HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
Are you making a specialty food? Share your adventure
TELL US

Visiting from LA-must have pizza and pastrami.....and a bagel

j
jpie Oct 17, 2010 07:51 PM

We will only have 2 1/2 days or so in NYC-not nearly enough time to eat. But the things we really want to make sure we try are pizza, bagels and pastrami. All of our NY friends tell us that Los Angeles just doesn't have good pizza. We love the thin crust wood stove variety. Where should we go? We are staying mid-town but will travel. We would prefer to stay in Manhattan but it seems like the Food Network favorites are in Brooklyn. Are all the best places there or is that just hype?

Second on the list is pastrami-but the bar is high there for us since my hubby loves Langers in LA. It isn't really about the pastrami-it is the coleslaw and russian dressing and the perfect crispy rye bread. Any similar types in NY? We know about Carnegie and Katz and my sister mentioned a place called Veselka, but we are lost about which one to try so any help there would be greatly appreciated!

And last but not least-we understand we have not lived until we have had the perfect NY bagel-that it is all about the secret NYC water. So where is the best place......and please don't say ANY place-I know there has to be some favorites out there :)

I promise to repay with all my LA favorites for all you NY hounds when the winter rolls around and you decide you need some warm weather! We can't wait to visit your lovely city BTW-we are driving up from DC in a few days and are already thinking about all the good eating.

-----
Veselka
144 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

  1. Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. g
    gutsofsteel Oct 17, 2010 07:56 PM

    For Pastrami: Katz's or Sarge's

    For pizza of the Neopolitan thin crust style: Keste or Motorino

    Russian dressing and cole slaw on pastrami is an abomination! Eat it with mustard! Of course it's about the pastrami!!! Why bother with great pastrami if you're only going to cover it up with sweet stuff???

    Bagel: Ess-A-Bagel

    -----
    Motorino
    349 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

    6 Replies
    1. re: gutsofsteel
      c oliver Oct 17, 2010 08:15 PM

      I've not been to Ess.... We stay with friends on the UWS and go to H&H and Absolute Bagel (mostly the latter because it's close). We bring home to NoCal two dozen bagels and freeze. Nothing else like a NY bagel, IMneverHO :)

      Love Katz.

      -----
      Absolute Bagels
      2788 Broadway, New York, NY 10025

      1. re: c oliver
        g
        gutsofsteel Oct 17, 2010 08:31 PM

        I like H&H, but they are too soft and sweet to be considered authentic...

        1. re: gutsofsteel
          c oliver Oct 17, 2010 08:43 PM

          Ah, good to know. But any NYC bagel is better than anything I can get.

          1. re: gutsofsteel
            k
            kathryn Oct 18, 2010 09:33 AM

            They're also big and H&H won't make you a sandwich.

        2. re: gutsofsteel
          n
          Nancy S. Oct 18, 2010 06:26 AM

          I agree with Ess-a-Bagel. I prefer the bagels there to H & H, which, for me, are too gummy and sweet. I also agree that the pastrami sandwich is all about the bread, cole slaw, etc., since, for me, it's the sides that make the dish.

          -----
          Ess-a-Bagel
          831 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10022

          1. re: Nancy S.
            g
            gutsofsteel Oct 18, 2010 06:36 AM

            So then why care about what the best pastrami is? Why not just ask where the best cole slaw is to be found?

        3. daveena Oct 17, 2010 10:31 PM

          Have your NY friends been to Pizzeria Mozza? For that style of pizza, I think Mozza's actually superior to Motorino (I love them both). I can't remember if Keste's authentic Neapolitan style is represented in LA, but if you like your crust crisp, it may not be your style.

          If pastrami is about the bread, etc, you're not going to be happy with Katz's - I prefer Katz's pastrami (Langer's tastes like corned beef to me) but I concede that Langer's rye is much better.

          The best bagels I've had in NYC were at Absolute, although the last time I went, it wasn't as good as on previous trips.

          -----
          Motorino
          349 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

          4 Replies
          1. re: daveena
            j
            jpie Oct 18, 2010 06:36 AM

            Thanks all for the info. I knew we would be offending some with the comment on the sides on the pastrami, but I guess once you are hooked on the Langer's number 19 it is hard to give it up. If we are willing to go the plain mustard route, who do you think has the best bread? Langers crisps theirs at the last minute which helps with the bread mystique I assume.

