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where to get the best pastrami sandwich

I am traveling to new york in June for my birthday and I am wanting to eat an amazing pastrami sandwich. where should I go? I am looking for a sandwich under 12.00. Thanks.

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  1. Pay a few bucks more and go get a Pastrami Reuben @ Katz's . . . If you are travelling all the way here, don't limit yourself to such a strict budget.

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

    1. Go to Katz's. Spend a few bucks more. It's worth it. It's the best.

      7 Replies
      1. re: gutsofsteel

        I have to disagree with the 1st two posters. Although I haven't been out to Merrick, Long Island lately, I certainly remember the taste of the overstuffed sandwiches at the "Pasrami King" when they were located on Queens Blvd. in Kew Gardens, Queens.
        And... the current price is only $9.25 for a Pastrami sandwich; however, if you want to have a Corned Beef/Pastrami combo the price escalates to a mere $11.95. Definitely worth the trip:
        http://pastramiking.com/
        Many calories ago, I used to visit the "Pastrami King" when they were located in Williamsburg on Roebling & South 2nd Street. Unlike today, Williamsburg was definitely NOT a trendy neighborhood. As a matter of fact, the neighborhood was so "dicey" back in the late 60s that I left my car at a fire hydrant right in front of this very famous Jewish Deli so that I could keep an eye on it as I devoured the incredibly delicious pastrami sandwich. The meats were smoked right downstairs in the basement - no kidding. And, if you preferred your corned beef or pastrami "lean", then "this be da place".
        I love reminiscing about the good old days. When I was a kid, you could buy a pastrami sandwich on club bread at Jack's Delicatessen on Christopher Avenue in Brownsville, Brooklyn (Mike Tyson's future neighborhood) for the whopping sum of 55 cents along with an order of Coney Island cut (fat) french fried potatoes for another dime. I think that the 12 oz. bottle of Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray soda set me back still another dime.
        I'm sorry that I strayed from the topic, but I couldn't resist.
        Back to Katz's.... and I still think that I'd rather go to the 2nd Avenue Deli (now on East 33rd Street between Lexington & 3rd Avenues) in Murray Hill) before I’d trek down to East Houston Street. But that's just me. Zabar

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

        1. re: Zabar

          The pastrami at the Pastrami King in Merrick is not the same as the pastrami you ate at the Pastrami King on Queens Blvd. The one on Queens Blvd had a unique taste that, to my knowledge, has never been duplicated.

          I've even tracked down Pastrami Kings and Pastrami Queens in Boca Raton , Florida, when I read that they were the same family as the one that ran the Queens Blvd place. And while their offering was pretty good, it was nowhere near the pastrami served across from the Queens courthouse.

          Funny how the craving for certain foods stays with you all your life.

          Oh, and one more thing. For pastrami, I like Sarge's Deli on Madison and 36th.

          -----
          Sarge's Delicatessen
          548 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016

          1. re: mikegre

            Their cole slaw is my fav anywhere, service is great. Pastrami is machine cut, not overly hot, and way too tough for me. Stuck with Katz's, used to love Pastrami King in midtown.

            1. re: mikegre

              Love Sarge's pastrami! Love their cole slaw and sweet noodle pudding too!

              -----
              Sarge's Delicatessen
              548 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016

              1. re: ellenost

                I think I've noted on some other thread(s) that the last time we ordered in from Sarge's, the pastrami was horrible! Exceedingly dry and approximating shoe leather despite the fact that, as always, I specified "very fatty." Since then, I've avoided ordering in from them and have even been reluctant to go the restaurant and have it there. Since this was the first time it had ever happened, I suppose we should at least try it again at Sarge's because as Mr. R. has pointed out, if it's bad, we can give it back and get something else.

