Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT May 2009

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Baah Ben
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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/05/23 20:23:02 (permalink)
MD - Westwood, NJ.  Love it!  Rutt's onion rings are very, very good.  I never cared for their relish.  Glad you liked it.

So, did you grow up in Bergen County?  

Twin - I just got back from the "Fatherland." So you'd like to move back?  Personally, nothing I'd want to return to except to see family, friends and to eat.  Too intense..Been away too long from all that....

I am very happy I finally got to Harold's.  Very happy.  It was even better than I thought it was going to be and like I said, Harold's "small" pastrami was amazing. 

For me, it's Harold's or the Carnegie.  I just like a huge sandwich..Charge me, but give me a huge sandwich!
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sk bob
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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/05/23 21:44:01 (permalink)
nice pictures & commentary Don, excellent report. you know how to make an ex northerners mouth water.
but as usual no doggie bag for us in Florida that can't make it up there.
great statement BaahBen ;
"I just like a huge sandwich..Charge me, but give me a huge sandwich"
that says it all.
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ken8038
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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/05/23 23:21:56 (permalink)
<<
 
Bruce, I can assure you that with the exception of the folks over 70, Katz's (and all of the other NYC Jewish Delis) the majority of patrons are touristas>>
 
Yet one more 2 cents worth from me, this time on Katz's. I work a lo-o-o-ng walk and and a short bus ride from there and have been for lunch during the week maybe 10 times in the last 15 years. My experience is that it is VERY MUCH locals during the business week, and plenty of them, i.e. always crowded, even during NY's "tougher times".  Weekend experience may be different.
post edited by ken8038 - 2009/05/23 23:24:31
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Benzee
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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/05/24 00:36:19 (permalink)

Hello all ,

Excellent trip report Miami Don . Been to many of the places you reviewed and you are right on the money .
Next time you get up here  let us know and  perhaps we can get together for a Jersey Dog or two .
Funny thing , first time I went to Rutts , i did the same thing , acted liek I was going there my entire life " two rippers  with the relish " Whoops the relish was right beside me on the counter . I was made as  a Virgin Ripper . hahhahhahahha

Benzee
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John Fox
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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/05/24 07:37:34 (permalink)
Don,

At Rutt's Hut the dogs are never sitting out. When ordered they are immediately plucked out of the oil and slapped on a bun.
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Baah Ben
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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/05/24 10:06:29 (permalink)
Don - If you could have seen behind the line (you actually do that if you stand to the left of the hot dog chefs and nearer to the onion ring prep guys.  I love watching them make the onion rings!  Maybe you did?  

The deep fryer(s) they use for the hot dogs don't have any baskets.  Its just a sea of hot oil so to speak.  The hot dogs have all been started in the oil long before you got there.  They are constantly throwing in new inventory as business demands it.  They are never caught without a hot dog ready to give you in a matter of a minute.  If you want it well done, you may have to wait but usually there's an inventory of regular, well done, burnt, whatever. 

They are either just floating in the oil when they are very busy or they have been moved from the oil and rest just above the oil on a little shelf but still within the fryer.  The dogs are never pre-cooked and taken out of the fryer itself; stored out of the fryer.
At least I have never ever seen that done. 

So no, you were not given a stale dog.  But, you might have been given one that was in the oil too long for your tastes.  Or perhaps a lazy cook had prepped up a few on rolls ready to go?  They will get a dry texture to them if that is the case and they will shrivel up faster than those that are "regulars." 

Did the guy just hand your server a hot dog in two seconds?  If so, he probably had one on a roll already..A NO NO!  Usually, you see him take a two pronged fork and grab a roll and hand up the counter guys.  Hey, you should have bitched.  Yeah, that would go over well at Rutt's......

As soon as any dog is reintroduced to that hot oil, it will blow up immediately again unless it's the burnt type.  But, if they do not serve it to you right away and it is one that has been overcooked, it will deflate much faster and look shriveled up.  I hate those! 

Consequently, I never ask for them well done at any place like Hiram's or Rutts..This way, you get the ones that blow up the most, keep their shape the longest and are the most moist.  They taste different to me, too.



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MiamiDon
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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/05/24 12:24:40 (permalink)
Baah Ben

Did the guy just hand your server a hot dog in two seconds?  If so, he probably had one on a roll already..A NO NO! 
 


That's what it seemed like, Baah Ben.  I could be wrong, of course.  I have zero experience with deep-fried hot dogs.  I would have thought that something pulled right out of the fryer would have been steaming.  John Fox says they're always out of the oil, which begs the question of what they do if and when they misjudge demand.
 
