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Katz’s Delicatessen


Sandra Levine
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Spurred by the rumors, Frank Bruni of the New York Times took the unusual step (for a fine-dining critic) of reviewing Katz's. The Times published his glowing review on 30 May 2007. The review contains, at the end, a bit of reporting on the rumors:

Now that real estate on the Lower East Side is so much more valuable, could Katz’s move again, or find itself subsumed by a condominium tower, or be threatened or altered in another way?

When I asked Mr. Austin about the latest rumors that Katz’s was being sold, he said it was entirely possible that somebody could come along and “offer me an amount I can’t walk away from,” but that none of the many offers made so far were sufficiently tempting.

I remarked that his response seemed to leave him plenty of wiggle room.

“How about that?” he said mischievously.

Then he laughed. I couldn’t.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 1 year later...

I was there Monday night and the pastrami was wondrous.

I stopped ordering the knoblewurst about a year ago because it was leathery and uninteresting on too many occasions. I think in that department the hot dogs are the way to go, in part because of turnover. Not that the hot dogs are so incredible, but they're better than the knoblewurst.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I was there Monday night and the pastrami was wondrous.

I stopped ordering the knoblewurst about a year ago because it was leathery and uninteresting on too many occasions. I think in that department the hot dogs are the way to go, in part because of turnover. Not that the hot dogs are so incredible, but they're better than the knoblewurst.

Interesting Steven,

I was there Monday night as well and had a completely different experience. I even went to the "Carn." Deli the next day to make sure I hadn't lost it and had better pastrami there. Maybe I didn't get enough fat! :shock:

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The turkey at Katz's is, in my experience, as good as turkey gets. It should be at $14 for a turkey sandwich. The fries -- thick-cut steak fries -- are quite good, I think. They have good kinshes. They also have matzo ball soup, potato latkes and some other items that, in a million visits, I've never tried.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Okay, there's some more to be said about the knishes. Not that I'm a major consumer of Katz's knishes (whereas I've had so much Katz's pastrami in my life that the navels of cows quiver when I pass by), but having been there with the occasional vegetarian I can say the following:

First, there are two species of knishes available at Katz's: square and round. The square ones are utterly unremarkable, no better than what you get from the average hot-dog cart. The round ones can be excellent under proper circumstances.

Second, the knishes are much better earlier in the day. Though you can get a knish any time at Katz's, my understanding is that the establishment really considers them breakfast food. So in the morning they're nice and fresh and there's turnover. In the evening you may get a reheat or something that has been sitting for too long.

Third, there are several varieties available (potato, sweet potato, broccoli, kasha) and I think potato is the least good. I'd suggest going for kasha. Round kasha in the morning. That would be my recommended knish order at Katz's.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Round knishes are better than square. I can't think of many family food rules growing up - but this is definitely one of them. (I personally like potato over kasha. With mustard.)

Agree that the turkey sandwich is very good. And hot dogs, with mustard and sauerkraut.

I just looked at the menu and it saddens me to see grilled cheese and blintzes on there. I say stick to the meat and potatoes, the traditional jewish deli stuff. Blintzes and pierogen are what Ratner's were for. I'm turning into my father.

If you're from out of town and on that block, please do yourself a favor and walk over to Russ & Daughters. That's how the dairy side of Jewish food culture should be.

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But why (with all due respect) would anyone ever order knishes at Katz's if Yonah Schimmel's was so close by?? Unless it were the dead of night and the better alternative weren't available, (and I speak as one that travels a distance for this particular fix) I can not imagine ordering a knish at Katz's if Yonah Schimmel were available.

Edited by KatieLoeb (log)

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

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Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
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I'm pretty sure the round Katz's knishes are supplied by Yonah Schimmel's. If not, they're strikingly similar. In any event, we're talking about a scenario where someone seems to have a desire to go to Katz's but doesn't eat red meat. So in that situation I'd say a round knish is an appropriate part of an order.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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But why (with all due respect) would anyone ever order knishes at Katz's if Yonah Schimmel's was so close by??  Unless it were the dead of night and the better alternative weren't available, (and I speak as one that travels a distance for this particular fix) I can not imagine ordering a knish at Katz's if Yonah Schimmel were available.

I plan on going to Yonah Schimmel's too. The reason I asked the above questions is because we're planning on taking a self-led LES walking tour. The first stop on the tour is Katz's. Here is the info from the tour " For the quintessential NYC deli experiences, no place beats Katz's, on the corner of Houston (Hey, Texas guys, in these here parts, we pronounce that "how-stun"! lol) & Ludlow Sts. You're there specifically for the pastrami sandwich. When you enter, you will be given a ticket. Instead of opting for table service, do what the "natives" do and get on line for counter service. When you reach the counter, put a $1 for each sandwich in the counterman's tip cup – though not mandatory, it is a tradition -- and order pastrami on rye. He'll give you a piece to taste. If you like it (the best pastrami is juicy and has some fat on it), tell him o.k., and he'll make your sandwich, give you some sour pickles, and punch your ticket. Then, continue along the counter for sides – the cole slaw is good -- and drinks. Find seats at a table in the center of the room. (Tables along the wall have menus on them and are reserved for waiter service.) When you’re done, take your ticket to the cashier in front, where it’s cash only. To pay by credit card, go to the counter at the rear where the salamis are sold. Note: For the purposes of this tour, unless you have a gargantuan appetite, it would be best to share one sandwich in order to leave room for more tastings along the way. "

Since I don't eat RED MEAT, I was asking about other options.

