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Jewish Deli sandwich and knishes for Saturday

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My daughter and I (ex NYers) are coming in by bus to go to the theater.this Saturday. We would love deli sandwiches for lunch. Bus lands at Church and Canal, theater is 45 and 7th.and there's only 2 hours to lunch and get to the theater. Please send recommendations and suggestions.Thanks!
Roberta

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  1. You should be able to do Katz's for the sandwiches and knish. It always has a crowd but it isn't too far from where the bus drops you (it is on Houston between 1st and Ave A, walk is 1.1 miles from intersection of Church and Canal per Google). Then after lunch hop on the F train at Houston and 2nd Ave to Rock Center (see the tree if you have time) and head for the theater. Do not attempt a cab from the lower east side, that could take FOREVER during Xmas lead up weekends

    5 Replies
    1. re: dyrewolf

      Katz's is the one and only choice!!! The lines move quickly. Get a pastrami sammich or a corned beef sammich. Ask for fatty/juicy!! One sammich will easily feed 2.
      Tip the counterman a buck and he'll give you a sample. Do not sit in the waiter section as you will miss the whole "counterman" experience.

      1. re: Motosport

        I third Katz's , it's not far from Church and Canal. Juicy fatty is best way for the corned beef and pastrami. If you or your daughter has an issue with fatty, they will make it "extra lean" having hardly any fat , upon your request. I like the round potato knishes better than the square ones, but they will try to talk to you out of them when you order. For some reason the counter guys are too lazy to heat the round ones up. But reluctantly they will. As far as cabs, I don't see a problem , if you avoid within a few blocks diameter of Rockefeller Center. Just hop on FDR drive at Houston St and stop cab around Lexington and 49th, you won't have much traffic.

        1. re: foodwhisperer

          Katz's really is the only choice. It's the best of what's left and in my opinion always was the best (except for the long gone Pastrami King in Kew Gardens)..Have a noblewurst on a club roll if you have room, an awesome crunchy knockwurst. Try a Cel-Ray soda with your pastrami for the full yiddishe' experience. I can't eat pastrami with out one!

          1. re: johnindabronx

            Katz's is the way to go. The pastrami sandwich is phenomenal, and totally lives up to the hype.

      2. re: dyrewolf

        Yes, of course Katz's is the obvious recommendation. Its precise location is the corner of Houston and Ludlow, though. 1st Av. and Av. A both start north of Houston, whereas Katz's is on the south side of Houston.

      3. Maybe you have tougher stomachs than I do, but I could not digest a deli sandwich on the run and then sit through a play. It will be about a 25 minute walk to Katz's from your bus drop-off, and you need to allow at least 40 minutes to get from Katz's to your theatre seat no matter whether you take a subway or a taxi. (You can't just assume a train or taxi will appear on command.)

        If you can eat fatty meat and a knish in under 55 minutes and then bolt, don't let me stop you, but I would prefer to eat where I could walk to the theater and skip the heartburn.

        2 Replies
        1. re: barberinibee

          It's just a matter of training... (and having some rolaids in my pocket for the theater) I have made it from the UWS at 72nd and Broadway in under 40 minutes, that is three trains... 2/3 to 42nd >> N/R to 34th >> F to Houston.. the F runs every 10 minutes on Saturday midday, ride from Houston to Rock Ctr is about 25 minutes per the schedule

          1. re: dyrewolf

            You've just confirmed why I wouldn't eat that far from the theater.

        2. I disagree. I never understood what was so special about Katz's, its seems like hype to me. The pastrami is very average, as are the hot dogs, and overpriced for the tourist trade. At least at 2d Ave Deli the quality seems a bit better for the money.

          23 Replies
          1. re: NYJewboy

            2 nd Av deli is good and now that Sarge's burned down it's our only Murray Hill choice for a good pastrami sammich. Sarge's has always been my #2 choice and being open 24/7 was a big plus!
            BUT: Katz's is an experience and I.M.H.O. the best by far.
            Catch a taxi and have them head uptown on 6th Ave. Get off at 45th street and walk to avoid the cross town theater traffic.

            1. re: NYJewboy

              I agree, NYJewboy. My two experiences there (first and last!) was disappointing, to say the least. I followed all the counterman commandments and it didn't seem to make any difference. Fortunately I had two other diners with me to verify my opinion.

              1. re: Stuartmc910

                Well, that is two less people in line in front of me and the rest of the mindless tourist horde

                1. re: dyrewolf

                  +1 !!!!!!!!!!

                  1. re: Motosport

                    You weren't impressed as well?

