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Katz's sandwiches have definitely gotten smaller?

The corn beef sandwiches have diminish in size. Every time I go they seem smaller and smaller.

Has anyone else experienced the same thing?

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  1. If that's true, then I, for one, would consider that a good thing.

    It's a sandwich, not a feeble attempt at curing world hunger.

    26 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      A normal person who is not a fashion model is perfectly capable of finishing a Katz's sandwich. Granted that if you have one at lunch it would probably be good to have a light dinner. If you have one for dinner it would make sense to skip lunch.

      But too big? If you plan properly, it's no problem at all.

      1. re: Bob Martinez

        When you share a Knish and maybe an order of fries it is definitely a meal for two.

        1. re: Bob Martinez

          Thank you. The folks on the jewish deli post were complaining that the sandwiches were too large. Is that a reason to abolish a wonderful institution with great food? If you can't finish it, take home half is a solution too!

        2. re: ipsedixit

          Bigger issue is when said sandwich makes for a feeble attempt at providing for a single full meal despite it's reputation as a monster.

          1. re: sugartoof

            perhaps my capacity isn't what it once was. 12 ounces of red meat in one sitting is more than enough for me -- which is why i rarely stack two burgers at donovan's (my go to burger place) or four dogs at crif et al. my glitch, i guess.

            1. re: debinqueens

              I'd agree, 12 ounces should be fine, I just don't think they're giving that much meat at Katz's.

              I have had sandwiches at Miles End and Defonte's that I ate over the span of multiple meals though.

              (Also agree with you, there's no wrong or right here, just different experiences & preferences)

            2. re: sugartoof

              So who's right? Ipsedixit says that the sandwiches are way too big for a normal person to finish and you say they're undersized.

              Both things can't be true.

              1. re: Bob Martinez

                sure they can, bob.

                look at your typical steak house. some people can sit down and easily polish off a 24 ounce-- give or take -- porterhouse, with potatoes, salad, bread, beer. others will be stuffed after eating the 'ladies cut' (groan) filet, weighing in at eight or nine ounces.

                neither one is right or wrong. it's a matter of what one can finish.

                1. re: debinqueens

                  I was trying to restore a little balance to the discussion. These "too big" vs "too small" discussions really don't get us anywhere. I'd rather focus on whether something is good or not.

                  Both Mile End and Katz's are good (although in a different way.) So is David's. (I think you've got a car. Head out to the Bay Ridge location some Saturday. Pair it up with some shopping at the nearby Century 21 - it's so much nicer than the Manhattan branch.)

                2. re: Bob Martinez

                  It's just a food discussion, Bob. Not conclusive science.

                  1. re: Bob Martinez

                    Exactly. How can an ace be a one AND an eleven? What kind of god would allow that?

                    1. re: monkeyrotica

                      ...or allow that poor excuse for a rye bread. It happens.

                      1. re: sugartoof

                        And yet Katz's is packed with people ordering pastrami on rye.

                        I do agree with you that better bread would greatly improve the sandwich. The fact that the teeming multitudes don't seem to care leads me to believe they don't share our concern.

                        1. re: Bob Martinez

                          I suspect they've done the math and determined that the teeming multitude isn't willing to pay more money for better quality bread. And I don't really mind them cutting portion size OR jacking the price up. It's just when eateries do both is when you start aggrivating customers. Still, plenty of people seem happy to blow lots of money on tapas and "small plates" because they're not interested in getting filled up.

                          1. re: Bob Martinez

                            Get it on "club". Much better than the low quality rye bread they use. They do charge extra, but it is worth it.

                            1. re: RichardMW

                              The rolls aren't exactly top quality either.

                              And for purists it fails to be the classic on a Rye.

                              1. re: sugartoof

                                Katz's is so successful, they would be foolish to change anything.

                                1. re: foodwhisperer

                                  Right, why compromise success by returning to a quality product?

                                  Let us know when they start using real Rye bread again.

                                  1. re: sugartoof

                                    Again? I had my first sandwich at Katz's over 60 years ago and they were using the same spongy rye bread then (and the same rubbery club). Do you really remember it being different?

                                    1. re: bobjbkln

                                      Still my favorite pastrami sammich. Pastrami Queen a close second (ask for hand cut) now that Sarge's is gone.

                                      1. re: bobjbkln

                                        You're saying they haven't served a proper Pastrami on Rye on actual Rye in 60 years?

                                        I wanted to give Katz's more credit than that.

