Katz’s Delicatessen

Katz’s Deli is a New York and an American Icon.  You don’t need me to tell you that, but I’m going to talk about it anyways.

I made it a point to eat at Katz’s Deli during my first trip to New York.  It feels like a rite of passage, I had to do it.  I showed up with a couple of friends at 2 or 3 pm for a late lunch and it was still pretty packed.  I guess it’s always crowded.  That would make sense.  Luckily, Katz’s Deli is larger than you would think and we were able to be seated quickly, but not before we took a ticket number for some reason.

I’m not really sure how their system works at Katz’s Deli, because obviously you could be seated and have a waitress and order from a menu, but you could also order at a counter and take your food to go or to a table yourself.  But however you choose to obtain your food, you have to take a ticket number, and return it on your way out.  I don’t understand it, but if that’s what it takes to have some corned beef and pastrami, then so be it.

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I had to get the Pastrami on Rye, right?  I had to.  I couldn’t live with myself if I got anything else.  It’s a classic.

Katz’s Deli naturally cures their pastrami and corned beef for 30 days and it is worth the wait.  While it may be a bit tough to get your mouth around at first, anything that falls out of the sandwich is just as good on its own with some mustard.  Maybe not When Harry Met Sally good, but few things are…

  • Fun little side story – We were almost seated at THE TABLE from When Harry Met Sally (there’s a commemorative plaque hanging over the table).  Instead, we were seated about where the camera was filming from.  Some things aren’t meant to be.

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In the spirit of culinary diversity, one of my friends ordered a Tuna Sandwich.  While she maintained that it was very good, I personally thought that it was entirely too much tuna. (confession: I just really wanted to link to that video.  I’m not sorry.)


Katz’s Deli is one of the very rare restaurants that lives up to its astronomical reputation.  I would say, if nothing else, go for just the experience, but the deli, sandwiches, and all other food is just as great, so I won’t say that; go for the experience AND the food.  Not that I ever questioned its legitimacy, but after going, it’s easy to understand why Katz’s Deli has become a New York City mainstay and an American icon.

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