Anyway, I plan to return.
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Shara
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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/05/24 13:29:11 (permalink)
Thanks for a very enjoyable trip report, Don. The photos are evocative and there's a nice storyline, too (wow your fam has been in America a looong time!). I esp liked your foray into NJ, my home state. And you're right--you'da been better off getting a double order of Taylor's pork roll on that egg sammie. Maybe next time. :-)
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Baah Ben
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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/05/25 03:52:17 (permalink)
MD - Well they are supposed to be right out of the oil.  And, unless you asked for one very well done, it should have looked like a blown up hot dog and very, very hot when you try to bite into it.  Lots of people burn their mouths.  So, if this was not the case, I believe they gave you one the lazy way....

Rather than return to Rutt's, I strongly suggest you try Hiram's next time (Ft. Lee).
post edited by Baah Ben - 2009/05/25 11:50:28
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wanderingjew
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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/05/25 19:36:57 (permalink)
ken8038

 
Yet one more 2 cents worth from me, this time on Katz's. I work a lo-o-o-ng walk and and a short bus ride from there and have been for lunch during the week maybe 10 times in the last 15 years. My experience is that it is VERY MUCH locals during the business week, and plenty of them, i.e. always crowded, even during NY's "tougher times".  Weekend experience may be different.


Ken

I've got to respectively disagree with you on that one...

On a side note, I find it quite ironic that those in certain parts of the country (IE Boston and Minnesota) refer to traditional local cuisine (which I believe is alive and well in those respective areas)  as either  "just for tourists" or "that it no longer exists" or the laughingly hilarious "it never existed at all" yet for some reason, there are alot of older New Yorkers, (Ken I hate to be presumptive but I'm assuming you're over 50) who really want to hold on to something that basically no longer exists...Ken I'm assuming the locals you've seen at Katz's are "older" Ken, I grew up in New York I lived there most of my life, I still have a strong connection to that community. Most New Yorkers nowadays are very physically active and are extremely health conscious and they would rather douse themselves with kerosene and strike a match than
throw "that toxic stuff" they serve at Katz's or any other Jewish Deli for that matter.

My friend's 13 year old son has no clue what a Jewish, Kosher or Kosher style deli is- and he just had his bar mitzvah!- my friend had to tell him "it's the place that grandma likes to go to"....Ken, this isn't an isolated incident- this is "the rule" rather than "the exception" Stephen Rushmore on another thread refered to Durgin Park in Boston as "teeming with tourists" yet one of my coworkers whose originally  from the Boston area says its "packed" with locals during the week. Personally I've never counted, but it wouldn't surprise me at all if Katz's has a sigificantly greater tourist to locals ratio than Durgin Park.

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russ2304
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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/05/25 19:49:55 (permalink)
Baah Ben

MD - Well they are supposed to be right out of the oil.  And, unless you asked for one very well done, it should have looked like a blown up hot dog and very, very hot when you try to bite into it.  Lots of people burn their mouths.  So, if this was not the case, I believe they gave you one the lazy way....

Rather than return to Rutt's, I strongly suggest you try Hiram's next time (Ft. Lee).


Hi Don and Ben---sure I will get some flack for this but went to Rutt's once and found it to be mediocre at best-----Ben I totally agree with Hiram's adviso and would throw in Callahan's in same neck of the woods it they are still around and then Down the Shore ya gotta go to MAX's ---------sooo good-----------Windmill chain is a distant second but passable!
 
Russ
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Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle
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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/05/25 20:45:37 (permalink)
wanderingjew
Personally I've never counted, but it wouldn't surprise me at all if Katz's has a sigificantly greater tourist to locals ratio than Durgin Park.

Now, I would be totally shocked by that, if it were true.  Of course I don't have a clue, but Durgin Park is smack dab in the center of one of the most touristed areas of the city.  Katz's is in a part of the city that few tourists would have reason to be in unless they have a particular interest in the history of the Lower East Side, or were searching out Katz's specifically.
 
Katz's isn't drawing the health freaks, that's for sure; and there are lots of them in the city.  But there are plenty of NYers who are not so health conscious as to avoid Katz's.

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wanderingjew
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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/05/25 21:31:10 (permalink)
Bruce Bilmes and Sue Boyle

wanderingjew
Personally I've never counted, but it wouldn't surprise me at all if Katz's has a sigificantly greater tourist to locals ratio than Durgin Park.