                    1. re: Stuartmc910

                      The post reads: re:dyrewolf
                      I love Katz's. It is an essential part of the "NY moment"
                      A fatty pastrami sammich on rye, knish and a Cel-Ray or egg cream should be a requirement for anyone visiting NYC!!

                      1. re: Motosport

                        Cel- Ray yuck - now you're losing me... I don't get that at all... tried it once... ick... (but I guess that is more Cel-ray for the other lovers. ha) I think Cel-ray is for those whose roots go back to Brooklyn, mine are in da bronx (actually father was from Orchard St then Bx)

                        and I prefer fries to the knish... heresy I know

                        1. re: Motosport

                          I like Cel-Ray and always have but I don't go anywhere in NY for "a NY experience" (maybe because I was born in NYC?) I don't need the countermen, the slang, the slogans. I just need good food.

                          Some people come to the Manhattan board looking for recs about place to go eat to feel a NY moment. Nothing wrong with that and I'm glad when advice gets labeled as such. But just as many people are looking for good eating, and they feel the NY moment without having it piled on.

                          1. re: barberinibee

                            Please chalk this up to a difference in taste. To many New Yorkers, Katz's pastrami is delicious. I don't know if there were other places when I was a little kid in the early 70s that were better (I remember having delicious pastrami at Pastrami King in Queens in the late 70s and probably early 80s), and I didn't like pastrami when I was that young, but Katz's is certainly the best I've had at least since the 80s.

                            1. re: Pan

                              Pan,

                              I wasn't speaking against Katz's pastrami in any way. I was speaking against recommending any place on the basis of sentimental schtick about a "NY moment" rather than the food. (And you can also chalk that up to a difference in taste about "NY moments.")

                              The original posters didn't ask for "pastrami sandwiches" (let alone "sammiches.") They asked for deli sandwiches. I wish I could still find in Manhattan a place that served tongue with chopped liver on a good rye. That's the deli sandwich I crave. (Or a really good egg salad.)

                              If I came to Chowhound looking for recs for a deli, I would hope to find a broader range of recs than just one place where pastrami is the only sandwich people recommend there. I'd also like some reassurance that it was the food, not the schtick, that was the basis of the recommendation. I'll also point out that Katz's is not Kosher in addition to being too far from the theater district to be digestible (my gut).

                              But maybe the OP will return with many alleluias and thanks for the recommendation of Katz's and will thrill to the challenge of getting from LES to their theatre seat after a fatty pastrami sammich. Just thought people were taking the occasion more to talk about themselves than answer the query.

                              1. re: barberinibee

                                2nd Av Deli has a wider range of good deli food, but it's definitely not a reasonable recommendation, under the circumstances. But Jewish doesn't have to mean kosher, and since 2nd Av. Deli is open on the Sabbath, its standard of kashrut is not acceptable to many Orthodox Jews, anyway.

                                1. re: Pan

                                  DId you think I was saying something about 2nd Ave Deli? I wasn't. Where did you get that idea from my posts?

                                  That said, I would have least have mentioned to the OP that Katz's wasn't Kosher, even though everybody knows that Jewish doesn't have to mean Kosher. I like to know. Maybe the OP couldn't care less.

                                  1. re: barberinibee

                                    My point is, the only decent full-service Jewish deli that I can think of in Manhattan is 2nd Av. Deli (especially since Sarge's is closed). So when you object to Katz's on the basis that their only really great thing is pastrami, face the fact that there is no real alternative.

                                  2. re: Pan

                                    People also might want to address the OP's request for knishes.

                                    1. re: barberinibee

                                      I don't know any place that has good knishes. If you do, please speak up.

                            2. re: Motosport

                              Despite the actual food selection, the phrase "fatty pastrami sammich" is an undeniable bright moment in this discussion.

                              1. re: Motosport

                                Swap the Cel-Ray for cream or black cherry Dr. Brown's. Everything else is perfect.

                        2. re: Stuartmc910

                          I've never been disappointed at Katz's... what did you order?

                        3. re: NYJewboy

                          2nd Ave Deli was excellent when it was on 2nd Ave. Now it pales in comparison to Katz's pastrami and corned beef and brisket. It is not even close. I do like 2nd ave Deli's egg barley and their pea soup. I used to like their lo mein, but they discontinued it. I will say , however, I have had a few bad cuts of meat at katz's on occasion. But 90% of the time it is amazing and for sure the best there is.
                          As far as other posters comments on Cel Ray soda. I get either Cream Soda or Cel Ray. Cel Ray is an acquired taste,,i hated it as a kid,,but now I have come to enjoy it.

                          1. re: foodwhisperer

                            Lo mein at 2nd Av. Deli? That sounds like a punch line for a lot of jokes!

