Katz’s Delicatessen 205 E. Houston St./Ludlow St., Lower East Side, (800) 4-HOT-DOG, (212) 254-2246. M-Tu 8am-9:45pm, W-Thur to 10:45pm, F-Sat to 2:45am, Sun to 10:45pm.
Here since 1888, this casual spot with atmospheric hanging salamis is the oldest deli in NYC. There is no pork here, only kosher-style fare, and almost everything is made or cured on site. Service is cafeteria-style, and portions are huge. They are famous for their hot pastrami on rye and hot dog (the taught skin sort of pops when you bite in), but you can also get what they claim is New York’s best cheesecake or have what Meg Ryan had for lunch in that famous scene in “When Harry Met Sally” (customers have acted out this scene under the sign designating the spot). And then there are latkes (potato pancakes), stuffed cabbage, and knoblewurst (garlic sausage). But whatever you do, don’t lose the ticket you are given when you enter, or your bill will be $50.
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image c2009 Carole Terwilliger Meyers