Finally we had a warm enough weekend in NY for Kevin and I to make up a walking tour of Houston Street from the West Side to the East Side. When you get off the train you are in SOHO which has so many great shops and places to eat and we had a destination this time; Katz’s Deli located on the Lower East Side at Houston and Ludlow.
Katz's Deli is a famous New York institution that dates back to 1888. While this place is not glamorous or economical, it is one of those places in New York you must go to. I’m embarrassed to say it took this long for us to finally go. Katz's is also famous for being the location of “that” scene from “When Harry Met Sally”, but it has also been used as a location for many other films. Katz’s original claim to fame came during the Second World War when this Lower East Side deli established a mail-order business for it's traditional meat products with the slogan “Send a salami to your boy in the army”. The slogan still appears on all their merchandise, staff uniforms etc, and has unfortunately acquired a new relevance in recent years, with a steady stream of salamis finding their way to Iraq and Afghanistan.
After you make your way in to the restaurant it is overwhelming with all the people and figuring out the process of how you are gonna get some meat and a seat. Good thing we split up and I took over table claiming duties while Kevin maneuvered the lines to find the fastest cutter. I can’t forget to mention that at the front door you are handed a "theater ticket” that will serve as your check when you exit (this is to minimize theft). If you do not have your ticket on the way out you may be charged the default fee of $50 each.
Kevin ordered pastrami on rye with mustard and I had a corned beef Reuben with Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and sauce. Kevin later told me the cutter asked if the Reuben should be made with pastrami and when Kevin stuck to the classic Reuben meat choice he saw a look of sorrow in the cutter’s face. After we tried the pastrami we understood why because the pastrami was possibly the best we have ever tasted. Don’t get me wrong the Reuben was good too but the corned beef was no where near the wondrous level of the pastrami. Katz’s Deli claims to be the best in NY but coming to Katz’s is as much about the experience and the setting as it is about the food, and there’s no denying the setting is worth seeing.