Raining, Katz(‘s), And Dogs



Katz’s Delicatessen | 205 E Houston St. (corner of Ludlow St.) | 212.966.7366 | katzsdelicatessen.com/ | | | |

WHO KNEW SEPTEMBER SEVENTH IS National Salami Day? I didn’t until this morning. How would a person celebrate such an event? With a salami sandwich, of course. So I decided I would finally trek down to venerable Katz’s Delicatessen, yes, famous for their storied pastrami sandwiches, but also, and not as well known, as skilled with many other “old school” deli staples.

The second day of a New York City rainstorm couldn’t keep me from taking a longer-than-usual M15 Select Bus commute down 2nd Avenue to East Houston, walking over two blocks to one of the most recognized signage in all of the city, inviting generations of locals for over 125 years, and more recently, legions of travelers and new transplants, into its halled interior. Oddly enough, for being the “quintessential” Jewish deli, with the abundance of the all-Hispanic servers, the international tourists, the black security guys, and myself, Jewish people made for a negligible minority of the crowd.


Katz's Delicatessen

Katz's Delicatessen

Katz's Delicatessen

Katz's Delicatessen


During World War II, Katz’s encouraged parents to “send a salami to your boy in the army”, and that has remained one of its most famous phrases ever since (along with “Katz’s, that’s all!”); those phrases can still be found on and around the whole shop.


Katz's Delicatessen

Katz's Delicatessen Salami Neon Sign


Having my ticket—onto which the cumulative prices for my dishes would be written until I finally paid—I first saddled up to the hot dog station. Locals know that the greatly-spiced, natural casing weiners are a notch or two better than even the best “Papaya” varieties. The next station over was the sandwich station, and not knowing which of the house salamis—soft or hard—I would use for my sandwich, the slicer let me try a sample of both, one of the many serviceable touches that easily deserve a dollar or two tip for their efforts.


Katz's Delicatessen Hot Dog Grill

Katz's Delicatessen Salami Samples

Kat's Delicatessen, Tip Jar


A plate of pickles and a Dr. Brown’s rounded filled out the rest of my cafeteria-style tray, as I decided first to address my hot dog while it was still hot off the grill.


Hot Dog, Hard & Soft Salami Sandwich

Katz's Delicatessen Hot Dog

Katz's Delicatessen Hot Dog

Katz's Delicatessen Pickles


A perfect snap in every bite, with flavorful, clear juices ran out of the still firm and well-spiced meat, the excess moisture soaked into the grill-toasted bun. The sauerkraut was steeped with flavor as well, while maintaining much of its natural firmness.

The hot dog went dog quickly and happily; it was time to address the meat of honor, having chosen to have my sandwich consist of both hard and soft salami.


Hard & Soft Salami Sandwich

Hard & Soft Salami Sandwich

Hard & Soft Salami Sandwich


The dual textures was a novel thrill, as was the different spice and seasoning components in each of the salami slices. The firmer salami highlighted a slight tang of garlic and paprika, while the softer salami had a more subtle taste, letting the niblets of minced fat lead the flavor charge.

No one did this stuff better, “back in the day” as they say. But a proliferation of cured-and-smoked meat shops have been dotting the NYC area with increasing frequency. I’ve had excellent versions of the pastrami sandwich at the new and trendy This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef as well the new outpost of the old 2nd Avenue Deli, and Wlliamsburg’s modern take on the Quebecois deli, Mile End, is serving a smoked meat sandwich that is one of the very best things I ate all of last year.

But Katz’s is indelibly New York, almost as iconic as the Brooklyn Bridge or Little Italy. And if the near perfect sandwiches here aren’t your favorite, the experience of having them here most should be.

And, in many ways, should be something to celebrate, even beyond a National Salami Day, as every other customer at Katz’s seem to be, including the folks at the table next to me enjoying their corned beef and swiss on rye….


Corned Beef Sandwich

Bun Apple Tea!

.kac.


Katz's Deli on Urbanspoon


Katz’s Delicatessen | 205 E Houston St. (corner of Ludlow St.) | 212.966.7366 | katzsdelicatessen.com/ | | | |



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