Katz Delicatessan is a traditional and quintessential New York experience. Lex’s friend and his (now) fiancé’ were in NY at the same time as us, so we decided to catch up with them for an early dinner. They are a beautiful couple and she lived in NY for quite some time so we took her suggestion of meeting up at Katz in the East Village. I’d heard about Katz before (it’s from the famous Meg Ryan scene in When Harry Met Sally) and it was on my list of must go to places in NY.
Lex and I got there a bit early at 3pm – we were meeting them at 4pm. We decided to head to a little bar and have a drink and some pickles whilst waiting. As we walked past Katz the line was absolutely huge – stretching down the street and around the block! The locals were walking past the line in disbelief too! One notable quote was from a guy who walked past on his mobile in sheer horror of the size of the line, “OMG, I gotta take a picture, I gotta put this online”. He then took a picture and joined the line. Lex and I repeated this quote quite a few times throughout the rest of the trip – it just kind of stuck with us!
To our relief when it was time to meet up with our friends an hour later the line was still sizeable but nowhere near as busy. Remember this was at 4pm – not even peak lunch or dinnertime! We figured if we went outside ‘normal’ times it might be a little less busy…wrong!
If you’re not familiar with the Deli it can seem a little over-whelming when you first go in as it’s very loud and busy– luckily we had a New Yorker there to help us! When you go inside it’s a bit of a fight for a table but thankfully us girls managed to grab one whilst we sent the boys to order. The tables are squashed and you feel packed in like a sardine, but in my opinion this added to the hustle and bustle of Katz and provided you with that authentically New York experience you hope for when coming here. I should mention that when you first walk in you get a ticket – its very important not to lose this ticket as its $50 if you do! There are a number of counters and you just choose the shortest line to join. You don’t pay at the counter – the server will mark your ticket and you pay at the end (hence the importance of not losing your ticket). There is also a separate drinks counter where a variety of soft drinks and alcoholic beverages are on offer.
What we ordered:
I ordered the salami sandwich and a plate of pickles. Lex went for the pastrami sandwich. If you do make the visit to Katz, I’d suggest counting this one meal as your breakfast, lunch and dinner! The sandwich was the biggest one I had ever seen. Between my two pieces of bread was what looked like about 30 pieces of salami! I don’t know about you but when I make a salami sandwich at home I put ONE piece of salami, sometimes two if I’m feeling cheeky. I actually had to take quite a few pieces out of mine, as it really was too much.
I can’t say Katz has the most technical and unique food creations (you literally just get meat between two pieces of bread), but what I think they do have is a great attention to detail and place a significant amount of care into the preparation of their meat. The meat is full of flavour and after a quick read of their website, I now realise why.
“Our corned beef and pastrami is cured using a slower method, which best flavors the meat, without injecting chemicals, water, or other additives to speed the process. Our finished product can take up to a full 30 days to cure, while commercially prepared corned beef is often pressure-injected (or “pumped”) to cure in 36 hours. Yep, you read that right. 30 days vs. 36 hours.”
It’s a method that obviously works for Katz and has helped them to firmly establish themselves as the quintessential New York Deli. I really do recommend a visit if you head to the Big Apple, as the experience was something I’ll never forget. Be warned though, it’s not a cheap eat, but really is one of those places where I think you pay for more than just the food. You pay for the atmosphere and experience.