                            1. re: Pan

                              Sounds funny but the chefs there were Chinese and the lo mein was really good

                            2. re: foodwhisperer

                              I loved Cel Ray as a kid, so there goes the "acquired taste" theory.

                            3. re: NYJewboy

                              agreed

                            4. While I also support the Katz's movement, two hours is just not enough time. Especially on weekends leading up to the holidays. In between the foot and road traffic and said road traffic being impeded by a lot of street construction, then dealing with the weekend lines at the deli: good luck! I would either pack something or perhaps go to 6th Ave (Ave.of Americas) & W.8th street and hit Gray's Papaya for a hot dogs and/or pizza. Even then, I recommend this very reluctantly because of the time factor.

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: David11238

                                I think the solution actually is to get pastrami sandwiches to go from Katz's and eat them (or maybe half of them) on the train while going up to the theater (though some passengers may object that you aren't supposed to be eating on the train, so it's a personal decision).

                                1. re: Pan

                                  You still have to deal with heavy traffic and then wait on two long lines. One for the sandwiches, the other to pay the check. Not worth it, IMO. Go after the show. Actually, Roberta, where is the theater? I'm assuming it's in mid-town. Or is it close to the drop off point???

                                  1. re: David11238

                                    In the OP, theater location is given as 45th and 7th.

                                    1. re: iluvcookies

                                      Yes she did. Thank you for the heads up.

                                    2. re: David11238

                                      The line for sammiches and to pay are never that long and move fast. You will be in and out of Katz's in less than one hour.

                                      1. re: Motosport

                                        And the time it takes to get to Katz's and then up to Midtown combined with said lines? Especially with subways on weekend schedules and the traffic headaches? Not worth it. Katz's will still be open after the show ends. Go then.

                                        1. re: David11238

                                          On Saturday the F runs every 10 minutes and the ride is 25 or so minutes point to point so may of 34 minutes from the subway entrance to exit and possibly less depending in wait for the train. I would highly recommend over being above ground this weekend. Driving in Manhattan sucks in December.

                                          The lines in Katz's are no so bad at 1PM, they do get worse as the day goes on but at their worst it is 15 min for the sandwich and 2 minutes to pay.

                                          I have heard that there is more at Katz's than pastrami.. I wouldn't know as I've only had pastrami but people speak of this thing called knobblewurst (sounds like it is not my thing... prob a good match for Cel-Ray or Dr Browns cream soda (another staple I HATE)... put me down for a coke or a beer with my sandwich...

                                          Now a real NY experience would be to eat the sandwiches on the train (cause you can ride without holding on)... of course you might get mustart on your shirt....

                                2. I fall into the camp that is unimpressed by Katz's beyond the experience, but if you are looking for an old place serving a Pastrami sandwich, it's the best suggestion based on vicinity alone. I even endorse the Cel-Ray soda.

                                  You can follow up your mediocre deli with an equally mediocre knish down the block at Yonah Schimmel - then hop into a cab. It's probably a 30 minute ride by train to get midtown, but tack on another 10 to walk or transfer. The F train might get you close enough, but you probably need an N/R.

                                  The alternative is to take a taxi to Mile End on Bond St. and then you're not far from the N/R train.
                                  It's options are limited, but it's far superior.

                                  Another idea is Brinkley's, which isn't Jewish deli, but it's had write ups for their Reuben (I don't see it on the current online menu however). Delicatessen is another option, but again it's not a Jewish deli, or deli at all, it's a restaurant - but they have a couple tribute sandwiches and it's closer to the trains you need.

                                  Finally, there's always the reverse plan, where you head midtown right away for Carnegie Deli, and then take a short cab ride to the theater.

                                  Unfortunately, New York's Jewish delis are largely folklore at this point, and rarely worth shuffling a schedule over.

                                  12 Replies
                                  1. re: sugartoof

                                    Carnegie Deli! Ugh! They were good when Long John Nebel was on the radio.

                                    1. re: Motosport

                                      And the line at Carnegie on a December Saturday will not be a short one.

                                      1. re: iluvcookies

                                        But you will meet people from Omaha and DesMoines!!

                                        1. re: Motosport

                                          You think you're not eating with westerners at Katz's? Just the other day someone in Texas was asking me for restaurant recs for an upcoming visit to Manhattan, and they began by staying "We already know we have to eat at Katz's." Kid you not, and they were otherwise clueless about the city in every way.

                                          But if the deli food is good, who cares who the company is? (Not saying it is better at Carnegie Deli, just pointing out the priorities for some.)

                                          1. re: barberinibee

                                            They love brisket so much in Texas, I'm not surprised they know about Katz!