                Meanwhile, we've been going to 2nd Avenue Deli. Having had a less than positive experience there with pastrami, we've been sticking with the knoblewurst, which is fabulous!

                http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                -----
                Sarge's Delicatessen
                548 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016

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

                1. re: RGR

                  I had the pastrami recently, and as usual, it was perfectly soft and fatty. You might want to give Sarge's another chance (especially since you had been a long time fan).

                  1. re: RGR

                    I had a very similar experience with Sarge's and haven't been back. It was just that bad. I'm also pretty sure they overcooked my sandwich in a microwave, because it was dried out in that particular kind of way that you only get from reheating that way.

          2. Katz's is worth the time, effort & $$$$ to get there.

            1. I haven't been to the 2nd Ave Deli since they relocated, but I've been to Katz's recently, and if 2nd Ave is as good as it used to be, I prefer 2nd Ave. pastrami, much more.

              7 Replies
              1. re: michele cindy

                2nd Ave Deli serves Hebrew National pastrami - you can buy it in many places and just steam it at home.

                1. re: gutsofsteel

                  Thanks for the tip. I still preferred it over my last visit to Katz's.I kind of attribute it to being with a large group that wanted to order from a table, a no imho, but it was work related so I couldn't protest. Sarah, make sure you order from the counter, and if you don't mind fat, don't order it lean for me it is not a good as the alternative.

                  1. re: michele cindy

                    If you haven't eaten at 2nd Ave in recent years, it may be worth a visit just to compare. I was there a few times just after they relocated, then again last week. The pastrami on the last visit was, as I've said elsewhere, excessively, weirdly salty. I don't remember it being like that on my previous visits.

                  2. re: gutsofsteel

                    What is the source of your information? I've heard this said in many places, with a small body of opinion attributing Empire National instead, but have never found proof.

                    1. re: FoodDabbler

                      I have, several times, bought kosher pastrami from 2nd Ave Deli to take to Europe to kosher-observing friends who request it, and in the deli they bring me a sealed package for travel, and the Hebrew National packaging is still on it. I have asked them if this is the same as what they serve in the restaurant, and every time they have said yes. The last time I did this was last year.

                      1. re: gutsofsteel

                        Thanks. Very interesting. Have you noticed the saltiness of which I speak?

                        Of course, rolling your own may not always be what it's cracked up to be. Sarge's makes its own pastrami, but I haven't found it to be as good in the past as 2nd Ave (the non salty version). It's a bit like delis on Long Island that announce "All baking done on premises". I never know whether to take it as an enticement or a threat.

                        1. re: FoodDabbler

                          I've posted before about my one experience with 2nd Ave.'s pastrami. No problem with saltiness; however, despite distinctly specifying "very fatty," what I got bore no evidence of any fat and was dry, dry, dry. So, I've sworn off pastrami there and now order the knoblewurst. Juicy and delicious! It's a deli meat not found in most delis. Sarge's doesn't have it. Katz's does, but 2nd Ave.'s is superior. The only other place I know that has excellent knoblewurst is the Mill Basin Deli, in Brooklyn.

                          2nd Ave. Deli photos with knoblewurst: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                          I've always loved the pastrami at Sarge's. A different style from Katz's, but just as delicious. However, last time we ordered delivery, despite my usual specific request for "very fatty," what they sent was anything but. Horrible! First time that's ever happened with delivery. Could be just a one-time mishap (I was going to say a fluke, but that didn't seem quite the right word to use when talking about deli lol) . But frankly, it was so awful, I ended up tossing most of it out and am hesitant about trying it again. Now, I'm wondering if, indeed, they are no longer curing their own pastrami.

                          http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                2. Within the last few weeks I've eaten the pastrami at Katz's (a few weeks ago), 2nd Ave, and Carnegie (both last week). Katz's is the clear winner, in my view. Ask for fatty. The 2nd Ave version last week was unpleasantly over-salty. Even the version at Carnegie was better.

                  Incidentally, I'd suggest straight pastrami on rye with mustard. A Reuben is overkill in more ways than one.

