This was our first trip to Katz's Deli, and I thank all of the good folks at TA for their reviews and preparing us as to what to expect.
On the day that we visited, we came from LI City, went to the upper east side of Manhattan, and worked our way down to the Staten Island Ferry. Because of the reviews and our curiosity about Katz, we wanted to include a stop at this famous NY deli. (Use mta.info to help you plan your subway travel). We were very glad that we did.
You will receive a ticket when you enter the restaurant. Hang on to this ticket, as you will need it when you leave. We asked how to order, and were told we could either go to the counter, or find a table near the wall in order to receive service. We arrived at about 5 o'clock on a Wednesday, and had no trouble finding a place to sit. Be prepared, however, for a fairly tight seat as tables are quite close together.
Our waiter was very friendly, courteous and helpful, offering suggestions about the menu and a cost effective way to order drinks.
We ordered 2 pastrami sandwiches, which we split, along with a side order of fries. Although we hadn't eaten since breakfast, this was plenty for the 4 of us. By normal restaurant standards, the sandwiches are huge. Again, thank you TA for the heads up, as we definitely could not have finished off a sandwich on our own, and really didn't want to carry around half a sandwich for the rest of our travels. For app. $16.00 for each sandwich, the cost, and the portions were reasonable for sharing.
The sandwiches were delicious and the fries hot and fresh. The meat was tender, (asked for a lean cut) the bread soft, and the side of pickels a nice compliment to go along with the meal. One of finest memories of NYC will now be the great tasting sandwich that we had at Katz, and it will truly be the standard to which we will now compare other deli sandwiches.
The atmosphere in Katz was equally enjoyable, as there are plenty of celeb photos gracing their walls, and a hang down sign that identifies the spot where Meg Ryan famously "enjoys" her sandwich in "When Harry Met Sally".
At the end of the meal, our waiter graciously took some time to chat with us, talk a little sports, and genuinely made us feel welcome. Another reason to fondly remember Katz and definitely a reason that we would recommend this restaurant to others.
One piece of advice that I would have for newbies at Katz: We were given the final total of our meal on the back of our ticket, and not an itemized bill. Without knowing their procedures, we simply assumed that this was the way things were done. Having already done the calculations, we knew that the amount was correct. However, in the future I would probably ask for an itemized bill, as is standard practice in other restaurants.
Bottom line: Katz is unique, friendly, welcoming, and has delicious food. We would definitely return and would not mind the the travel in order to have another truly satisfying experience.