Katz's Deli on East Houston Street in New York's Lower East Side is a bit of an institution, and for good reason.
It's a barn of a place that's been going since 1888 serving up vast portions of salt beef, hotdogs and legendary pastrami to hungry locals who crowd and queue to get a table. And queue they do, because even though Katz's can accommodate 355 diners at one sitting, the weekend sees a long line of rumbling tummies and smacking lips patiently meandering down E. Houston in anticipation of a chilli dog or a pastrami-and-fried-egg sandwich.
We went there to satisfy a yen for salt beef (confusingly called corned beef, which I've always associated with the fatty, tinny-tasting stuff that comes in oddly shaped cans) and by god! did it hit the spot. How could it not when they pile 8oz of moist, melting salt beef into a Reuben? And Swiss cheese, onions, mustard and chopped pickles, which they sandwich between two pieces of chewy rye bread. This is all served up a by a legion of red-faced short-order chefs who work at breakneck speed behind a steamy counter the length of the room, with clearly defined sections for hotdogs and knishes, 'corned' beef and pastrami, salami, cheesecake, cream sodas and frothy New York beer.
No wonder Bill Clinton is a regular.