It's on many a New York itinerary and it is definitely an experience.
The place is heaving - pretty much at all times it appears.
You can either do self-service, queue at the counter, then grab a seat with your food; or you can get a waited table.
You are also handed a ticket, which you use for paying with at the end. Losing the ticket incurs a $50 charge (and people lost their ticket while we were there).
We couldn't face the chaos at the counter so waited about 30 minutes for a waited table. The staff at the front were really upbeat, joking with the customers and keeping everyone motivated to persist with the wait.
Overall atmosphere was that of a busy train station but with retro furnishings (and yes, there is a large sign pointing to the "When Harry met Sally" table).
When we got a table we were asked to share with another couple. This would have been fine for us except that the other couple was so appalled at the idea of sharing with us, they audibly voiced their disgust, then started to build a wall made from menus to block out the sight of us. Not satisfied with heir work, they got more menus to build an even bigger wall.
The waiter was only marginally more welcoming, and did not wait for my husband's drinks order and just walked off. However, he was equally gruff with our reluctant table neighbours, so there was a sense of fairness. Dishes were unceremoniously thrown on the table, thumbs half inside the food, and questions were answered with the least possible effort - Katz really did live up to its reputation for theatrical rudeness.
The food was very good deli fare. The pastrami looked great but too large for me to even consider an attempt. I had the knockwurst, which was really tasty and served with heaps of different pickles. The macaroni salad was good too. Fries were perfectly golden and more akin to British chips.
Our waiter became a bit friendlier when he brought our bill and pointed out that a 20% tip is customary (he even did a partial Spanish translation of this advice for the people behind us).
Overall, great food and quite an adventure. I'd definitely recommend it for an interesting experience rather than a relaxing lunch / dinner.
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