St. Patrick’s Day: A Deli Throwdown (by Justin The Intern)

Remember our interns? Justin has a story about St. Patrick’s Day and it goes something like this…

Corn Beef Sandwich

When St. Patrick’s Day is on a Monday, it’s hard to justify getting ridiculously drunk when you have to be at work the next day. It’s easy to justify eating copious amounts of delicious corned beef and pastrami however. This was my first experience with the world of New York City delis, one I had been greatly looking forward to for some time.

In attempt to sample the best, Carnegie Deli and Katz’s Deli went brisket-to-brisket in a winner-take-all throwdown. The menu was made up of pastrami and corned beef from each, great loaves of Sourdough and Rye from Amy’s Bread in Chelsea Market (right next to 9th Street Espresso), whole grain mustard, swiss cheese, and the garliciest dill pickles I’ve ever had. We sliced up the bread, spread on the mustard, and started tasting.

Katz's Meat

Katz’s Corned Beef and Pastrami

Carnegie Corn Beef

Carnegie’s Corned Beef

For me, the hands down winner in the corn beef category was Katz’s. I sneaked a piece before the table was set and I had to close my eyes for a private moment between myself and this wonderful meat. It had a perfect, subtle flavor of spices and saltiness and was lean, but not too lean. The texture was amazing–the great marbling made the meat almost fell apart. Carnegie’s corned beef was good, but reminded me of the corned beef I’ve had before. It didn’t move me the same way Katz’s which I think I’m going to dream about if I don’t eat at least once a week.

Carnegie Pastrami

Carnegie Pastrami

Then came the pastrami. Both delis had strong offerings but I think Carnegie wins by a nose. Again, it was all about texture. Both had a great peppery rim and just the right amount of fat marbled throughout. Carnegie’s fell apart a bit more (you could pull it apart with your fingers) and was cut a little thinner which made it easier to pile up on a sandwich. Still, both of these were amazing examples of how good pastrami can be.

Amy's Rye

Amy's Sourdough

The other winner here was the bread from Amy’s. I go there a lot in the mornings before work for their scones and applesauce donuts but hadn’t had their bread. It was the best rye I’ve ever had. Almost as dark as pumpernickle, it had a really complex flavor that was so much better than the one-note caraway taste that inferior rye usually gives. The sourdough was also great, and even had a festive little clover baked into the loaf.

Did I miss drinking several liters of beer and having blurry memories of the evening like I’ve done on so many previous St. Patrick’s Days in the past? Maybe a little, but something tells me this was a meal that will soon become a yearly tradition.

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