Woke up Saturday morning and was jonesing for some Katz's Deli pastrami. When that craving hits, it can only be satiated by heading down to Houston Street. It had been almost 2 months since my last visit, so this pilgrimage to the mecca of pastrami was way overdue. Plus I've wanted to write about the Katz experience.
That write-up will have to wait. This is how it went down. Walked up Orchard St., made a right on Houston, walked past all the food spots, fully focused on Katz's. As I'm walking past the windows I notice the workers behind the counter, but no customers. The alarms went off. Got to the door and the sign read, "Saturday 4/5 Closing at 5:30 for Private Party." (see above for a detailed dramatization) The watch said 7 so I was assed out. Since 10 am I had prepared myself for a sandwich and to get so close and be shut down was a major blow. Believe me, I've experienced much greater loss, but this was unexpected. My question was, who the fuck has enough pull to close down Katz's for an entire weekend evening? The Norwegian Ministry of Tourism would go berserk if they caught wind that their citizens were denied the meaty delicacy??? I'm traveling less than 20 miles so it's no big deal, but if I flew close to 4,000 miles to be greeted by that sign, there would have been a problem. But it gave me some ideas- if I play my cards right, my son's Bar Mitzvah party will be there. I'll have the turn tables in the corner and the Dr. Brown's will be popping. Cel-Ray for the ballers.
Might have been a blessing in disguise since I've wanted to try Georgia's Eastside BBQ which is right around the corner on Orchard St. That is the chi chi, swankified Orchard Street. To fit in you can cop a tight American Apparel v-neck in cantelope across the street. The place is tiny, but was able to sneak into a table for 2. THERE IS NO BATHROOM THERE SO TAKE CARE OF YOUR BUSINESS BEFORE HAND. There is an industrial sink to wash hands however. Unlimited soap.
The menu is short, just the staples. Peep it HERE. Better off so I didn't have time to be indecisive. I went in on the rib dinner and my dining companion ordered the fried chicken. Each dinner is served with 2 sides. Along with the everyday sides on the menu they have daily specials. Cheese grits were available so that was a no brainer. Ordered a Sweet tea to accompany the 'cue. Not many northern establishments do justice to southern sweet tea, but Georgia's pulled it off. They don't serve beer yet, but your allowed to bring your own.
The rib dinner came on a huge wooden chopping board. No need to be fancy when you're about to get filthy. GEB serves baby back ribs slow cooked with their own bbq sauce. About 10 ribs made up the portion, 10 meaty ribs. Cheese grits and collard greens made the cypher complete. They look good and they taste even better. The sauce isn't overpowering so you can taste the porkiness and there was a nice fat to meat ratio. You can ask for extra sauce, but there was no reason to. I'm not sure how the greens were prepared (pork or turkey), but they were delicious. Must have been cooked in vinegar because they were sweet and tangy. Grits don't come around these parts too often, and GEB made them just right. Cooked enough but not too much, so there was still some grittiness with each bite.
I wound up scoring a chicken leg, my favorite part- used to be the breast but you need 2 hands to maneuver that- and I was amazed with how good it was. Cooked to a nice golden brown, the crispy shell didn't crumble apart but stayed attached to the chicken. And that shit was MOIST. Biting into a crispy seasoned shell to be welcomed by some moist plump meat is one of life's finer things. No bullshit. I was shocked with how good it was.
There were some chocolate cupcakes when we arrived, but they vanished by dessert time. They had a pear/rhubarb crumble, but that wasn't calling me. Too soft. In total the meal cost $50 including tip. For the amount of quality food, very reasonable. There are a lot of BBQ spots in the city, and while I haven't tried all, Georgia's ranks up there with the better ones. Will definitely be there again. But need that Pastrami sandwich first.
Georgia's Eastside BBQ
192 Orchard St. between Houston St. and Stanton St.
New York, NY 10079