The rest of the self-led walking tour includes Russ and Daughters, Yonah, Ray's, Kossars, Doughnut plant, Gus's pickles, the tenament museum and gelato.

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Tour sounds fun, and delicious! Russ and Daughters should have some things for you to eat as well.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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The rest of the self-led walking tour includes Russ and Daughters, Yonah, Ray's, Kossars, Doughnut plant, Gus's pickles, the tenament museum and gelato.

I have to opine that if you're going to Doughnut Plant there's no reason not to go to Essex St. Pickles (just across Essex St. and 100 feet south of Grand) - where the atmosphere, pickles and service are, imho, much more quintessential lower east side than Guss's, which exists mainly in name only.

At Kossar's you can stock up on (besides bialys) pletzel, bulkas, and sesame sticks.

The gelato you'll be having right next to the tenement museum, at Il Laboratorio.

And, what is Ray's?

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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The rest of the self-led walking tour includes Russ and Daughters, Yonah, Ray's, Kossars, Doughnut plant, Gus's pickles, the tenament museum and gelato.

I have to opine that if you're going to Doughnut Plant there's no reason not to go to Essex St. Pickles (just across Essex St. and 100 feet south of Grand) - where the atmosphere, pickles and service are, imho, much more quintessential lower east side than Guss's, which exists mainly in name only.

At Kossar's you can stock up on (besides bialys) pletzel, bulkas, and sesame sticks.

The gelato you'll be having right next to the tenement museum, at Il Laboratorio.

And, what is Ray's?

Its the official name of the place for an egg cream( which I'm not crazy about, but I want my spouse to try it)

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The rest of the self-led walking tour includes Russ and Daughters, Yonah, Ray's, Kossars, Doughnut plant, Gus's pickles, the tenament museum and gelato.

I have to opine that if you're going to Doughnut Plant there's no reason not to go to Essex St. Pickles (just across Essex St. and 100 feet south of Grand) - where the atmosphere, pickles and service are, imho, much more quintessential lower east side than Guss's, which exists mainly in name only.

At Kossar's you can stock up on (besides bialys) pletzel, bulkas, and sesame sticks.

The gelato you'll be having right next to the tenement museum, at Il Laboratorio.

And, what is Ray's?

Thanks, I'll add that to the list. I LOVE half sours, full sours, etc.

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  • 1 month later...
The turkey at Katz's is, in my experience, as good as turkey gets. It should be at $14 for a turkey sandwich. The fries -- thick-cut steak fries -- are quite good, I think. They have good kinshes. They also have matzo ball soup, potato latkes and some other items that, in a million visits, I've never tried.

The turkey sandwich was good. I wanted cold turkey, but I forgot to ask so it was warm. Obviously, I dont keep kosher, so I added cheese. It was a huge sandwich( we shared). The matza ball was good, but I thought the soup was a bit salty. The fries were a tad greasy.

gallery_25969_665_628315.jpg

gallery_25969_665_17990.jpg

Edited by CaliPoutine (log)
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The turkey at Katz's is, in my experience, as good as turkey gets. It should be at $14 for a turkey sandwich. The fries -- thick-cut steak fries -- are quite good, I think. They have good kinshes. They also have matzo ball soup, potato latkes and some other items that, in a million visits, I've never tried.

The turkey sandwich was good. I wanted cold turkey, but I forgot to ask so it was warm. Obviously, I dont keep kosher, so I added cheese. It was a huge sandwich( we shared). The matza ball was good, but I thought the soup was a bit salty. The fries were a tad greasy.

gallery_25969_665_628315.jpg

gallery_25969_665_17990.jpg

I have been going to Katz's for close to 30 years.. Annie Hall aside, that is the worst meal recorded at this establishment. How did you find white bread?

Edited by Daniel (log)
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I have been going to Katz's for close to 30 years.. Annie Hall aside, that is the worst meal recorded at this establishment.  How did you find white bread?

Dude, that is totally rye bread, unless white bread now comes in rye bread shapes.

And, imo, turkey is OK with cheese, but it's mustard over mayo.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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I have been going to Katz's for close to 30 years.. Annie Hall aside, that is the worst meal recorded at this establishment.  How did you find white bread?

Dude, that is totally rye bread, unless white bread now comes in rye bread shapes.

And, imo, turkey is OK with cheese, but it's mustard over mayo.

Its rye bread and yes, we did have mustard.

What is wrong with the soup? It was freezing cold and raining on the Tuesday we were there and it totally hit the spot.

Edited by CaliPoutine (log)
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