Now, I would be totally shocked by that, if it were true.  Of course I don't have a clue, but Durgin Park is smack dab in the center of one of the most touristed areas of the city.  Katz's is in a part of the city that few tourists would have reason to be in unless they have a particular interest in the history of the Lower East Side, or were searching out Katz's specifically.
 
Katz's isn't drawing the health freaks, that's for sure; and there are lots of them in the city.  But there are plenty of NYers who are not so health conscious as to avoid Katz's.


Bruce,

Katz's was made famous (or infamous) by  the movie Harry Met Sally. Just about everyone knows the famous scene- it's now a part of pop culture- and is practically included on every tourist map of NYC. The last time we were there- we actually saw someone stop their car in the middle of traffic , get out of their car and take a photo- what surprised us is that this woman did not go in to get anything.

Every person  I know who has visited Boston never even heard of Durgin Park in fact from my experience they all wanted to go to Legal Seafoods and I had to direct them to Durgin Park for a unique Boston experience - . There are many other places in Quincy Market and for some reason many of the tourists seem to get trapped in the food court-

Bruce, again I've never stopped to take a count, but my opinions are pretty strong on this one.


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Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle
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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/05/25 22:24:10 (permalink)
wanderingjewmy opinions are pretty strong on this one.

As opposed to your opinions on other things?  It's one of the things that makes you Mt. Roadfood Rushmore worthy!

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wanderingjew
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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/05/25 23:08:04 (permalink)
Bruce Bilmes and Sue Boyle

wanderingjewmy opinions are pretty strong on this one.

As opposed to your opinions on other things?  It's one of the things that makes you Mt. Roadfood Rushmore worthy!




I still think its' only fair that we call it Mt.  Roadfood "Stephen" Rushmore!
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Baah Ben
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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/05/26 01:36:02 (permalink)
Russ - I was never a big fan of Rutt's hot dog, but I love their onion rings!  I go there when in NJ, if it's convenient and knowing that I'll end up for dessert at The Tic Tock Diner!  Without the combo, I won't bother.  I have always loved Hiram's.  IMHO, you get a better NJ deep fried hot dog experience.  But, Rutt's is the more famous place...No question about it.  

What do you think the locals to tourists ratio is at the Carnegie?  Could be part of this debate, too... 

Very good point about the NY health freaks.  Fortunately for places like Katz's, there are still enough NY'ers, who still want to actually enjoy what they are eating.  Eating just to live is not for everyone.  
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John A
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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/05/26 06:33:43 (permalink)
A one man meat up. Very nice report and pictures MD.
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ken8038
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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/05/26 07:58:01 (permalink)
<<Ken I hate to be presumptive but I'm assuming you're over 50) who really want to hold on to something that basically no longer exists...Ken I'm assuming the locals you've seen at Katz's are "older" Ken, >>

I wasn't commenting on the age demographic at Katz's. Yes, it certainly skews "older", especially during the week when I've been there. (And yes, I'm over 50, in fact just recently I'm over 60), My point is, at least during the week at lunch time, there's more locals than tourists.

<<Most New Yorkers nowadays are very physically active and are extremely health conscious and they would rather douse themselves with kerosene and strike a match than
throw "that toxic stuff" they serve at Katz's or any other Jewish Deli for that matter. >>


Come ON. Not all people living and/or working in NY are health food freaks. There's still a lot of middle class people, such as myself and my co-workers (i.e NY City is not all poor people and rich people) and we still go to Katz's. And we're not ALL over 50. Of the 9 different co-workers that I have gone to Katz's with over the past 10 years, they are 2 white males over 60, 2 white males from 50 to 60, one Hispanic male in his 40's, two black females in their 40's, and two white females in thier 30's. None of them seemed to be particularly out of place during weekday lunch time at Katz's.

Oh, I forgot, and two guys from our office in Fargo North Dakota that we took there a couple of years ago. THEY looked out of place.
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wanderingjew
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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/05/26 08:54:48 (permalink)
ken8038

I wasn't commenting on the age demographic at Katz's. Yes, it certainly skews "older", especially during the week when I've been there. (And yes, I'm over 50, in fact just recently I'm over 60), My point is, at least during the week at lunch time, there's more locals than tourists.


Come ON. Not all people living and/or working in NY are health food freaks. There's still a lot of middle class people, such as myself and my co-workers (i.e NY City is not all poor people and rich people) and we still go to Katz's. And we're not ALL over 50. Of the 9 different co-workers that I have gone to Katz's with over the past 10 years, they are 2 white males over 60, 2 white males from 50 to 60, one Hispanic male in his 40's, two black females in their 40's, and two white females in thier 30's. None of them seemed to be particularly out of place during weekday lunch time at Katz's.

