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Katz's

205 E. Houston, New York, NY - (212) 254-2246
Posted By Jack Ziegler on 1/17/2011 5:25:00 PM
I went to Katz's for lunch for the first time about 30 years ago. I'd just been transferred to New York from Baltimore. I ordered a corned beef on rye, and a kosher hot dog with fried bologna. The counterman looked at me and said, "You can't have that." I said, "Excuse me?" He said, "I said you can't have that." I asked "Why?" Again he said, "Because you can't have it." So I took my corned beef sandwich and kosher hot dog without bologna to my table and ate it.

The corned beef was wonderful; it was the best corned beef sandwich I had ever eaten. The kosher hot dog was OK, but I missed the fried bologna I used to get at Jack's on Corned Beef Row in Baltimore. Later, my boss, who was also from Baltimore, explained that it was because of a Jewish dietary law about not mixing meats. At other kosher delis in the New York area I've found the same restrictions.

I haven't been to Baltimore in a few years, and I understand Jack's has closed, but I'm still yearning for a kosher dog with fried bologna.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Pastrami Sandwich
Egg Cream
Corned Beef on Rye, Extra Lean
Sour Pickles
Half-Sour Pickles
Hot Dog
Rate this place
Many delis now use machines to slice their deli meats. Not Katz's. Part of the fun of dining here is watching the meat sliced and the sandwich built. This picture shows a steaming pastrami.
"Many delis now use machines to slice their deli meats. Not Katz's. Part of the fun of dining here is watching the meat sliced and the sandwich built. This picture shows a steaming pastrami."
Michael Stern





My very first pastrami sandwich at Katz's and hopefully not my last!  This was meltingly tender and rich.
"My very first pastrami sandwich at Katz's and hopefully not my last! This was meltingly tender and rich."
Bill Homan


Unlike the dogs of Chicagoland, the finest New York dogs are best savored with minimal topping. A smear of brown mustard, maybe a little kraut, might be called for, but neither is necessary. While these two well-done dogs wear a line of mustard, sometimes we like to savor the dogs' flavor with no toppings at all.
"Unlike the dogs of Chicagoland, the finest New York dogs are best savored with minimal topping. A smear of brown mustard, maybe a little kraut, might be called for, but neither is necessary. While these two well-done dogs wear a line of mustard, sometimes we like to savor the dogs' flavor with no toppings at all."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


Sections of knoblewurst are always ready on the grill, in various stages of doneness, so you can ask for it cooked the way you like: medium for maximum juiciness, well for maximum crustiness.  Note, in the upper right corner, the square knish.  Avoid these; go for the round knishes (not visible) which they get from Yonah Schimmel down the street.
"Sections of knoblewurst are always ready on the grill, in various stages of doneness, so you can ask for it cooked the way you like: medium for maximum juiciness, well for maximum crustiness. Note, in the upper right corner, the square knish. Avoid these; go for the round knishes (not visible) which they get from Yonah Schimmel down the street."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


A corned beef sandwich with nothing else on it, just rye bread and meat; does it really need anything else?
"A corned beef sandwich with nothing else on it, just rye bread and meat; does it really need anything else?"
Bill Homan


Our counterman did a great job on this corned beef sandwich and was happy to pose for a close-up.
"Our counterman did a great job on this corned beef sandwich and was happy to pose for a close-up."
Bill Homan


This is a well-cooked knoblewurst, served between slices of rye. Sauerkraut and deli mustard are good garnishes, but this is also great totally nude; just meat and bread.
"This is a well-cooked knoblewurst, served between slices of rye. Sauerkraut and deli mustard are good garnishes, but this is also great totally nude; just meat and bread."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


We didn't weigh it, but our guess is that this sandwich holds a half-pound of pastrami. Love those spicy blackened edges!
"We didn't weigh it, but our guess is that this sandwich holds a half-pound of pastrami. Love those spicy blackened edges!"
Michael Stern


The sweet Russian dressing, briny sauerkraut, gooey Swiss, and the rich, peppery pastrami made for one of the best pastrami Reuben sandwiches I have ever tasted.
"The sweet Russian dressing, briny sauerkraut, gooey Swiss, and the rich, peppery pastrami made for one of the best pastrami Reuben sandwiches I have ever tasted."
Bill Homan


Everyone who gets a sandwich is also given a plate of kosher pickles: half-sours and VERY sours. They go great with the meaty sandwiches.
"Everyone who gets a sandwich is also given a plate of kosher pickles: half-sours and VERY sours. They go great with the meaty sandwiches."
Michael Stern


Some people believe Katz's hot dogs are the best in the city. Here's a pair, one with stewed onions, the other with sauerkraut. Both, of course, are spread with mustard.
"Some people believe Katz's hot dogs are the best in the city. Here's a pair, one with stewed onions, the other with sauerkraut. Both, of course, are spread with mustard."
Michael Stern


Our guy held up his second creation, my pastrami with mustard on rye.  What a beauty.
"Our guy held up his second creation, my pastrami with mustard on rye. What a beauty."
Bill Homan


Katz's extra-thick french fries are creamy inside and crisp outside.
"Katz's extra-thick french fries are creamy inside and crisp outside."
Michael Stern


The sandwiches are hand sliced.  Behind the pastrami is a very beefy brisket sandwich.
"The sandwiches are hand sliced. Behind the pastrami is a very beefy brisket sandwich."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


Here's the line of sandwich makers at work.
"Here's the line of sandwich makers at work."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


We'd call it an
"We'd call it an "eating hall": always boisterous"
Michael Stern


Agreed!
"Agreed!"
Bill Homan


You can always spot Katz's by the neon glow on Houston Street.
"You can always spot Katz's by the neon glow on Houston Street."
Sam Meyer


Easy to spot if you're walking along East Houston Street.
"Easy to spot if you're walking along East Houston Street."
Bill Homan


Over 100 years of making people happy.
"Over 100 years of making people happy."
Bill Homan


Before you even see these signs, you can smell the aroma of garlicky meat.
"Before you even see these signs, you can smell the aroma of garlicky meat."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle



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