NYC! Day 2: Katz’s Delicatessen


Outside the famous Katz's deli in New York City!
What? Katz’s for smoked meat sandwiches!
Where? 205 E Houston st (New York)
Price? $5-$20
The skinny: Having been around for over 100 years (opened in 1888), there is no doubt that Katz’s is doing it (very) right. It was established by a Russian immigrant family, smoking and pickling foods when refrigerators didn’t yet exist. Nowadays, the deli is always busy serving their famous pastrami & corned beef sandwiches to hungry customers!

The deli was featured on Man vs. Food and as soon as I saw them slicing the beef, I quickly noted Katz’s on my phone for future reference, thinking to myself, “one day I’ll come here.” Well that day’s today! :D

Having walked off most of our breakfast from Doughnut Plant, we decided it was about time we had lunch. We’ve all had Schwartz in Montreal so the comparison was inevitable, and I looked forward to it as well. When you first enter, you’re issued a yellow ticket; whatever you do, do NOT lose it! (You’ll be charged $50 if you do, I’ll explain later).
(Ps. I know this isn’t exactly the most tantalizing table talk, but for the ladies, expect to wait if you gotta go to the washroom. And on top of that, be prepared for the two tiniest stalls…I’m talking knees will be up against the stall door kind of deal. Ok, now onto more appealing things!)

It’s time to eat! Here, two of my friends ordered together. On the left is the Pastrami Sandwich and on the right, the Reuben. 
My friend struck up a conversation with one of the cutters about the various vegetables they pickle and got to sample some pickled tomatoes on top of the regular and half-sour pickles. I don’t quite remember the taste of the tomatoes but I really enjoyed the half-sours because they’re starting to get the sour taste but it’s still crunchy and refreshing.

And now a closer look at the Reuben; which you gotta have it in its birthplace, New York! In between two slices of rye, you’ll find pastrami, swiss cheese, sauerkraut and mustard. I had a bite of it. 
The combination of cheese and smoked meat is like climbing into bed with newly washed, amazingly smelling sheets—revering in a world of flavour that you didn’t know you were craving. And the kick from the Dijon? Superb. (The Reuben costs around $20)

As for me, I got the Pastrami Sandwich ($15.75). It looked kind of dry but you’ll find that it’s actually quite moist. The flavour is meaty, smokey, just what you’re looking for. The thick cut of the pastrami lets you savour it in all its glory. Very yummy. 

A little zoom in action on the Pastrami Sandwich. You get thick slices of smoked meat. Just beautiful. When you get meat & mustard at once, which is every bite, your palette and mouth cheers for more. :D Be warned though, you will be full very quickly and your wallet will take a punch

Corned Beef Sandwich ($15.25). My other friend ordered this with a slice of swiss in between. Or was it American? I forget. He enjoyed it. I mean what man wouldn’t enjoy meat? haha 

After all that eating, (I could only finish half of my sandwich; I saved the rest for possible late night cravings :D) it was now time to pay. Here’s where your yellow ticket comes in handy. When you order food, the cutter behind the counter takes your ticket and writes down your order. You simply line up in the “exiting” queue to pay your bill. 

Here’s one final photo of the deli. Can you believe that this establishment has been around for 123 years?! Few eateries in Toronto have that kind of history…

Now that our bellies are once again bursting with food, it was time to do some convenient sightseeing—meaning walk it off while looking around. haha Time to walk across Brooklyn Bridge! (or course we only crossed it to get to our next food destination but that’s besides the point!) ;)

Verdict? Katz vs. Schwartz? I prefer the latter as it’s a lot closer to home, cheaper, and the smoked meat is richer in terms of taste—smokier if you will. Still, we all had a great meal and really appreciated that the current owner, Alan Dell, took the time to come around every single table. It’s not everyday that you get to eat in a place with such history that’s also accessible to just about anyone. :D

4 out of 5 NOMs

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