            Thanks so much for the bagel leads-we will definitely check them out. Also, for pizza a friend mentioned Arturo's on Houston for Pizza.and also said that Mario Batali has this new enormous place called Eataly: http://ny.eater.com/archives/2010/08/...

            Has anyone tried it or is it tourist only? BTW, we like Mozza "okay" in LA, but didn't think it was really special-so maybe we need to go back when we get back to LA......

            -----
            Eataly
            200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

            1. re: jpie
              g
              gutsofsteel Oct 18, 2010 06:49 AM

              Do some searches here on CH....there are many threads on Eataly already.

              Arturo's is decent....Keste and Motorino are better, and more Neopolitan style.

              The bread at Katz's is not good, just acceptable, and I don't know of any good pastrami place in Manhattan that "crisps" the bread.

              I have been known to purchase decent rye bread and bring it to Katz's.

              -----
              Motorino
              349 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

              Eataly
              200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

              1. re: gutsofsteel
                p
                Pan Oct 18, 2010 10:00 AM

                I consider Arturo's not merely decent but one of the best places for coal-oven New York-style (relatively) thin-crust pizza. But jpie: That's not what you're asking for. For wood-oven pizza, Keste is the best I've had in New York (full disclosure: I haven't been to Co, which has gotten a lot of love on these boards, but Motorino is nowhere near as good, if my one time there was any indication).

                -----
                Motorino
                349 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

              2. re: jpie
                t
                tex.s.toast Oct 18, 2010 07:04 AM

                I agree w/ gos that Arturo's is okay - it may be more traditionally new york than keste (where i still need to go) and Motorino - which i basically cant get enough of. I was only at Mozza once but motorino's weakest moments were still leagues better than my memories of Mozza, and its been as right on as ever lately. Definitely lunchworthy.

                I really liked Langer's, and think that the only possible comparison would be made between it and Katzs - even if the condiments are different (i think we had one #19 and one just w mustard at Langers) and the bread is sup-par. I really like the montreal smoked meat at Mile End in Brooklyn in a much more inviting atmosphere (and not that far by train).

                -----
                Motorino
                349 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

            2. Bko Oct 18, 2010 06:59 AM

              For pizza, I would definitely have to recommend Di Fara in Brooklyn. If you want to have the best thin crust slice in NYC IMO, this is a must. Be careful for an excruciating wait time though. If you would rather stay in Manhattan, I think that Artichoke is a good alternative. Get the Sicilian slice if you go to either of the two.
              I would go with Katz for pastrami. Make sure to order it fatty. I feel that Carnegie fell down in quality, so I wouldn't recommend trying them over Katz.
              Don't eat bagels often enough, so can't say much about where to go in NYC for one.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Bko
                k
                kathryn Oct 18, 2010 09:40 AM

                If they like thin crust, Artichoke isn't the way to go, though. Their crust tends to be thicker than most. And the Sicilian is all about the thicker crust.

                1. re: Bko
                  p
                  Pan Oct 18, 2010 10:02 AM

                  Di Fara is gas-oven pizza, not wood-fired, so I don't think it's what jpie is looking for, even if s/he is willing to deal with the hassle of waiting for pizza there.

                  1. re: Bko
                    Bko Oct 18, 2010 02:42 PM

                    I am well aware of what the OP said. I just wanted to give my opinion on some pizza places that I would definitely recommend trying in NYC while she is there. Another place I'll add while I'm at it is Motorino if you looking for wood-fired Neapolitan pizza.

                  2. bobjbkln Oct 18, 2010 08:10 AM

                    «We would prefer to stay in Manhattan but it seems like the Food Network favorites are in Brooklyn. Are all the best places there or is that just hype» It's not hype. Brooklyn's DiFara, Totonno (Coney Island Only), Lucali, etc. leaves any place in Manhattan in the dust. BUT with 2-1/2 days in NYC I would strongly recommend against going to any of them. They'll cost you at least half a day. I think the best NY style pizza in Manhattan is Patsy's Pizzeria in East Harlem 2287 1st Ave (between 117th St & 118th St) [Avoid the similarly named chain]. Definitely worth the effort IF you have reason to be on the upper east side for the museums or other reasons.

