A Packed Crowd
Shmoozing, with knishes and cocktails, like you do at Katz's after hours.
Joey Campanaro's Whitefish
A filet of dense, flaky whitefish brightened by pickled tomato and red onion relish. The baby latke and spinach salad get a fishy jolt from trout roe.
The Little Owl chef looked almost bashful on stage: "I never thought I'd be here—cooking behind the lines at Katz's!"
MC Gilbert Gottfried
Of his many Yiddishe quips of the evening: "The only reason Katz's doesn't have a rat problem is because the rats all die of high cholesterol on their first day."
Also, a fine re-telling of the "taste the soup" joke.
Bill Telepan's Gussied Up Matzo Ball Soup
Deep, rich, meaty chicken broth, crisp-skinned chicken, fresh vegetables, dense dumplings, and light, airy matzo balls. Telepan's soup did the unthinkable: satisfy fans of sinkers and floaters. Hey, Katz's, maybe you could keep this on-menu for good.
So I was thinking of doing a matzo ball soup with chicken, and it turned into this—chicken in a pot."
The Dells are the third family to own Katz's. "When I was a kid my father would always bring me here and he'd shmooze with the owners. I didn't realize until I grew older that he was bargaining with them to sell the deli to me!"
Jake, Alan's son, recalls growing up in the deli, spending every birthday there.
Danny Bowien's Kung Pao Pastrami
Mission Chinese Food's now-iconic take on kung pao, this time with Katz's own pastrami. Brinier and, well, more Jewish than the original. Served with rice moistened with turnip vinaigrette and schmaltz.
"I think I'm the first Asian guy to cook at Katz's. At least the first one with pink hair."
Also, on his signature short shorts: "I thought, hey, cooking at Katz's, I should get some gear. So I got this apron. But then I realized that if I wear it, it looks like I'm not wearing any pants."
Shmaltz Brewing Company provided beer pairings for the evening, including a rather chocolate soda-esque nut brown ale. Though halfway through dinner I couldn't resist ordering some Cel-Ray for old times' sake.
Sarabeth Levine's Cheesecake
Light and airy, almost a tangy mousse, with a delicate orange sauce and topping of crystalized ginger.
"When I was growing up we always had to have a cheesecake, at every special meal. And it had to be a particular kind of cheesecake: it couldn't be too mushy or too sour cream-y. It had to be a little dry."
Still Going Strong
Here's looking to another 125, Katz's.