There may some disputes among delicatessens and patrons from Tel Aviv to Beverly Hills that Katz can claim it sells the best pastrami in the world. However, no one can question the sheer joy of biting into one.
The Katz 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 century for this serving was 25 cents, plus a nickel tip for the waiter. Today, it costs about $15, plus a heartier tip.
However, even a hearty eater could have trouble finishing more than half of the huge sandwich, and the waiter will gladly wrap the other half for doggy bagging. Of course, when you get home, your dog can only get a tempting whiff of it.
Since 1888, Katz’s 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 backdrop 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 (Estelle Reiner, director Robert’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” The owners of the restaurant still maintains the service for gifts to American troops currently serving throughout the world
My first experience with Katz’s turned out to be something less than a tasty treat. My New York City-based aunt sent me a Katz’s salami when I was in the Navy and stationed in the Philippines in 1945. It took three weeks to get to me, but unfortunately, she had packed it with a lot of other items, including after shave, shampoo and highly-pungent soap bars. The flavor was ruined, although some stray dogs in downtown Manila found it delicious.
However, every time I’ve been to New York 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, can continue to boast it serves the best pastrami sandwich in the world. You are expecting I should question it?