There are enough ‘must eat’ restaurants in New York City to keep you going for months on end, so it’s hard to know how to whittle it down to the truly great ones, especially when you have limited time stateside. One place that comes up repeatedly as an unmissable is Katz’s Deli on the Lower East Side – also known as the place where Meg Ryan faked that orgasm in legendary rom com ‘When Harry Met Sally’.
Frequently cited on the New York tourist ‘top places to eat’ lists, I’m now ashamed to admit it took me five trips to the Big Apple to make it to Katz’s for one of their absolutely massive pastrami sandwiches. That was a mistake and I hold my hands up; this should be on everyone’s first time NYC hit list. I wasn’t even sure how I felt about pastrami until I went to Katz’s, and now I’m thinking about where I can get my next fix back in London; I have seen the light. Each sandwich is made to order in front of you at the counter, and they’ll give you a few slices of the beautiful red meat to try whilst they work to compile what has to be the biggest sandwich you’ve ever seen in front of your eyes – fitting that much meat between two relatively thin slices of rye is a feat in itself. I find that some of the ‘must eat’ dishes in New York can be faddy, but the pastrami on rye at Katz’ is anything but. From the first taste of that melt in your mouth meat I was a goner. It is hands down one of the best things I’ve eaten in NYC and certainly one of the best sandwiches of all time.
Considering the fact this place is by all means a (very large) deli and you’re being served up your food on a plastic tray, it’s not cheap. A pastrami on rye with mustard and pickles on the side will set you back around $25, but this is New York and honestly you and the big city will get on a lot better if you immediately anaesthetise yourself to the cost of everything from the moment the wheels of your Boeing 747 touch down at JFK. At least you get your monies worth; the obvious advantage of Katz’s sandwiches being so big means you can take the other half away to eat later – or go and split one with someone else. Either way, I’m reckoning Sally ordered the pastrami on rye, and you definitely want what she’s having.
205 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002