Katz’s is both a blessing and a curse. You see, every time that I have gone looking for a good pastrami sandwich, I am left a little wanting. Thousand Island (aka Russian, I don’t know why) is for salads and McDonalds. Swiss cheese is fine but sometimes overshadows the meat. It is hard to figure out what the big fuss was over. So I admit I stopped looking for good pastrami. But in preparation for my trip to New York, a name kept coming up: Katz’s Deli. You can see it on shows like Man v. Food and Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations so I figured if there was any place that I could go to get myself a pastrami sandwich, it was there.
Fast forward to last week, we walked down Houston (pronounced How-ston ) and ended up in front of Katz’s Deli. When you walk in, you get a ticket. This ticket is really important because the security at the front door will not let you leave without this ticket or a $50 penalty! We laughed at first when we read the sign until we saw people running back to their table, franticly looking for their ticket to avoid a charge. So you hold on to your ticket for dear life and filter into a carver line near the counter.
The guy in front of us took one bite, then looked back at us and said “f-ing amazing, the best.” He gave us his pastrami scraps and god bless him for it.
The wait in the line is torture. The smells of soup, pastrami, corned beef, hot dogs and everything else wonderful are slamming you in the face, reminding you how hungry you are. I really cannot think of any place that can replicate the aromas.
The local New Yorker in front of us had a long order, to-go so we had to wait extra but got a perk out of it. When you get to the counter, the carver will cut up a couple extra slices, put it on a small plate and let you sample before you buy. The guy in front of us took one bite, then looked back at us and said “f-ing amazing, the best.” He gave us his pastrami scraps and god bless him for it. The meat just melts in your mouth like butter. All I could do was point and nod to the carver that I wanted that.
The sandwich is simple: rye, slathering of mustard, pastrami. With a side of pickles and a knish, I ate in bliss.
Now I am forever stricken with the Katz curse. I still dream of that pastrami, craving another bite but alas, I am here in Dallas. El Jefe Doyle seems to think there may be a place in Dallas that can cure the crave but only time and taste will tell.