Oh, I forgot, and two guys from our office in Fargo North Dakota that we took there a couple of years ago. THEY looked out of place.


Ken
 
I figured you were over 60, but I didn't want to be presumptive.
That was my point, most of the local's you'll find at Katz's would be older.
I'm not sure what economic class has to do with lifestyle. My friends who still live in
the NYC area consider themselves "middle class" and they try to live a healthy lifestyle. They're not sticklers but they don't go to Katz's or any of the other delis with the exception of rare occasions (when the grandparents are down from Boca)
 
For what it's worth I looked at YELP reviews for both Katz's, Durgin Park and The Carnegie deli..
I looked at the first 20 reviews for each to determine if the reviewers lived locally
(in the NYC metro area and the Boston metro area) btw there was a reviewer for the Carnegie deli from New Haven CT and I considered that local.
 
5 out of 20 reviews for Katz's were local
 
7 out of 20 reviews for The Carnegie Deli were local
 
9 out of 20 reviews for Durgin Park were local.
 
BTW, there used to be hundreds of Jewish Deli's in Manhattan alone, why are there only 5 left?. In a city with a metro population of 20 million, that's a mere "drop in the bucket.
Per capita, there's more restaurants in the Twin Cities serving Scandinavian food
and hot dish than there are kosher delis in Manhattan. Pretty good for "joke food" and "food that never existed"
post edited by wanderingjew - 2009/05/26 09:03:35
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Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle
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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/05/26 09:48:19 (permalink)
wanderingjew, what do you mean by "joke food" and "food that never existed"?
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wanderingjew
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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/05/26 10:04:11 (permalink)
Bruce Bilmes and Sue Boyle

wanderingjew, what do you mean by "joke food" and "food that never existed"?


I'm sorry Bruce,
 
I should have explained.
 
Joke food-  On a different thread that's how Davydd described
the definitive Minnesotan Hotdish when I pointed out several restaurants in the Twin Cities that serve it on the menu. Initially he said you would not find it on any menu, but after pointing it out on a few different menus, he responded that they were on these menus "as a joke" Of course I told him I was surprised that these restaurant would consider the additional expense of adding it to their menu and
actually having the necessary ingredients to serve it to their customers.
 
Food that doesn't exist- Again, Davydd insisted that there were no Scandinavian restaurants in the twin cities in the 30 some odd years he was living there-  however I was able to name several, some of which did go out of business but much less than 30 years ago. The few others that are still in existence that still serve Scandinavian Food- he labeled as "tourist traps" even though these restaurants are in hard to find, non descript suburban locations. Comparably speaking, it would be like labeling a NYC restaurant a "tourist trap" that's located  in Ho-Ho-Kus NJ
 
 
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Freddies Mommy
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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/05/26 11:02:13 (permalink)
Looks like you hits some good places.  I love Katz's and The Knish shop.  Sadly I wish you had a Better Pork Roll experience.  There are places around here where you get about 10 slices (thin is how I love it) and its out of this world.  There are far to many places that give you two thin slices and its just not a real Pork Roll sandwich. 

There was a hot Dog place that closed about a month ago Amazing Dogs.  They were probably one of the best Dogs in NJ... You also might have liked Windmill and Max's Hot dogs on the NJ Shore.
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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/05/26 11:52:14 (permalink)
I must make a comment...while WJ may have a valid point on his assessment of the customers at Katz's, and not having been there myself, I think that he is not looking at the whole picture.I was lucky enough to be exposed, at a very young age, to the foods at local places, that my parents liked.I think that doesnt happen these days.So often I know that parents will go to several places to feed various children, a practice I DID NOT grow up with.On the very rare occasions that we went out to eat, Dad and Mom would let me order what I want, but Dad would always let me taste his choice.Love of food began!!!In todays society, fast food is so easy, while the good old places are being forgotten.They take time-people seem to forget that. Of course there are tourists, just like any place that has good food.But I am sure that locals in NYC arent all health nuts-no matter what the age.And even health nuts, break away once in awhile.And as for the number of Jewish delis, of course there were hundreds years ago-some make it, some dont.We had tons of independent meat markets when I was growing up, but now they are hard to find.
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The Travelin Man
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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/05/26 12:18:45 (permalink)
wanderingjew
Bruce, again I've never stopped to take a count, but my opinions are pretty strong on this one.


Would you say that your opinions are stronger on this or on the idea that only Denver-based tourists visit Idaho Springs?


