Ahh, Katz’s Deli . Where the famous fake orgasm scene took place from When Harry Met Sally. And more importantly, where you can kind some insanely giant pastrami sandwiches.
This is another one of those places, along with Shake Shack and Lombardi’s, that’s signature New York. When you walk in, there’s a very good chance that the place is going to be packed. It’s a little intense at first because you’re given a ticket that you have to hold onto until you exit because it tells the cashier at the exit how much to charge you. No ticket when you leave and you end up having to pay a certain set amount at the door (try $50). After you shuffle your way inside, you can either grab a seat at some of the tables designated for table service, or you can go up to the counters to order and get what you want right there and then.
We went the counter way since it seemed to be what most people were doing. When you order your pastrami sandwich (which really…isn’t that what you’re ordering?), they give you a little slice of the meat first to try and approve, just like wine at a fancy restaurant. Now I didn’t do this, but I think you’re supposed to tip the guys at the counter when they give you your order. I guess it makes sense seeing as you’re not going to have a waiter when you go and sit yourself and there was a place to leave tip, but I missed that memo in the hustle and bustle of the restaurant.
Fair warning, the sandwiches are pretty pricey. An order of the Katz’s pastrami comes out to about $17. Yeah, that’s a lot for a sandwich. But when you think that this photo is just HALF of one it makes it a little more understandable. Maybe? In any case, you get a ton of pastrami loaded between two slices of bread and a side of sour and dill pickles. I ordered half a Katz’s pastrami sandwich and a cup of matzo ball soup, a deal that ended up being around $15.
The sandwich was filling and hearty just like you would expect, but I have to say I wish the pastrami was a little more moist even though I appreciate the thick slices and the hefty serving. It was also the first time I ever tried matzo ball soup, which turns out I love. Katz’s markets the soup by saying, “If the soup weren’t surrounding it, this matzo ball would float away.” And the dumpling sure is huge! Perfectly doughy, it really holds up its texture in the midst of the delicious broth.
This is one of the places that you go to when you’re feeling a little touristy, or at least in the mood to deal with a lot of tourists, and ready to enjoy some New York history.
Katz’s pastrami sandwich and matzo ball soup
205 E Houston St
New York, NY 10002