The Shop Brings Katz’s Pastrami To Midtown (Sort of)
I don’t know what made me stop in at newly opened restaurant The Shop (5th Avenue at 41st Street) in the swanky boutique hotel, Andaz. It was sure to not be a Midtown Lunch: there aren’t any bargains and obviously its regular clientele are tourists. But, I did check out the lunch menu out of idle curiosity and was shocked to see something I’ve wanted in Midtown for years: Pastrami by Katz’s.
Yes, really. According to someone on staff, the theme of the restaurant is locally produced food and drink. They want to give their guests a bit of a culinary tour of New York, so they stock local pickles and NY State beer and the menu is full of organic this and farm raised that. And when it came to our famed Jewish Delis, they decided to just go get the best in town. I can’t argue with that.
I’m always skeptical when new hands get into old favorites, but being able to get my hands on that luscious pastrami mere blocks from my office would be amazing.
My high hopes allowed me to look past the $15 price tag, which is less than what I’d be paying if I took a trip down to the Lower East Side.
When I got the sandwich, I have to say I was disappointed by the reversal of the meat to bread ratio. Clearly, The Shop wasn’t going to be serving the monstrous, hand-cramping, jaw-breaking mountain of sliced meat between thin slices of rye, but I wasn’t expecting to find these rather thick slices of soft, fleshy rye bread taking up so much of the sandwich’s thickness. That’s not a bad thing. The bread is actually quite good, sprinkled with caraway seeds, it’s more than just a host for the filling.
The meat or lack thereof was the real disappointment. The portion probably looks fine if you’ve never been served a mountain of smoked meat on a couple slices of bread that you could barely wrap your hands around. If you’ve never had an old man behind the counter hand you a couple meltingly tender chunks of pastrami while you wait, you’ll never know what’s missing. But I have, so it just wasn’t the same.
The meat was also on the lean side, as opposed to the extra fatty cuts I would usually request from the counter at the source. I suppose this just means a trip to the Lower East Side is in order.
The + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- I’ve never been to New York before, so this is the best Pastrami I’ve ever had.
- There’s no way I can make it to the LES during lunch, but I need some good Pastrami.
- The rye bread is genuinely good.
The – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- I’ve been to Katz’s.
- I can go to 2nd Avenue Deli if I need a good Deli sandwich but can’t leave Midtown.
- I need a sandwich bigger than my head.
The Shop @ Andaz 5th Avenue, 485 5th Ave. (on 41st) 212-601-1234