                    Also agree that while Katz' has the best pastrami, the rye bread sucks. You might prefer their chewy club bread. It stands up better to the pastrami, but it's no prize either. They do have great dill and half sour pickles that come with the sandwich though. Sarge's has very good pastrami (but machine sliced, not hand sliced) and the bread isn't as disappointing as Katz'.

                    BTW, Veselka is a Ukrainian Restaurant specializing in foods like pirogies, kielbasa, and potato latkes. I'm pretty sure they don't have pastrami.

                    -----
                    Veselka
                    144 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

                    Totonno's
                    1544 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: bobjbkln
                      p
                      Pan Oct 18, 2010 10:03 AM

                      Veselka probably serves a pastrami sandwich, but they definitely don't make their own pastrami.

                      Patsy's is coal-fired New York-style pizza, and damn good, but not what jpie said s/he was looking for.

                    2. k
                      kathryn Oct 18, 2010 09:37 AM

                      Thin crust wood stove means you are going to get recs for a Naples inspired pie.

                      But NY pizza is traditionally coal oven or gas oven. Your friends who say LA doesn't have great pizza may be referring to these styles instead.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: kathryn
                        j
                        jpie Oct 18, 2010 04:04 PM

                        Thanks for all the info. In terms of pizzas, as much as I want to go to Brooklyn I think it sounds like we just won't have time. I have an event I am attending so probably won't have much travel time, so I will probably stick close to Manhattan. While I love wood fire pizza I think I may opt for the coal oven style since that is traditional to the city it seems-or maybe if I have enough time and can walk up an appetite I can fit in both. Just as an aside, is there any other particular thing I should really have in NYC-I figure I will get pickles with sandwiches for instance.....but are there any little snackie things I should be sure not to miss or any restaurant near mid-town that is a must-not pricey (we aren't up for really expensive given the costs of the hotels in the city :), just good. I am not looking for just broad recs. here-more like "If I amy not get to eat in NYC again for a year-I would be sure to have this or eat here" kind of thing

                        1. re: jpie
                          k
                          kathryn Oct 18, 2010 04:15 PM

                          Don't Leave NY Without Eating
                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/610739

                          1. re: jpie
                            p
                            Pan Oct 19, 2010 12:26 AM

                            OK, if you do want coal-fired New York-style pizza, Patsy's in East Harlem is the apollonian example. Get only the margherita (which they call something else - regular?) and, if you want a different one, the fresh mozzarella one. Don't get anything with other toppings.

                            If you want a slightly less thin-crust coal-fired pizza at a place that has excellent toppings, I recommend Arturo's. Their margherita is quite good, but I also really like their clam pizza (think excellent clam sauce on pizza instead of pasta) and mushroom pizza.

                            My favorite pizzeria in New York is Keste', though.

                        2. h
                          hungrycomposer Oct 18, 2010 04:34 PM

                          I recently returned from a blissful week in LA, and honestly, Langer's is far better than the pastrami that we have in NYC, and their bread is far superior. The traditional bagels from Brooklyn Bagel on Beverly are more traditional than what's available here. And yes, I think Pizza Mozza is wonderful. I'd suggest skipping the pastrami altogether. I would go to Kossar's on Grand St. and get a bialy instead of a bagel. Try to get a hot one, or get them to heat it up. That's something you can't get in LA. While you're down there, stop in at the wonderful Donut Plant. I like Keste and Motorino for pizza, but I also love Co., which has a thinner crust.
                          It pains me to say all of this - I was raised on bagels and pastrami and I'm from the East Coast. H and H has created a land of puffy sweet huge bagels, but Brooklyn Bagel has remained old school if you stick with their hearth-baked bagels.

                          -----
                          Motorino
                          349 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: hungrycomposer
                            s
                            sugartoof Oct 18, 2010 08:33 PM

                            I have to agree with this.

                            Kossar's is the way to go...and I don't know much about Brooklyn Bagel, it was good and old school in a way that the rest of the options just aren't any more.

                            Veselka does have a Reuben on their specials, but it's reputation is built around other dishes.