                                            1. re: coll

                                              Katz's is just a tourist destination for obvious reasons. When people visit and they think they're supposed to eat Deli and Pizza, and Katz's is the last remnant of a certain kind of classic old NY.

                                              I guess it ruins the fantasy to acknowledge it's filled with tourists, former New Yorkers reminiscing, and then some die hards who went out of their way to visit.

                                            2. re: barberinibee

                                              Motosport was being sarcastic...

                                              1. re: iluvcookies

                                                ..in a funny way, of course!

                                                1. re: coll

                                                  Yep... I got a chuckle because I know how true it is.
                                                  A few years ago, DH and I had dinner at Carnegie and, as usual, DH ordered a reuben for himself. The visitor at the next table (older gentleman who said he was from Nebraska) told DH that if he finished his entire sandwich, he would pay for it. Well, my husband can eat, so challenge accepted. About 3/4 of the way through, Mr. Visitor excused himself to use the men's room and did not return. Hubby and I laugh that one day we will run into another tourist at Carnegie and really get the sandwich for free!

                                                  1. re: iluvcookies

                                                    Ha, and they act like New Yorkers are the ones you can't trust!

                                        2. re: Motosport

                                          Right, not really an endorsement, just trying to offer constructive suggestions.

                                        3. re: sugartoof

                                          The F train goes to 47th-50th St. and 6th Av. That's close enough.

                                        4. I suggest you go to Kutsher's...it's a few short blocks from where the bus drops you off; make a reservation and tell them you only have an hour for lunch.

                                          You'll be able to have a nice pastrami sandwich and/or whatever else you want to eat. Then hop on the uptown Broadway local, which will drop you off at 42nd & Broadway. Less aggravation and stress.

                                          Kutsher's...http://kutsherstribeca.com/

                                          1. No one for knishes at Yonah Schimmel's (137 East Houston St) after sandwiches at Katz's? Maybe not enough time though. Theirs are some of the best knishes I've ever had.

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: Raquella

                                              Yonah Schimmel's is a NYC Icon. I like their knishes. Katz's square ones are from Gabella's like most NY Delis. The round ones are better. One can walk right by Yonah Schimmel's they are so "low key" it's amazing they are still in business, great knishes or not. I used to like Mrs. Stahl's in Brooklyn, but they are no longer around,,, Or Mom's , that they used to sell on the beach. Or the knish man with the salt shaker chained to his cart. 10 cents a knish back in the day. Those carts were the predecessors of food trucks. I think Chow Chow Cup was the first actual food truck, serving ChowMein in an edible cup made from a fried noodle.

                                              1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                Good to note that Yonah Schimmel's has a sit-own area. To match its unassuming exterior its very modest, just a few small tables & chairs. I wonder if it's because of their variety of knishes that's helped keep them solvent? I tried their broccoli knish recently and it was terrific, although my preference is potato.

                                                Foodwhisper, do you know anything about Knishery NYC? http://knisherynyc.blogspot.com/

                                                1. re: Raquella

                                                  They're ok - I believe its a guy pretty much working out of his apartment. They sell 'em at Malt & Mold, on East Broadway at Clinton St.

                                                  I like YS knishes better, but what I really like are the cocktail size knishes that they sell by the dozen.

                                                  1. re: mitchleeny

                                                    Cocktail size knishes from YS! That sure grabs my attention. I will have to try them. Thanks for the head's up!

                                                  2. re: Raquella

                                                    I never tried a Knishery Knish, but after looking at their website I really want to try these, especially the brisket knish

                                              2. Are you pressed for time after the theater? If not, why not grab a sandwich (felafel, Gyro, or whatever) or a pretztel on the street to tide you over until after the show?

                                                Then, post theater, if you have world enough and time, you can take your pick of whichever deli you want, at your leisure. I haven't been to the new 2nd Avenue deli since Mr. Lebewohl's tragic death, but I rarely get over to that neighborhood these days. If I had spare time after the theater, I might choose it, just out of curiousity.

                                                My 14 year old son likes both Katz's and the Carnegie, so we generally chooes one of those, depending on where we are, what we're doing, where we need to go, etc. Personally, I prefer Katz's: I like the hand sliced meat, the punch card tickets, and the memories it evokes of when I lived downtown. I even like tipping the counter man a dollar or two for the slices he gives us prior to making our sandwiches. I don't believe that actually influences the size of the sandwich, but I do think it's gotten me served ahead of other people not onto the game. Even if that's not true, I still like the whole experience.

                                                Cheers,

                                                MC

                                                1. .

                                                  1. happenings,

                                                    Hope you liked the show (and arrived in time for the first act). Where did you eat lunch today?

                                                    1. Happenings- where do you end up??