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

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: FoodDabbler

                    Food Dabbler... you'll probably think that I'm nuts, but I really do not like fatty pastrami or corned beef. As a matter of fact, I specifically request "lean" when I order. Zabar

                    1. re: Zabar

                      To each his/her own. As long as you don't ask for lean nuts when getting almonds, etc., you're not nuts. You *can* get leaner pastrami at Katz's, but it still might not be lean. I must try your Pastrami King one day. I've heard about it from other sources, as well.

                      1. re: FoodDabbler

                        "FoodDabbler"... I've got still another place for you to try. Once upon a time (about 25 years ago) I lived in Riverdale (the Bronx). I still go there a few times a year to visit one of my closest friends. Liebman's Deli is one of those old-fashioned neighborhood Jewish delicatessens that are a throw back to ancient times, when you and I were both young and brave. And, it's just a hop, skip and a jump up the West Side Highway to the Henry Hudson Parkway (232nd Street Exit) from Manhattan. Not only can you specify that you want your pastrami hand-cut, you can also taste their delicious Tongue Polynnaise. Here's a link to Liebmann's for your enjoyment:
                        http://www.liebmansdeli.com/

                        1. re: Zabar

                          Thank you. That does sound very interesting.

                          1. re: Zabar

                            Woops, I forgot to mention that the pastrami sandwich is still only $9.50, and, I'm definitely NOT into quibbling over a couple of bucks when I'm looking forward to eating a truly great sandwich
                            The "Tongue Polonnaise" is a little pricey @ $18.95, BUT, ooh la la, save up for it, because there aren't too many places left on the planet that still serve this tasty middle-european delicacy. Zabar

                            1. re: Zabar

                              Frankly, you're a problem. You pose too many anti-problems (i.e., good things to eat). I'm a fan of all tongues, including mine (the latter to eat with, not eat). For dinner I just ate tongue and tripe in chilli oil from Szechuan Gourmet.

                              -----
                              Szechuan Gourmet
                              21 W 39th St, New York, NY 10018

                    2. My top three choices for pastrami sammiches are:
                      Katz's
                      Sarges
                      2nd Ave Deli in that order.
                      You will have a hard time finding a great pastrami sammich in Manhattan for under $12. Splurge or split the sammich with a friend. They are huge!!

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                      Sarge's Delicatessen
                      548 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Motosport

                        Yes, good point - split one Katz's sandwich. They are indeed huge and then you'll be in your budget no problem.

                        1. re: gutsofsteel

                          I would never share mine. I eat the whole thing myself!

                        2. re: Motosport

                          Sarge's had a big fire back in November!! They will be back!!
                          We recently tried Pastrami Queen on the UES and
                          John Brown's Smokehouse in LIC.
                          Both fabulous but without the Katz's experience!!

                        3. Katz's
                          Seriously, ask for juicy, tip the server and dont lose your ticket. Pastrami on rye with mustard. Nothing else. Other places are very good, and it largely comes down to preference, but if you are coming from out of town, this is the place to start IMHO.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: AdamD

                            I don't go to NYC without getting a pastrami with mustard on rye at Katz's. It's a life changing pastrami sandwich.

                            1. re: kimfair1

                              I prefer Pastrami on rye with a bit of mustard on one side of the bread, russian on the other, and cole slaw. Really good, give it a try if you haven't yet.

                              1. re: michele cindy

                                I will do that with run of the mill pastrami from a typical deli, but not with Katz's.

                                1. re: michele cindy

                                  @ michelecindy: That's exactly how I like it.

                              2. re: AdamD

                                My vote is for the pastrami on club (not rye) at Katz's. Much better than the rye.
                                Also, remember to ask for the pickled tomatoes. You don't usually get them unless you ask.

                                Final hint: Avoid the long cash only register at the front of Katz's. Pay with credit card at the takeout counter in the back.

                              3. Forget the $. Go to Katz's for pastrami. Do not go to the 'service' section. Walk up and place your order and sit down.

