Katz Deli has been around for over a hundred years in a neighborhood that has changed many times over. If you are taking the train there there is a stop on the F train up the block "2nd Avenue" is the stop. Let me begin by stating that I have been coming to Katz since 1985. I worked in the Neighborhood during 1986-1987 when the place was infested with the heroin trade and the place had yet to be gentrified. Now, to live in the neighborhood you need a trust fund--I saw $3K rents for 500 sq feet advertised. Back the restaurant and why I come back--they have the best pastrami. Their meats are all smoked, they still use the old methods to keep the meet because when they opened in the late 1880s they did not have refrigeration. They also have excellent hot dogs and Knishes. Bad part is that the place is over run with people. The absolute worst time to go is during the weekend. There is usually a line just to get in and they let people in when people leave the restaurant. If it is crowded it is a chaotic experience that may aggravate you if you do not have any patience. After you get in, it may take you another 20 minutes to get your hands on the sandwich that you came for. You can avoid those crazy lines by using the section that they have for table service by a waiter but you will pay extra for that. If not, after you fight to get your sandwich it is time to fight to get a seat. If you have others with you it is best for them to give you their order and for them to go secure some seats. They give every person a ticket when you come in and they mark the ticket when you order items. They claim that you will be charged $50 if you lose the ticket--I do not know if they can actually enforce that but you will want to avoid testing the fee. I usually get all the tickets from everyone and give one of them to my wife who is in charge of getting the hot dogs, sodas (Dr. Brown's Cream Soda) and Knishes. I used another one of the tickets to get the sandwiches. The guys at the counter making the sandwiches are all from the Dominican Republic. Some are nice, some are rude, it is customary to give them a tip for a couple of bucks. The more you tip, the better (leaner) the meat that I have gotten and the more samples they put on a dish in front of you while they make the sandwich. I usually get the pastrami sandwich every time I go and it costs $15, plenty of pastrami, two slices of rye bread mustard and some dill pickles. The place is old and it looks it. This is not a restaurant where the bathrooms are clean and where the folks are happy, smiling and looking to provide you with super service. They know that the place is an institution and that people will come there no matter what type of service they provide. So, if you do not mind putting up with this type of treatment, putting up with the crowds, the showing, the pushing, the waiting on lines and taking the time to find a place to sit then it is worth visiting. Like I said, I make it a point to get a taste of their pastrami every time I visit NYC. I have however found to be less patient every time I go and I would not go anywhere near the place on a weekend unless absolutely necessary or if I am looking to be abused. Besides that, I love their pastrami sandwich with a Dr. Brown's Cream Soda.
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