                            The OP is going to find they're targeting a lot of foods that New York is very much known for, but doesn't really knock out of the park in a unique way anymore.

                            -----
                            Veselka
                            144 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

                          2. h
                            hungrycomposer Oct 18, 2010 04:37 PM

                            As for your request for snacky things that you can't get in LA, I love the lamb burger (not really a burger) at Xi'an famous foods. The Xi'an on St. Marks may even have a space for you to sit. And the pork buns at any of the momofukus are delicious.

                            1. t
                              teach Oct 18, 2010 06:52 PM

                              I recently moved from LA to NYC, and while I won't even pretend to know where the best New York pizza is, I can tell you that Motorino is outstanding. At this time of year their brussels sprout pizza will be killer. Also, you could go to Motorino for dinner, head over to Black Market for INCREDIBLE cocktails (it's on 7th and Ave. A), and then stumble over to Veselka (open 24 hours) for perogi before cabbing it to your hotel.

                              P.S. I believed the hype about there being a cocktail revolution in LA until I moved to New York and tried the drinks at places like Black Market.

                              -----
                              Veselka
                              144 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

                              Motorino
                              349 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

                              Black Market
                              110 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009

                              1. loratliff Oct 18, 2010 08:56 PM

                                I'm surprised that no one has recommended John's on Bleecker Street. It's wood-fired and is considered the best by quite a few folks (me included). ;) No slices, but a small pie is like $12 so very worth it.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: loratliff
                                  k
                                  kathryn Oct 18, 2010 09:18 PM

                                  John's is coal oven.

                                  http://www.johnsbrickovenpizza.com/

                                  Welcome to John's
                                  Coal-Fired, Brick-Oven Pizza since 1929

                                2. h
                                  hungrycomposer Oct 18, 2010 10:15 PM

                                  btw Co. is a wood burning oven. Lots of less traditional pizzas are also on the menu, I love the Flambe, which is like an Alsatian tarte flambe. The crust is a little thinner than a Neapolitan crust.
                                  Hard to find their website:
                                  http://www.co-pane.com/index.php

                                  1. k
                                    Khotso98 Oct 21, 2010 11:47 AM

                                    Murray's Bagels
                                    500 Avenue of the Americas
                                    New York, NY 10011
                                    212-462-2830
                                    http://www.murraysbagels.com/index2.htm

                                    V&T Pizzeria and Restaurant
                                    1024 Amsterdam Avenue
                                    New York, NY
                                    212-666-8051
                                    212-633-1708
                                    http://www.vtpizzeriarestaurant.com/#/home

                                    2nd Ave, Deli
                                    162 East 33rd St.
                                    New York, NY
                                    212-689-9000
                                    http://www.2ndavedeli.com/

                                    Katz's Delicatessen
                                    205 East Houston St.
                                    New York, NY
                                    212-254-2246
                                    http://www.katzdeli.com/

                                    Carnegie Deli
                                    854 7th Ave.
                                    New York, NY
                                    212-757-2245
                                    http://www.carnegiedeli.com/home.php

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

                                    Murray's Bagels
                                    500 6th Ave, New York, NY 10011

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

                                    V&T Pizzeria
                                    1024 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10025

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Khotso98
                                      p
                                      Pan Oct 21, 2010 04:02 PM

                                      What's so good about V&T? I never thought they were anything more than a kind of greasy neighborhood place, and that was in the 70s. Are they any different now? I also totally disagree with your Lombardi's recommendation. Tourists can find the long lines there without recommendations from us, and their reputation is based on what I suppose they were like decades ago, not their current quality, though I presume it's superior to V&T.

                                    2. k
                                      Khotso98 Oct 21, 2010 12:08 PM

                                      Ooppss, I see you already know about Katz's and Carnegie. Also, here a few more pizza suggestions...

                                      Lombardi's Pizza
                                      32 Spring Street
                                      New York, NY 10012-4173
                                      212-941-7994

                                      Totonno’s Pizzeria
                                      1544 2nd Ave.
                                      New York, NY
                                      212-327-2800
                                      http://www.totonnos.com/

                                      Di Fara Pizzeria
                                      1424 Avenue J
                                      Brooklyn, NY 11230
                                      718-258-1367

                                      Show Hidden Posts