                                Skip Carnegie.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: bigB123

                                  Agreed. Spend the $$$$ for a whole pastrami at Katz's. You will not regret it.

                                2. Miles End smoked meat sandwich. I've found no equal for a hand carved, and house cured and cooked sandwich.They use pretty good bread too.

                                  How does one get a pastrami sandwich under $12 at Katz's, Sarge's or 2nd Ave. anyway?

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: sugartoof

                                    Many of the replies upthread acknowledge that Katz's (etc.) cost more, but advise the OP to shell out the extra money, anyway (or split a sandwich).

                                  2. The best pastrami sammich experience is Katz's. The sammiches are great and you can't beat the ambience. Don't get waiter service. Enjoy the counterman interaction.
                                    I am always reluctant to call anything "best" since there are so many variables. My Manhattan pics for Pastrami sammiches are:
                                    Katz's
                                    Sarge's
                                    2nd Ave deli
                                    All great. All a little different.

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

                                    Sarge's Delicatessen
                                    548 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016

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

                                    Second Avenue Deli
                                    1442 1st Ave, New York, NY 10021

                                    1. Nobody has suggested This Little Piggy, which is the obvious answer for anyone on a budget. It is half the price of Katz's, and cheaper than just about all the options suggested here. More importantly, it's worth comparison with Katz's. Just be sure to get the coleslaw on the side, otherwise it's a soggy sandwich.

                                      -----
                                      This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef
                                      149 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Wilfrid

                                        Interesting suggestion. Reminds me I've been curious about them even though I've given up on their pizza places. The seating situation always throws me.

                                        1. re: Wilfrid

                                          In what sense, if I may ask, is it worth comparing to Katz's? Is it handcut, somewhat thickly? Is it as meltingly tender? I trust your judgement, but should I race down tomorrow to 149 1st?

                                        2. As you can probably tell from the replies, Katz is by far still the best. Yes the sandwiches are a bit smaller than before, and more expensive but it's still after all these years, worth it.

                                          1. I like the pastrami at Arties on the upper west side

                                            -----
                                            Artie's Delicatessen
                                            2290 Broadway, New York, NY 10024

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: plf515

                                              plf515: I haven't been back to Artie's in many months, when I ordered my usual pastrami sandwich and then waited hungrily for the bucket of sour pickles & cole slaw....which never arrived until we had to ask the surly waiter for them. We concluded (with no other evidence) that this was a sign Artie's was cutting back - that they would only serve the extras to people who asked for them. Assuming you've been there recently, can you tell me if it was just a bad night at Artie's?

                                              -----
                                              Artie's Delicatessen
                                              2290 Broadway, New York, NY 10024

                                              1. re: boredough

                                                we were just at artie's 2 nights ago (sept 14) and we got the pickles and cole slaw without prompting. maybe it was just an oversight.

                                                1. re: boredough

                                                  I've never had that happen at Artie's. But I order delivery from there more often than I eat in.

                                                  I wish they (and other delis) would ask what sort of pickles you like (full sour please! for me) but that's a different issue.

                                              2. If you don't mind traveling out of Manhattan I would recommend David's Brisket House. It's right there as you exit the A train at Nostrand Avenue. A $9 regular pastrami will see you right. No lines, no attitude, no weird ticket system (a la Katz's).

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: jewelin

                                                  What is so wrong with a ticket system?

                                                  1. re: jewelin

                                                    I like that unique ticket system!!! Whenever I reccomend Katz's to visitors to NYC they rave about the old time NYC experience. I hope they never give up the ticket system and the New York attitude!!!

                                                  2. Try Junior's in Times Square for an authentic, perfectly spiced and tender pastrami sandwich without the drama of Katz's. I have tried every deli in the Northeast and can say now, without hesitation, that Junior's is the best. The Kibitz Room in Cherry Hill is the second best and Katz's is third.

