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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.

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    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.

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          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!

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              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

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                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.

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                  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.

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