dictate that meat and dairy products cannot be eaten or sold together. As a result, two different types of stores sprang up in order to cater to the Jewish population. Stores selling cured and pickled meats became known as delicatessens, while shops that sold fish and dairy products became appetizing stores.

                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: City Kid

                                                                                                Which is why I am sticking to my guns on this one since *neither* Katz nor Carnegie are Glatt kosher. They and BG both sell meat sandwiches, smoked fish, brunch items, etc.

                                                                                                If the OP was asking where to go for flanken then obviously BG's not gonna be on the list.

                                                                                                1. re: City Kid

                                                                                                  And here, straight from a granddaughter of the original Russ:

                                                                                                  http://www.nytimes.com/video/2013/08/...

                                                                                                  DROOOOOOOOOL!

                                                                                                  (Am I the only one who finds Melissa Clark's voice just a little annoying?)

                                                                                                2. This has gotten way off topic. Katz's for superior pastrami and a unique old NY experience.
                                                                                                  Carnegie is good but catering to the Times Square crowd has caused them to lose their edge. It's certainly not the complete NYC experience that you get at Katz's!!

                                                                                                  1. Oy vey!! That means Ay bendito in Yiddish!!
                                                                                                    Enough already!! Is there anyone who thinks Carnegie is better than Katz's and why??
                                                                                                    That was the original question!!

                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                      What? You don't like a bissel kibbitz?

                                                                                                      1. re: Just Visiting

                                                                                                        It's become a kvetch!

                                                                                                        1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                          Genug iz genug! Esse, mein kinderlach!

                                                                                                    2. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present you with a pretty damn good deli sandwich from Barney Greengrass.

                                                                                                      Turkey, roast beef, coleslaw and chopped liver

                                                                                                       
                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: Daniel76

                                                                                                        "They make a nice sammich, a nice sammich!"

                                                                                                        1. re: Daniel76

                                                                                                          Great looking sandwich! Thanks for sharing the photo.

                                                                                                          1. re: Daniel76

                                                                                                            The chopped liver looks like it would hold it together and be the best part, go figure.....that's a sandwich though. Deli it is!

                                                                                                            1. re: Daniel76

                                                                                                              Vindication!

                                                                                                            2. My vote is for Katz's, no particular reason other than I've gone there my entire life.

                                                                                                              1. Well in honor of --- wait for it ---

                                                                                                                National Pastrami Day --

                                                                                                                I'm weighing in for Carnegie.

                                                                                                                Juiciest, milder, less salty and much more abundant meat. I think it leaves 3 katz's sandwiches in the dust...

                                                                                                                But you guys have a nice problem there with such fine deli. i prefer the dogs at katz's. will have to hit up the pastrami queen too....

                                                                                                                hope you hounds celebrate in style.

                                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                  Don't forget Sarge's, soon to reopen!!

                                                                                                                  1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                    there's a reason i never get to any of the fancy restaurants in NYC with all that fine pastrami everywhere! My favorite food!

                                                                                                                    1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                      So true!!!

                                                                                                                      1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                        You may be happy to hear that EMP has now added a hot pastrami dish to their menu (cooks tableside) and is served on rye with mustard. Served with a choice of flavored soda (maple/cranberry/apple/fennel); I chose maple. Delicious dish. Best alternative until Sarge's re-opens!

                                                                                                                        1. re: ellenost

                                                                                                                          Is the server a former Katz counterman? That I'd pay for!!
                                                                                                                          "You wanna taste??"

                                                                                                                          1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                            Now that would be cute!