January 13, 2016. The day before National Hot Pastrami Day. The excitement was brewing. Which sandwich was I going to devour, and after nearly a 2 year hiatus... DOCUMENT!?!?!? Yup, you heard that right, the pointer, the middle finger and the thumb wanted to reunite the band and get back to the drawing board. And where better to do it than at a Jewish Deli reincarnate!
A lot had happened since the heyday of 2008 and they yearned for some of that good thing back. The trio missed the flashing lights, the endless shellfish towers, the flights to exotic lands to taste endangered vegetables, the red carpet treatment, the gluttony. They wanted to shock the world once again. And so they reconvened on a cold Wednesday night in Alphabet City to see if they still had that magic. It was nearly 8 years ago since they concocted the hit single Pastrami Dreams.
But Katz's Deli isn't in Alphabet City you say? New neighborhoods are created everyday and lines are blurred to self serve all these schmegegge heads, is that the case? Nope. The truth is, something new has arrived. I bring with me a heavy heart, yet a seasoned palate, and an open mind when I admit and come to terms with this. The Houston St. mainstay will always be in the Rushmore of deli meats, but in 2016 we break from tradition and forge a new path. Dad, I'm sorry, I think that even you, someone set in their ways, would see the light through carnivorous eyes. I'll bring one to the cemetery and let the juices drip down and permeate the ground so you can share in the pleasure and joy. I miss you pops.
(Apparently one thing that hasn't changed since my last posts is the rambling. But that's what you get when you buy tix to the Howfresh show!)
So now let's get to the meat of it! Hardyharharhar. But before that I have one more confession. There was no rye bread. NO RYE BREAD. WHO THE FUCK AM I??? Do I blame my shiksa girlfriend? She's actually my Latina novia but she's from Parkchester so she knows the private handshake and throws out yiddishisms whenever she can. The funny thing is I didn't even realize I was sinking my teeth into a hoagie roll until half the sandwich was missing. I was in the moment stuffing my face, and I loved it.
So without further ado, I introduce Harry & Ida's Pop's Pastrami. 1/2 a pound of rich, juicy, tender, smoky pastrami accessorized with "buttermilk-fermented cucumber, caraway cracked rye berry, anchovy mustard & dill" in a chewy yet light hero roll. Cut in half so you can ooh and ahhh from the impressive cross section.The roll is quite generously stuffed with crimson chunks of pastrami and the accoutrements are delicately placed near the mouth of the bread. For the size and quality, $17.50 is reasonable. My only complaint is that there wasn't enough of the thinly sliced cucumbers and sprigs of dill. I'm a sucker for dill and I do like to get the dillz sucked. Just saying. Otherwise, we're talking MVP candidate for sandwich of the year and the season hasn't even started!! It's that good. Always a fan of black pepper, there is no shortage of it in the brine. It resonates on the tongue for a considerable amount of time. Don't let the anchovy mustard spook you, since I didn't notice anything even remotely fishy, just mustard.
My grandfather's name was Harold, so the diminutive Harry already had me at hello. And of course the H!!! But I went in unbiased, aside from the fact that H&I Meat and Supply Co. is the brainchild of Will Horowitz and his crew at Ducks Eatery, a restaurant I keep wanting to return to. They just don't make subpar food. Thought, attention to detail and adventure are what you sign up for and they don't disappoint. The half a dozen or so other sandwiches on offer have piqued my interest, namely the smoked eel, and there are several homemade sides (faro salad) on the menu. Foxon Park sodas from Connecticut are stocked in the fridge, a brand you don't see too often. If one of the 3 or so stools by the window counter is unavailable (no tables) gladly grab grub to go.
Katz, I'm sorry.
Harry & Ida's Meat & Supply Co.
189 Ave. A (off 12th Street)
New York, NY 10009