                                        1. re: bobjbkln

                                          They used to get rye bread from FINK, they don't now. So, therefore their rye bread has changed.
                                          Sugartoof: you are correct in that they should use better rye bread even if they are successful. Perhaps if enough people complain about it they will improve that. From a business perspective, I doubt if they see anything wrong , since they are doing more business now than they have ever done. I once gave them advice to use smaller slices of rye bread and the pile of meat will look bigger but they will be actually saving. They didn't take my advice. I can only eat half a sandwich and a soup, that's plenty for me.
                                          Anyway, maybe Orwasher's should give Katz's a call and a good deal.

                                          1. re: foodwhisperer

                                            I think Katz's profit margins are just fine, as they're already using optical illusions, and small bread.

                                            No need for us to go in circles though.... you're in the camp that thinks they serve monster sandwiches fit for two meals with a trucker appetite, and I'm of the opinion that it's barely enough for a single overpriced meal with a normal appetite.

                                            1. re: foodwhisperer

                                              Yes but Fink's still came in long loaves in the wax paper wrapping like it's replacement. It was no better, spongy and with a soft crust, even if it had a name on the wax wrapper.

                                              1. re: bobjbkln

                                                Yep Fink's came in that wax paper. I think it was better rye than present, But I don't think it was as good as Orwasher's or other high quality rye.

                                                1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                  As for the debate on the quality of the bread:
                                                  I stopped by John Brown's Smokehouse in LIC for the first time yesterday. The pastrami was magnificent, hand cut, juicy and seasoned perfectly.
                                                  BUT: No rye bread!!! I had a choice of Texas Toast or a roll.
                                                  I am guessing this is because it's a Southern style BBQ place. No Levy's Jewish Rye in the deep south.

                      2. They have been shrinking bit by bit for years, but don't say that here-you get flamed. I think even Scientologists are less defensive than Katz's loyalists.

                        1 Reply
                        1. Katz's pastrami sammich getting smaller??? WTH?
                          That's like suggesting the pope might resign!!
                          Never happen!!

                          1. Well, there is a thread here on ch where folks are complaining about the size of the sandwiches at Jewish delis so this might make those guys happy!

                              1. re: iluvcookies

                                That just has to be next on his list!

                              2. Old joke: 'The food here is terrible.' "Yes, and such small portions!"

                                1. I've had the pastrami sandwich 3 times in the past 6 months and they were gigantic. So, no for me.

                                  1. My general expectation with jewish deli sandwiches is that if it costs $14 or less I can eat it at a single sitting, but if is $15 or more it should be substantial enough to take half home or share it.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Veggo

                                      I am a heaty eater and always split my pastrami sammich. Still big enough for 2!!

                                    2. they're definitely smaller than they were 20 or 25 years ago, but i haven't noticed any shrinkage in recent times. i still can't finish a whole one in one sitting.

                                            1. re: debinqueens

                                              Yup, makes no difference.
                                              The countermen are entertaining and will give you a sample and a great sammich regardless.
                                              I give them a buck. Why not?

                                        1. I'm gonna sound like a heretic, but what the hell. I've been up in montreal these past few days. Had smoked meat sandwiches twice. Good size sandwiches. Nothing one hungry person couldn't manage to eat. A hefty amount of meat and they were 7 bucks. I would much rather pay 7 bucks for a good size high quality sandwich than double for a sandwich that I have to take half home and then reheat later. If you want a sandwich to take home, buy one to take home. What kind of sandwich can you get for $7 in NYC? Boar's head? What accounts for the cost differential? I guess the tourists in NY will pay more than the tourist in Montreal. Need better mustard up here though.

                                          9 Replies
                                          1. re: Bkeats

                                            Papaya King inflation special:
                                            2 hot dogs and a soft drink for $3.99!! What a deal!!

                                            1. re: Bkeats

                                              Umm last I heard Katz makes their own pastrami? Not Boars head! Apples to oranges. I'm happy to pay double the price for the real thing.

                                              1. re: coll

                                                coll, I think you misunderstood Bkeats' post. It is comparing the price of house-made pastrami in Montreal vs. New York, not comparing house-made pastrami to Boar's Head.

                                                1. re: coll

                                                  What rrems said. If you've never been to Montreal I can see why you missed my point. There is a tradition of Jewish deli sandwiches here that is as fervent as any in NY. The quality of the meat is outstanding. That's why one of the newest most acclaimed delis in NYC is called Mile End. It's based on the stuff you find in Montreal. I'm just amazed by the fact that I can get a sandwich for 7 bucks that's so good. I wish Mile End would sell their smoked meat sandwich for $7 along with a $6 poutine. Need to get some more before I head back home.