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wanderingjew
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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/05/26 12:40:45 (permalink)
The Travelin Man

wanderingjew
Bruce, again I've never stopped to take a count, but my opinions are pretty strong on this one.


Would you say that your opinions are stronger on this or on the idea that only Denver-based tourists visit Idaho Springs?


Did you wear your tin foil hat when you weeded the thread out?

Seriously, well, actually I was serious about the tin foil hat- I've seen you wear it before....

We don't know how Jonjax knew about Idaho Springs

Is he originally from Colorado?
Has he been to Colorado a bunch of times before?
Does he have family or friends in Colorado?
Did someone from Colorado take him to Idaho Springs?

Wickford and Bristol are argumentably two historic towns in Rhode Island that many tourists don't know of- Everyone wants to go to Newport. However I have taken friends to both places, and if I were to leave Rhode Island tommorow, if my friends came back for a return visit- they would likely revisit Wickford and Bristol
post edited by wanderingjew - 2009/05/26 12:51:46
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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/05/26 13:01:48 (permalink)
I would like to comment on WJs post too.  Being married to a man from Brooklyn who is Jewish and has a health nut family and we are middle class we do eat at Katz's or 2nd Ave deli.  We don't eat their daily or even monthly because frankly its expensive!  However its not any worse then grabbing a burrito, or Ice cream or a burger.  The meat is so lean and perfect (that is if you order extra lean but I know plenty that order it extra fatty)

Yes there are plenty of Jewish delis but not that many that either Make their own Pastrami or if they do Make it well.  There is something wonderful about going for Pastrami at Katz's walking up watching the guy slice it and give you a sample to see if it is to your liking.  Getting pickled tomatoes...  Its just wonderful.  Katz's has that fun of being historic and well publicized but the food is definitely worth a visit.  I only think it is fair to consider Katz's a must try while in NY.  It really is a great place in a fantastic location Right down the road from several historical shops and building.  Katz/2nd Ave Deli are like the Geno's/Pat's Of Cheesesteaks of the Sally's/Pepe's of Pizza.  They are two places that make awesome food that people compare and pick a favorite.  With that said and a good example is , are there other places in Philly to get a cheesesteak that are better, yes there are but most people you say where can I get Cheesesteak most would suggest Geno's or Pats's....  When I would say Tony Luke's. 



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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/05/26 13:28:39 (permalink)
Freddies Mommy

  Katz/2nd Ave Deli are like the Geno's/Pat's Of Cheesesteaks of the Sally's/Pepe's of Pizza.  They are two places that make awesome food that people compare and pick a favorite.  With that said and a good example is , are there other places in Philly to get a cheesesteak that are better, yes there are but most people you say where can I get Cheesesteak most would suggest Geno's or Pats's....  When I would say Tony Luke's. 

 
Oh, please don't put Katz's/Second Ave Deli in the same category as Pats and Genos.... I can't vouch for Genos, but I've been to Pats twice and hated it both times!
I checked the Yelp reviews on Pats- out of the first 30 reviews only 2 were local!
 
On an aside believe me, I love Katz's and The Second Avenue, and The Carnegie, and Harolds, etc. I guess, my point I'm trying to make is that there's a double standard on the forum and I'm trying to play devils advocate to demonstrate. I never counted the number of kosher delis in the NYC metro area (Long Island, Westchester, Rockland, Northern New Jersey and Southwestern CT)as a whole- but I bet (not including bagel shops which are everywhere or the Bens Chain) there's probably less than 50, maybe even less than 2 dozen which is  a sad state of affair for a city with 20 million people.
 
 


 
#57
ann peeples
Sirloin
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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/05/26 13:34:37 (permalink)
My point exactly-of course you dont eat there on a weekly or monthly basis.Expensive, but worth the wait, I am told.As is any good restaurant...
#58
MiamiDon
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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/05/26 13:44:36 (permalink)
Freddie's Mommie:

Wanderingjew's Philly Cheesesteak Smackdown tour is a great reference for "beyond Pat's and Geno's" Philly cheesesteak restaurants:

http://www.roadfood.com/Forums/tm.aspx?m=389918
#59
Freddies Mommy
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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/05/26 13:51:00 (permalink)
WJ - Genos is better then pats in a Side by side blind taste test.    But Tony Luke's kicks them both in the Bummie.  Anyhow the point is there are alot of Jewish Delis but in a place like NYC alot of them are like Dominos is to Pizza (not good).  You are not going to find them peppered throughout the are either because they really are neighborhood establishments.  I can tell you for sure that you will find a good deli or two or three in a Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn.

 
#60
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