Home DESTINATION SPOTLIGHT New York NY: Katz's Hot Pastrami on Rye Is World’s Best
New York NY: Katz's Hot Pastrami on Rye Is World’s Best PDF Print E-mail

Guest Travel Writer PLG, Brooklyn NY: There may be disputes among delis and their patrons from Tel Aviv to Beverly Hills. However, no one can question the sheer joy of biting into this classic Katz’s sandwich.

The Katz’s hot pastrami on rye is piled high with succulent meat, and typically served with a kosher pickle and a bottle of Dr. Brown's Root Beer. The price just before the turn of the 20th century for this serving was 15 cents, plus a nickel tip for the waiter. Today, it costs at least $25, plus a much heartier tip.

However, even a certified chow hound could have trouble finishing more than half of the huge sandwich, and the waiter will wrap the other half for doggy bagging. Of course, when you get home, your dog will only get a tempting whiff of it.

For nearly 130 years, Katz's deli has been located in the heart of New York City's Greenwich Village, at 205 East Houston (pronounced How-ston) Street, just off the Second Street subway exit.

Katz's has served as the setting of many movies over the years. It may be most famous as the site of the Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan 1989 movie, "When Harry Met Sally". When Ryan's character faked a loud passionate love scene, another diner (the late Estelle Reiner, director Rob's real life mom) then said to the waiter, "I'll have what she's having".

During World War II, Katz's was well known for its promotion and donations for "Send a salami to your boy in the Army (In New York pronounced Ah-my)" The restaurant still maintains the service for gifts to American service members currently serving throughout the world

Now in my 90s, my first experience with Katz's turned out to be something less than a tasty treat. When I was a sailor in a WW2 Navy advanced unit stationed in the Philippines in 1945, my Brooklyn-based aunt sent me a package containing a Katz's salami and other deli items.  

It took more than three weeks to get to me, and unfortunately, she had packed it with a lot of other items. They included high-scented after-shave, shampoo and soap bars. The deli flavors were ruined, although some stray dogs in a Manila trash dump may have found it delicious.

Every time I've been to Greenwich Village in all the years since, I've made up for it by feasting on Katz's pastrami, salami, corned beef and all the other goodies. Katz's Delicatessen, also known as simply Katz's of New York City, still boasts it serves the best pastrami sandwich in the world. Hey, you were maybe expecting I should question it?


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