Katz's Deli: Go for the Pastrami, Not the Breakfast
The Breakfast of Chumps
As Alan Richman recently said, there is little worth eating beyond the pastrami, knockwurst, and hot dogs at the iconic Katz's Deli. Perhaps this isn't surprising. It is a bit like going to Peter Luger and ordering a fish and salad—yes, it's on the menu but nobody expects it to be good.
Some might say there is no point in reviewing food that "misses the point" of a restaurant (I get this from time to time in my hamburger reviews over at AHT) but my feeling is this: If an item is featured on a menu, it is fair game for review.
While we generally try to report on the positive here at Serious Eats, sometimes a negative review can be as useful as a good review, especially when the place has compelling food aside from the dishes warranting criticism. If Richman found the lunch and dinner menus underwhelming, he really would have been disappointed by the breakfast.
The only thing in its favor? You get a lot of food for the money—$7 buys you three eggs, two slices of toast, beef sausage, and a plate full of steak fries plus a large cup of canned orange juice. A few bucks more and you get three pancakes and sausage which seems far less of a bargain.
The pancakes are dense, leathery slabs served with the cheapest, high fructose corn syrup-laden syrup imaginable. Speaking of leathery, the beef sausage, which should be good considering how good the dogs and wursts at Katz's are, is a major letdown—oppressively salty and tough. You will be disappointed by both dishes.
And where are the pastrami and eggs? Talk about a missed opportunity. Katz's serves some of the finest pastrami in the world and it isn't even available for breakfast.
Go to Katz's for the wonderful pastrami and the hot dogs, but go elsewhere else for breakfast.