Katz’s Delicatessen

205 E Houston St. New York, NY 10002(212) 254-2246 katzsdelicatessen.com

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Before this place became famous for Meg Ryan’s jubilant fake orgasm in When Harry Met Sally, people were having real orgasms over their infinitely more famous Pastrami on Rye (pictured), causing an awful lot of people to ask, “I’ll have what she’s having,” years ahead of the screenplay. But as shockingly good as the elephantine sandwiches are at this kosher deli, what many will find even more shocking is that there is nothing kosher about it. Katz’s is Romanian. Not kosher. Granted they do a damn fine job of copy-cat cuisine. So fine, in fact, that they best most of the places that call themselves the real deal. And the fact that Katz’s has been around so long (since 1888), makes its old school vibe all that more authentic, a lot like 2nd Avenue Deli used to be before they lost their lease and had to move. But that’s the charm of the place. I know some people call it touristy, but trust me, this place isn’t dressed like a movie set or some cheesy theme joint. It’s still wearing the same dusty clothes it’s been donning for over a century. And I, for one, love it for all its crustiness and crotchetiness.

Sure there are sexy newcomers hitting the scene like Mile End and Russ and Daughters, but there’s something you have to appreciate about a place that’s been around before friggin’ cars and still packing ’em in! We’re talking Gangs of New York guys were swinging by here after a morning brawl to grab a bite. That’s so fucking cool that you can keep your caviar cream cheese and your chocolate babka french toast, because I want a bite of history, piled high with more meat than any one human being should probably consume in a week, dipped in some spicy-ass deli mustard and served up on a blissful, pillowy rye. Then, wash that down with some corned beef, pickles and matzoh ball soup and I’m good to hibernate until Spring.

5 teeth

 

 

Peter Luger Steak House

178 Broadway Brooklyn, NY 11211(718) 387-7400 peterluger.com

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There are two types of New York Steakhouses, old school and new school. And while they both obviously serve steaks as their main event, I truthfully find the experiences to be apples and oranges. Refined versus reminiscent. Inventive versus simple. Pricey versus- okay, well they’re all pricey.

So, where does Peter Luger fall in this? At the very top of the apples (a.k.a old school). The steaks are sourced, aged and cooked to perfection, along with a little butter. Served sliced, which I found novel and a touch risky, allowing all of those juices to get out before serving (pictured), but somehow Peter overcame, serving up a buttery, delicious pile of sliced meat.

The other surprise was how casual the setting is. Similar to Old Homestead and Smith & Wollensky, Peter Luger leverages the Tudor house of décor, but the vibe and the details are such that it almost makes you feel awkward to be dressed up, unlike the aforementioned.

But perhaps the most shocking thing of all about Peter Luger is what I’m about to tell you next… Don’t go for the steak. Go for the strudel. I have been to the finest strudel maker in Vienna, where strudel is practically religion, and I submit to you now that Peter Luger’s apple strudel is better. So take that Austria. How you like them apples?

P.S. They used to only take cash, so bring a wad the size of your femur because the place isn’t cheap.

4 teeth