The thing about institutions is that they survive on their own, buoyed up by years of loyalty to pure ingredients and fanatical regulars. They don’t need your shit tourist money, so yes there will be a leak in the ceiling, old love-worn tables, an arcane payment and ordering system and absolutely no ass-kissing. Just get in line and pay attention. I wanted to eat the best pastrami in nyc and all the reviews led me to here. I’m not saying everyone agreed, there were a bunch of different opinions but the consensus generally led back to Katz’s. We went after the show, tired, happy and hungry, Katz’s was very obliging by being open until 2:45 am on Thursdays and 24 hours on the weekend (!). The line was short but confusing and we had to take a ticket, and got cut in line by some local because we didn’t get to an open slicer-man which is apparently the thing to do. We both ordered the classic pastrami on rye with sour pickle. It was $15 dollars but I refused to share, I kept asking the guy for mustard, cause I saw a huge tub of it next to his cutting board but he gave me a bowl of matzoh ball soup. Let’s call it a happy accident, cause the soup was good! We received 4 inch high hand-sliced pastrami sandwiches and 2 pints of Brooklyn Brewery Katz’s Ale. When we got to our table I noticed that big squeeze bottles of full grain mustard were at every table. No wonder that slicer thought I wanted matzoh. The sandwiches were amazing. I tried really hard but couldn’t finish mine, luckily a nice boy wrapped it up in wax paper and I had it for breakfast after a 5.5 mile run in Central Park in the pounding rain. It was even better in the morning. We both slurped the soup and found it delicious and we drank our beers and contemplated the restaurant. Oh yes, I shall return.
And in case you didn’t know (like me) the famous When Harry Met Sally, “I’ll Have What She’s Having” scene was filmed here.
Go forth and forage pastrami!