"Over 125 years, we've seen New York become New York. When Katz's opened for business, the Empire State building wasn't here. The Chrysler wasn't here."
That's how Jake Dell, who with his father Alan currently runs the deli, hits home just how old Katz's is. New York didn't have a subway yet, but it had that pastrami.
For its 125th birthday, the Dells gathered four chefs to cook a meal as a fund-raiser for the Henry Street Settlement, a Lower East Side social justice organization nearly as old as Katz's itself, whose anti-poverty and job placement programs where integral, says Dell Sr., to making Katz's neighborhood a place worth championing.
Joey Campanaro (The Little Owl), Danny Bowien (Mission Chinese Food), Bill Telepan (Telepan), and Sarabeth Levine (Sarabeth's) worked together behind the line in full view of the night's diners, cooking the four-course meal of whitefish and latkes, kung pao pastrami, matzo ball soup, and a superlative cheesecake. Check out the slideshow above for all the highlights.