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: MitchellKWeinberg

                                                      Times Square specifically, over the Brooklyn location?

                                                      1. re: MitchellKWeinberg

                                                        I was dragged to that location of Junior's a few years ago, and they couldn't even make a decent roast beef sandwich - it was spoiled, and I sent it back and got a turkey sandwich, which they didn't ruin. I hope they've upgraded their quality control, but the idea that their pastrami could be better than Katz's is pretty shocking to me.

                                                        1. re: MitchellKWeinberg

                                                          While Kibitz was a nice place, the meat was machine cut, l dealbreaker for me.

                                                          1. re: MitchellKWeinberg

                                                            I've been a Junior's fan since 1955!!! I do like the drama of Katz's too!!

                                                          2. See what Mario Batali has to say about the best pastrami sandwich.
                                                            http://beta.abc.go.com/shows/the-chew...

                                                            ( after the link you may have to click on Mario at Katz's
                                                            )good video

                                                            1. Try Katz's, open your wallet let the moths fly out. Then try Katz's. Take a look at the video provided by the foodwhisperer. Go to Katz's. Some opinions are of more value than others so go to Katz's. Sure personal tastes are different but overwhelmingly for the "real stuff" it is Katz's.

                                                              1. There used to be a lot of places from which to choose - nowadays it is only Katz. Period. Hands down. No discussion.
                                                                BTW... I don't know how much you can chow down in one sitting, but I usually go and buy a loaf of Jewish rye and some hot mustard at a market (cheaper than if buying it at the deli) and then order a hot pastrami on rye with hot mustard with a 1/2 soured dill pickle - and take it home and make 15 sandwiches out of it with the bread I bought :)

                                                                26 Replies
                                                                1. re: acssss

                                                                  My cousin Leo used to do that!!!!!!!!

                                                                  1. re: Motosport

                                                                    It has been a tradition in our family for generations!

                                                                  2. re: acssss

                                                                    You've had the smoked meat sandwich at Mile End?

                                                                    1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                      I did actually and they are excellent as well! In fact, I hope others follow in their footsteps and the tradition of Jewish Delis are brought back into style in NYC!

                                                                      1. re: acssss

                                                                        Glad you made it. I think the smoked meat sandwich is a bit different than pastrami - I'd call it a first cousin - but it's very good in it's own right.

                                                                        The Manhattan branch of Mile End is now serving pastrami as well as smoked meat. I'll be interested in trying them side by side.

                                                                        1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                          do they have the lamb sausage back? i think the facility where they made them was damaged by sandy and i havent seen it back on the BK locations menu. love their smoked meat but it was the lamb sausage with eggplant puree and harissa that i could taste in my dreams.

                                                                          1. re: tex.s.toast

                                                                            I didn't specifically look for the lamb sausage on the menu when I passed by last Saturday - I just noticed the pastrami which is a new item.

                                                                            I downloaded one of their menus earlier this week and the lamb sausage is listed. The menu was created on May 1st so that's a promising sign. To be sure they have it I'd call them before I made a special trip.

                                                                            1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                              i see it on the noho menu posted online currently. its a little less convenient for me than the boerum hill location, but i may have to stop by and see if i can get it outside-the-bun (they served it straight up, not as a sandwich, at the hoyt store).

                                                                    2. re: acssss

                                                                      l used to be a Katz's-only guy, but l think David's Brisket House in Bay Ridge really does equal it, and is much less expensive.

                                                                      1. re: howdini

                                                                        A strong second to David's. That picture below is *half* of one of their pastrami sandwiches.

                                                                         
                                                                        1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                          Oh yeah! l've only had the pastrami; l had a couple of bites of my son's brisket sandwich, which was delicious, too. l'll have to order that the next time l go. And such a lovely neighborhood! Walking the sandwich off afterwards around there is part of the pleasure.

                                                                          Have you met Sinbad, the owner? Super nice guy, and the type of piece-of-work that can only be built by NYC.