                                                  1. re: Bkeats

                                                    Sorry I've been to Montreal but not for the Jewish food unfortunately! Now I know.

                                                    1. re: Bkeats

                                                      Complaining about the prices of things in New York is like complaining about the weather. And likely to be just as useful.

                                                      The original branch of Mile End opened in Brooklyn three years ago. That's when I tried it. The sandwich is very good. Is it *better* than Katz's? They're different enough so I don't think direct comparisons can be made. I like them both.

                                                      My personal favorite sandwich place right now is David's Brisket House. There are 2 locations - one in Bed Stuy and a new one in Bay Ridge. I think the quality of their pastrami is comparable to Katz's and the prices are considerably less. Their medium pastrami sandwich is slightly larger than Katz's and at $10, 6 bucks cheaper.

                                                      Their large pastrami, at $13, is about 30% bigger than Katz's. Eating one of these beauties is something that requires planning and preparation. I eat lightly for 2 days before I go so I can do it justice. It's wonderful.





                                                      Their website - http://www.davidsbriskethouseinc.com/

                                                      1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                        david's is wonderful. have not been to the new location yet, but the original has great pastrami (and brisket). i appreciate the two size options, and the less-hectic vibe, which allows for more conversation as to how you like your meat.

                                                        and i agree about pricing, although stunt pricing -- your crazy $75 dover sole or $30 dumplings -- always cracks me up.

                                                        1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                          I had the Mile End Reuben yesterday and it was delicious. It was also small, in fact I would describe it as tiny. With fries a drink and pickle is was a full meal. Most importantly it was delicious. I agree with you Bob, it is different then Katz's. Two differnet animals,both are awesome. For what its worth,I still love Katz's, and the sandwich is slightly smaller and still to big for mere mortals.

                                                          1. re: stuartlafonda

                                                            Tiny? Hmm. I wonder if they're cutting down on portion, or using the Katz's scale of "gigantic" now.

                                                            Was this the Manhattan location?

                                                  2. I replied but it went into cyberspace. So here we go again.
                                                    The sandwiches at the counter, where a $1 or $2 tip would get you 50% more have diminished in size.Management has cracked down on the counter guys giving away too much.
                                                    The sandwiches with waitress service have remained the same. I believe the amount of meat they give is supposed to be 8 oz. per sandwich. I prefer to get 1/2 a sandwich and a soup.

                                                    7 Replies
                                                    1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                      "The sandwiches at the counter, where a $1 or $2 tip would get you 50%"

                                                      This is just a myth. The tip does not affect the size of the sandwich. It might have 20 years ago, maybe, but this hasn't been the case since the mid 90's since I've been going. Those cutters are on auto-pilot, especially on the weekends.

                                                      1. re: kurtt

                                                        It was no myth. It was a fact, that it was the best buck spent in NYC. You'd get much much more meat. As of about a year ago it's changed, since the ex-owners son is now the owner. He had tightened up on how much meat they give out. The counter guys were always supposed to weigh the meat, but never did, unless the manager was watching.
                                                        I won't argue the point, but the counter guys were not on "auto pilot".

                                                        1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                          Believers of the tipping myth probably never dared go and not tip to find out the truth. It was the same sandwich.

                                                          I've also watched the counter guys roll their eyes at the waving around of the dollar bill, tipping before ordering, and all the talk of making it juicy or fatty, or some other attempt to get a better sandwich than the guy in front of you. When it's crowded, they're barely tailoring anyone's sandwich.

                                                          1. re: sugartoof

                                                            +1. Tip or no tip, same whatever current fat content that's from the brisket that's currently on the cutting board, same amount of friggin' pastrami, same effin' sandwich,

                                                            1. re: sugartoof

                                                              Umm, there is a fattier end of a brisket and you should ask for it if you prefer it. That is no myth.

                                                              1. re: tpigeon

                                                                tpigeon - sure, depending on the brisket.
                                                                still, nothing to do with the tip.

                                                            2. re: foodwhisperer

                                                              I've lived 10 blocks away for the last decade. I've been going to Katz's for much longer. You could tip before or you could tip after they hand you the sandwich. It's the same size. I've done it both ways.

                                                              The meat has never been weighed.

                                                        2. Katz's sandwich looks slightly smaller, to my eye and stomach.