When I first read New York Magazine’s list of the 101 Best Sandwiches in New York, I was overwhelmed by all the places I was yet to try, and nostalgic of the experiences I already had. When people visit New York City, they climb to the top of the Empire State Building, view the extensive collection of art at the MoMa or the Met, walk endlessly around the Central Park Green…and eat a towering sandwich at Katz’s Deli. It is a New York City staple.
I don’t remember when I had my first Pastrami sandwich at Katz’s. I was probably in high school, testing out my fake ID at every bar on the Lower East Side or going to hear some jam band at Mercury Lounge. I just recall being shocked by how much meat can be piled on to one sandwich. This sandwich defies gravity as it stands tall without toppling over. The sliced meat is moist and juicy, each bite tastier than the last. This sandwich needs nothing else. Your crispiest lettuce or ripest tomato would only be an insult to this work of perfection. Only the accompaniment of two modest slices of rye bread and perhaps some deli mustard deserve to be in its presence.
If you live in New York and have not had this sandwich you should be ashamed of yourself…or a vegetarian…in which case you should also be ashamed of yourself. A Katz’s Pastrami sandwich is synonymous with a New York sandwich. Now, I’ve got to go – I have another 100 sandwiches to eat.
Katz’s | 205 East Houston Street and Ludlow
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