                                                                          1. re: howdini

                                                                            Yes, I've met Sindad. As you said, he's a great guy. I've liked all their staff very much.

                                                                            Here's another picture from the Bed Stuy location -

                                                                             
                                                                        2. re: howdini

                                                                          I love that area of Brooklyn - it has changed so much for the better over the years. Really remarkable! I've never been to David's, however, I like my Pastrami warm and very very thin cut - the pic looks like it is cut Texas BBQ style. I am open minded and will try them though with no preconceptions :)

                                                                          1. re: acssss

                                                                            Does Katz's cut it very, very thin for you, on request?

                                                                            This looked about the same as Katz's or Mile End to me.

                                                                            1. re: sugartoof

                                                                              Katz's is hand cut. I give the counterman a $1 tip and they do their best to cut to order.

                                                                              1. re: Motosport

                                                                                $1?? I've been over tipping :) - although they always give me an extra pickle (and in NY that says somethin'!)

                                                                                1. re: Motosport

                                                                                  Right, right, the tipping myth, and of course Katz's hand cuts which is why I'm still curious how they do with the "very, very thin" request.

                                                                                  1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                    Are you kidding? It's a cinch with pastrami - try going to Zabar's and watch them hand cut the lox!! Now that's what I call a professional cutter!

                                                                                    1. re: acssss

                                                                                      I guess you're not looking for deli slicer thin.

                                                                                      1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                        Pastrami queen gives you the option of hand or machine cut. They will also "supersize" the sammich at no charge. They use another word for that but I can not remember what it is.

                                                                                        1. re: Motosport

                                                                                          "Dino-size" that's what they call it!!

                                                                                          1. re: acssss

                                                                                            They're cutting you a slice by hand that's thinner than a deli slicer? So the pastrami looks like porsciutto?

                                                                                            1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                              I was referring to the lox - at Zabar's - that's what you replied to. The pastrami is a thin sliced Pastrami (maybe more like #2 or #3 deli sliced). Done.

                                                                                              1. re: acssss

                                                                                                I didn't have any questions about slicing lox.

                                                                                                Anyway, glad Katz's accommodates you to your liking. David's doesn't look too far from the standard Katz's slicing but I haven't seen it in person to know.

                                                                            2. re: acssss

                                                                              Good suggestion, never thought of it.

                                                                            3. The best pastrami is Langer's in LA! ;)

                                                                              11 Replies
                                                                                1. re: OliverB

                                                                                  God knows it is not me, loathed it two times as did the total of 6 people from the east with me on two trips.
                                                                                  Damn am l this difficult ?

                                                                                  1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                                    I'm a native East Coaster who grew up on Schwartz's and Katz's and I still think Langer's is the best there is anywhere.

                                                                                    1. re: OliverB

                                                                                      I searched their site and they deliver Pastrami on Rye - next day Fed Ex! I'll try it and report back!

                                                                                  2. re: OliverB

                                                                                    My love of a Pastrami sandwich isn't just in the meat or the bread - but the fact that it takes me back to a period in my life when I'd go with my Dad and Granddad and siblings to eat Pastrami on Rye and it was an experience - and not just the sandwich. The entire street smelled of Pastrami, Hot Bagels, and Dill pickles and the sounds coming from the Deli I am sure can not be duplicated in L.A. by any means. Every time I order one now - the first bite of the sandwich takes me back and nothing other that a NY deli can do that for me :)

                                                                                    1. re: acssss

                                                                                      You can never top personal nostalgia, but there were/are a lot of other regions with great deli traditions.

                                                                                      1. re: acssss

                                                                                        There's a famous book, "Remembrance of Things Past", by the French author Proust where he eats a madeline (a type of cake) which causes him to remember all sorts of things from his past.

                                                                                        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_Searc...

                                                                                      2. re: OliverB

                                                                                        I am a native East Coaster who grew up on Schwartz's and Katz's and I still think THEY are among the best anywhere. Langer's in LA is a good attempt at the sandwich but without a soul one might require to complete the experience.

