Orgasm fake-off at Katz's Deli celebrates 30th anniversary of "When Harry met Sally"

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Those are fighting words. (Although I’ll stipulate that while good, Katz’s is overrated.)

Seattle is worse (especially so now that Goldberg’s closed down, much to my dismay – that place was legit).


That’s like saying fake orgasms are better than real orgasms… :wink:


The most embarrassing restaurant scene? In hindsight, I think “Maybe it’ll go away” is the funniest thing in the video:

biz definitely isn’t slow at Katz’s, I tried to go last year and there was an hour wait at 3pm.


I would attribute this more to the LES being transformed from being more gritty and off the beaten path to it becoming yet another tourist-packed area thanks to recent hypergentrification.


Several years ago a co-worker (having returned 2 weeks before from his NYC business trip) showed me his ‘prize’ — half-eaten — corned beef sandwich, scored from Katz’s, and which he had stashed in his office desk. He explained that the sandwich was too big to consume in one go, so he brought it back with him and had been noshing on it every now and then for 2 weeks since his return. (!!!) I was sure the salted beef would keep for that long… but the bread?


I had a very good pastrami sandwich (and awesome knish) at Katz’s, but it has so many arcane rules that it’s almost inevitable that newbie tourists will get yelled at or scowled at. I know, that’s part of its old-school NYC charm, but it’s not my idea of a good time.


2 weeks?

That’s… not good. (One doesn’t know how old the beef was before it was sold, and recommended storage times are on the order of 5-7 days, refrigerated.)


I will forever mourn the loss of Ratner’s. Especially the bakery. Haven’t seen a good onion plätzel since they closed.

New York. Not just the city itself but the entire Metro area (which is the largest in the world) has a deli on every street corner. Old school, sit down, Jewish Deli’s are far from the sum total of NY Delis. You got your Italian and German Delis. Polish and Eastern European Delis of various sorts. I have been to a flippin Japanese Deli. One of the best Tacos to be had in NYC comes from a Latino Deli on the Lower East Side.

So to say any city even has Delis the way New York has Delis, none the less than the Delis there are
“Better” is pretty much impossible. New York is a Deli culture to the bone, you are pretty much born, raised, and die in Delis.

If there’s any meat on this at all. Its down to the sheer number of old school places that have gone under due to the phenomenal expense of real estate and predatory rents in The City itself. And despite Cory’s weird justification for moving to California, if that hasn’t consumed LA’s classics yet. It soon will.

Katz is primarily a counter service place. If the table service area is operating there’s almost always a multi-hour wait for a table. But 90% of the seating is dedicated to counter service. So you just get on the line and it moves quick. I’ve never in my life waited for a table in there, and the longest amount of time I spent working my way through the counter was an hour on a weekend day during the lunch rush.

Nothing on that list is a “rule”. At best that’s a list of recommendations. Katz’s has a weird, confusing method for handling their counter service with the tickets and multiple counters where different items are ordered. Which is sort of a thing with NYC Jewish owned businesses (have you been to B&H?). Its not exactly where you go for a relaxing service meal. But there are people on hand who’s specific job is to explain it to people who are unfamiliar, since its a big tourist destination. Any yelling and scowling is just a result of the volume of people in there, and if its that crushed even folks who know what’s up are getting yells and scowls.


Nobody goes there any more. It’s too crowded!


I went with two friends; we all held tightly to our tickets and tried to figure out which line to get into. We chose incorrectly and got yelled at. We got our food and it was good. But it was No Fun. I did not enjoy the attitude.


Honestly, Los Angeles delicatessens are better than NYC.

Better? No. But equal. And definitely a bigger selection of world-class old-school Jewish delis like Canter’s and Langer’s and Nate 'n Al.

Also the other two famous Manhattan Jewish delis (Stage and Carnegie) permanently closed. Second Avenue Deli is still around but isn’t as well-known to tourists as the others (a shame, because you can check out some of the old Yiddish theatres nearby). Katz’s only survived because they owned the building and lot and were able to sell the air rights to a developer (and only became known to tourists after “When Harry Met Sally”).

It’s a rite of passage for tourists and NYers. I like the interaction with the countermen, the samples, the self-serve water cooler, the old-fashioned ticketing system. The two big no-no’s are straying into the wrong line and sitting in the area where you’re waited on by server when you picked everything up at the counter. And don’t lose your ticket!

Think of Katz’s like you do Bernie Sanders: old, Jewish, and crabby and disheveled, but if you pay attention to what’s suggested it makes sense and pays off.

And remember, folks, we’re fighting fascists again: Send a Salami to your Boy in the Army!


Heartfelt salute to Lucca’s Italian deli in SF, so great, so gone, sorely missed. Used to be able to walk there when we lived in Bernal Heights, then we moved to Marin and I discovered the joys of their parking lot (!) behind the Valencia store. The ravioli was excellent, the pesto sublime, the cheeses and meats, oh and the focaccia! Luckily many of these items are still available elsewhere but I’ll miss the ambiance. Second to last time I was there as I checked out I told the guy “Man I am gonna miss this place. Been coming here for nearly three decades.” I turned to the crowd of people and asked in a loud somewhat choked up voice “Who else here has been coming to Lucca’s for decades?” More than half the people raised their hands. It wasn’t a sandwich and pickle sit-down place by any means. I never thought to fake an orgasm in there. Maybe I should have…


The only LA deli I’ve found that ranks very well against NYC’s best deli’s is Lenny’s in Westwood. Lenny’s took over Junior’s spot there several years ago; although not strictly old school (as good ol’ Junior’s was) it’s very good, but last I saw, unlike Junior’s there was no sturgeon on the menu (a very tasty fish that everyone should try at least once in their life!)

PS: Junior’s in Westwood was introduced to me by (see my earlier post) the same guy who brought back a Katz sandwich from his NYC business trip.


I was super sad when Carnegie closed. I know it was a big touristy spot but it still felt like a dive and their pastrami was to die for. I’d go there every time I made it to NY.

In the case of Carnegie’s closure, it wasn’t the rent, it’s just that the owner wasn’t interested in running a restaurant anymore and instead opted to license the name. It’s a damn shame.


Carnegie also had some problems with the gas main hookup. But yeah, the lady who owned it just got tired. Stage closed because of yet another greedy landlord. A shame both are gone, although I heard whoever bought the Carnegie name did a pop-up in NYC to cross-promote “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”.


I wonder what’s going to happen to Lenny’s when rents in the neighbourhood skyrocket after Google is fully moved into the old Westside Pavillion. Apple Pan got bought by a wealthy couple (Irving and Shelly Azoff, who also bought Nate 'n Al in Beverly Hills) so it will survive, but other businesses around there are in for a wild ride.


Try Brents in Northridge. I am a fan of Izzy’s in Santa Monica, but folks love Fromin’s too. Nate 'n Al’s is the best sandwich place to hit akin to a NY jewish deli.

Bay Cities Italian Deli is the best deli/market.