[New York] If you are looking for that one food place in NYC which is iconically “New York”, then Katz’s Delicatessen can be it.
It is the oldest deli in New York, and a legendary landmark in Lower East Side.
The diner is best known for its traditional sky-high hand-sliced Beef Pastrami Sandwiches, along with Hot Dogs, Corned Beef, Brisket, and Turkey.
Each week, thousands of visitors from around the world flock to Katz’s to dine in this legendary deli.
Some introduction: Katz’s Delicatessen is a family-run business born in New York’s Lower East Side, considered an inherent part of the city’s history and culture.
Established in 1888 as a deli called “Iceland brothers”, it became “Iceland & Katz” when Willy Katz arrived in 1903. In 1910, Willy’s cousin Benny joined him, bought out the Iceland brothers, and formed Katz’s Delicatessen.
After a series of change in ownership, it is now owned and managed by Jake Dell since 2009.
Upon walking in, I felt like I was inside a Hollywood set.
Of course movie buffs know that Katz’s Delicatessen as the restaurant where Meg Ryan’s famous fake orgasm scene in the movie When Harry Met Sally was filmed.
Katz’s delicatessen has that nostalgic feel in the air, with all the photos and memorabilia hanging on the entire stretch of the wall.
In the photos you’ll see Katz’s famous customers who dined in especially during the age of Yiddish theatre.
The old wooden tables and chairs that have been kept for years exude a charm of the past – ambience was fun, loud, and vibrant atmosphere of diners.
Ordering system can be confusing for first timers though.
Every diner gets a ticket upon enter the restaurant, and needs a ticket to leave.
It is VERY IMPORTANT not to lose your ticket or else you will have to pay a minimum of USD$50.00 for each lost ticket.
When ordering, remember that most of the deli is self-service. There are 4 counter stations: grill, cutter, side dishes, and back counter.
Be sure to be ready with your order when you’re next up in line, especially in one of the 7 the cutting station where all the sandwiches are served.
Once you have your food, find an open seat in the middle or rear of the restaurant. The front tables along the front wall are reserved for waiter service only.
Popular items in the menu include hot sandwiches like Katz’s Pastrami Hot Sandwich (USD$21.45, SGD$ 29.29), Katz’s Corned Beef Hot Sandwich (USD$20.45, SGD$ 27.93), Katz’s Brisket Hot Sandwich (USD$20.45, SGD$ 27.93), and the Turkey Hot Sandwich (USD$20.45, SGD$ 27.93).
Pickles are added as a side dish for free.
Just GET THE KATZ’S PASTRAMI.
When the server was cutting up the slices, I could already smell the fragrance. He told me to take one piece to try, and you should have just seen my face of delight and bliss.
There are only some food items I would describe as “life changing”, and this is one of them.
The beef was superbly tender and so-pleasantly warm, not fatty, sliced just right. Juicy and so well seasoned.
They use the best cuts of beef for their corned beef, pastrami, brisket, and other fine foods. Their pastrami and corned beef are cured using a slower method compared to commercially-prepared meats.
No chemicals, water or other additives are injected into the meat to speed up the process.
Instead, it takes them up to 30 days to cure the meats compared to 36 hours for the commercially-prepared meats.
Another unique item in their menu (though not as popular) is their meat-free Cheese Sandwich ($11.95, SGD$ 16.32) that has about a dozen thick slices of your choice of cheese: Swiss, Muenster or American.
I couldn’t resist and also ordered a Chilli Dog (USD$5.95, SGD$7.85) which was while hearty and an above-average choice, wasn’t as mind-blowing as the pastrami.
For the drinks, try the traditional Dr. Brown’s soda and a side of their famous steak fries, coleslaw, or potato salad.
This is a cash only establishment. Pay after you have finished eating. Leave the trays on the table and bring all your tickets up to the cashier.
205 East Houston Street (corner of Ludlow St) New York City, 10002
Tel: +1 212 254 2246
Opening Hours: 8:00am – 10:45pm (Sun-Wed), 8:00am – 2:45am (Thu), 8:00am – 12:00am (Fri), Open 24 hours (Sat)
Google Maps – Katz’s Delicatessen