                                                                                        1. re: OliverB

                                                                                          Langer's is decent. Katz's, in the current era, is no more than decent.
                                                                                          The only great pastrami I've had in the last 5 years is at Kenny and Zuke's Deli on Stark street in Portland. 2 Brooklyn guys who do it right. Nothing else is even in the same league.

                                                                                          1. re: strangemd

                                                                                            Portland Oregon or Maine or??????????????

                                                                                            1. re: Motosport

                                                                                              Oregon.
                                                                                              The place is a revelation. And the guys will talk your ear off about their spice rub and smoking techniques.

                                                                                        2. In the risk of proclaiming that the emperor has no clothes, I had a pastrami sandwich at Goodmans Restaurant & Deli at 400 Springfield Avenue in Berkely Heights, New Jersey today that was as good or better than the last one I had at Katz's(at $9.50).

                                                                                          1. There is no question that Katz's is one of the only places to get authentic pastrami that tastes exactly as it did years ago. I would also agree that hand cut pastrami is better than machine carved pastrami. With that said, Junior's was far superior to any of the other places mentioned except for David's Brisket House. For any you who like Mile End, please travel to Montreal and go to either Schwartz's or the Main Delicatessen across the street. As a native Montrealer, I had hoped that Mile End would be good. I have tried it three times and have been grossly disappointed all three times. I wish them well, but wish that they would create something closer to the original rather than the tiny servings of very mediocre smoked brisket and spices that they serve for a ridiculous price.

                                                                                            19 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: MitchellKWeinberg

                                                                                              MIle End is a few bucks cheaper than Katz's, with a bigger sandwich. Hmm, maybe they're scaling back portions.

                                                                                              It's interesting to read all the love Junior's is getting for pastrami all of a sudden.

                                                                                              1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                                i think mile end is pretty good. no, not as good as schwartz's, and not nearly as good as katz's (not quite apples to oranges, but maybe granny smiths to fujis).

                                                                                                have found mile end sandwiches to be about three-quarters the size of katz's, but these are individual creations, so we could all be getting differently sized offerings.

                                                                                                1. re: debinqueens

                                                                                                  I've been reading about Mile End here for a couple of weeks now, so today I went down there to check it out. I told them I was a first time customer and wanted to try out their smoked meat and pastrami and if they would make me a sandwich, one side smoked meat and the other side pastrami. The nice young girl taking the order said they only had the pastrami preportioned or something so she couldn't do that. So I ordered 1/4 lb of smoked meat and 1/4 lb of pastrami to go which she was glad to do. As soon as I got outside and into my car, I opened up the boxes. The smoked meat was freshly hand cut, warm and moist and tasted pretty good. A little different from pastrami, not quite as spicy, but good. The pastrami though was thinly sliced and refrigerated. If I had to guess I would say they didn't make the pastrami themselves but instead bought it elsewhere. Just a guess....I might be wrong.

                                                                                                  So to sum it all up...If you haven't tried Montreal style smoked meat, give Mile End a shot. But for pastrami, and since it's only a few blocks away, Katz's still rules.

                                                                                                  1. re: mikegre

                                                                                                    You said the pastrami was "thinly sliced and refrigerated." Could you tell us what it tasted like?

                                                                                                    As for the smoked meat, they don't make it on site. They have an off site kitchen in Red Hook Brooklyn where they make it. Then it's steamed at the restaurant before being served. It appears they had some ready when they served it to you.

                                                                                                    Given their standard prep techniques, to me it isn't certain that they don't make their pastrami, only that the sample they gave you wasn't steamed first.

                                                                                                    1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                                      You might be right, Bob. I'm just saying the pastrami I got was good but, in my opinion, it wasn't as good as the pastrami from Katz's. It could also have been because Mile High didn't steam the portion they gave me.

