Food research was essential before going to New York City with my friend Val as there is no shortage of great restaurants in the city and we only had very limited time. We wanted to make sure we chose well and that we chose enough.
I watched so many food videos on youtube that restaurant names were coming out of my ears. Of the list we made, I wanted to visit one place above all else: Katz’s Deli.
I love meat but I can’t really call myself a fan of Pastrami or corned beef. I’m more of a steak and burger fan. Thing is, just like getting pizza in Rome, you have to have pastrami in New York. We did so at the most recommended place, Katz’s.
We got there right smack during the lunch rush and the place was packed!
First things first, we got our tickets, chose our cutter counter and proceeded to order. They advise everyone to already know their order before getting there because the line has to keep moving, so we checked online and decided on their number 1 and ever popular item, the pastrami on rye. While waiting, the cutter generously cut us some pieces to try. I was hungry so wolfing down a few slices was no challenge, getting a seat, however, was.
All the tables were occupied except for two that were cordoned off. My facial expression must have been so dire that a man approached us and offered to share a part of his party’s long table. We gladly took the seats. The face of the man seemed familiar to me and it took me a few minutes to realize the reason. I had already seen him before on TV interviews and YouTube videos….The man who gave us the seats was Jake Dell, who now runs the operations at Katz’s Deli (Thanks Jake!).
In the name of adventure, Val and I ordered two sandwiches: one pastrami on rye and one corned beef on rye. Both sandwiches were scary big. Coming from Manila where all sandwiches are about medium to small in size with limited slices of meat, Katz’s sandwiches were overwhelming. It’s like jumping from a kiddie pool to an olympic sized one! But for me it was part of the fun! I wanted to know if I could devour one entire sandwich by my lonesome. Since both had pretty much the same amount of meat, we each got half a slice of the sandwiches.
I’m proud to say I pulled through and finished off an entire full sized Katz’s sandwich (part pastrami, part corned beef) plus a few slices of pickles. Yes, I have a HUGE appetite. My ever slim friend barely got through half of hers! I should also tell you that I stayed full for a day and a half after that (though it never stopped me from eating other food) and that it was hard to stand after the fact. I was proud of myself for that shallow achievement and vey happy indeed. Seriously, I deserve a big fat trophy!
Aside from the sandwiches themselves and the fact that Katz’s is already a historical site in NYC, the other reason I wanted to go was the movie scene table.
Have you ever watched When Harry Met Sally? Remember that part where Meg Ryan does the orgasm scene and one patron says “I’ll have what she’s having”, referring to Ryan’s food and her reaction to it? That was filmed at Katz’s. To commemorate that, a circular sign actually hangs from the ceiling pointing down to the table where that was shot. Unfortunately it was already occupied that day, but that’s okay…… I’ll sit there on my next visit.
A special thank you to Val for treating me on my birthday at Katz’s!