                                                                                                      As far as making it themselves, doing it on site or off site is immaterial. As long as they make it themselves and don't buy it from some purveyor like Boar's Head, that's what's important. And you can tell they make the smoked meat themselves. Again, if you haven't tried their smoked meat, you should.

                                                                                                      Next time I go there, I'm going to try their hash. I love hash and hope theirs is chunky.

                                                                                              2. re: MitchellKWeinberg

                                                                                                Junior's rocks!!! You can finish off the meal with a nice slice of their fabulous strawberry cheese pie!!!!

                                                                                                1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                  Which location of Junior's are you touting, though? Mitchell touted the Times Square location above.

                                                                                                  1. re: Pan

                                                                                                    I've been going to the Brooklyn location since the 50's but we enjoy the Times Sq and Grand Central places too!

                                                                                                    1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                      Juniors???? OK, gotta try that and Pastrami Queen on the UES... Open mind...

                                                                                                      1. re: dyrewolf

                                                                                                        @ Pastrami Queen ask for hand cut and juicy not lean. If you are really hungry ask them to "Dino" size it for no extra charge.
                                                                                                        They also have some excellent home made knishes.

                                                                                                        1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                          if I get it juicy will it need less mayo? Or make the white bread soggy? (ha)

                                                                                                          1. re: dyrewolf

                                                                                                            Very, very funny!! Barry Farber is turning over in his grave laughing!!
                                                                                                            If you don't know who Barry is I'll fill you in.

                                                                                                              1. re: acssss

                                                                                                                Sarcasm.... (white bread is an equal sin)

                                                                                                                1. re: dyrewolf

                                                                                                                  I got the sarcasm the first time - instead of the ?, I should have put an ;)
                                                                                                                  and I agree with everything you said

                                                                                                        2. re: Motosport

                                                                                                          I started going to the Brooklyn Junior's since the 50's also. (As a kid I worked in my Dad's record shop next to the Fox Theater.) At the time I only ate their corned beef on twin rolls. Pastrami was too exotic for me. Or I would order the cheeseburger, I think they called it the letter "D". My all-time favorite though was their turkey croquettes...with the mushroom gravy. Boy, what I'd do to have that again. It's no longer on the menu.

                                                                                                          I haven't been to their Times Square location but, speaking of Times Square, do you remember Arthur Maisel's "Californian"? And their curly fries? As a kid, I thought going there was the height of worldly sophistication.

                                                                                                          1. re: mikegre

                                                                                                            Was Arthur Maisel's in Manhattan? Don't know it. I'm a Brooklyn boy didn't get to Manhattan much.
                                                                                                            We went to Prospect Park and celebrated New Years at Grand Army Plaza with Marty M and his crew. After the midnight fireworks we walked down Flatbush Ave to Junior's and had our first meal of the New Year. Shared a Pastrami on rye, egg cream and a nice piece of strawberry cheese pie!! What a way to start the new year!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                                                                            1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                              I'm not sure who Marty M was. But I do remember Murray the K.

                                                                                                              1. re: mikegre

                                                                                                                Marty Markowitz the Brooklyn borough president!!

                                                                                                  2. I love this thread. It is what I love about food in general and what I love about NYC in particular - and what I love about NYers. Who else is so passionate about their food? This thread is what food is all about and what CH should be all about. The connection between food, childhood memories and the city in which they are found. Nothing in the world makes me feel more wonderful than taking my kids to where my parents used to take me and where their parents used to take them. It connects the generations. It connects the people of the city. Who knew a Pastrami sandwich could make someone feel so alive! sarahdowni - who will be traveling to NYC for her birthday - by the way, Happy Birthday Sarah - must be utterly confused as to where to get the best pastrami sandwich, but more importantly, this thread may wither away... I think we should start a new thread. Instead of "Remembrance of things past", as mikegre indicated in his comment, "Remembrance of NYC past - restaurants you went to as a child." Someone think of something good!