Check out this story at Slate by Jordan Weissmann on how Katz’s stays in business:
The newer generation of artisanal delicatessens that have risen up in recent years—restaurants like Brooklyn’s Mile End Deli and Washington, D.C.’s DGS Delicatessen—are fundamentally different. They serve their own excellent, obsessively sourced variations of house-cured and smoked pastrami (or Montreal-style “smoked meat,” in Mile End’s case). But volume isn’t really part of their equation. Instead, they emphasize profitable alcohol sales and have more varied menus with higher margin main dishes. And crucially, they can pack less meat onto the plate, which would be anathema at an old-school deli like Katz’s.
“Katz’s is super-special. It’s the only thing of its kind in the entire world,” Mile End’s founder, Noah Bernamoff, tells me.
The reason Katz’s was able to live on while its competitors disappeared largely boils down to real estate. As Sax writes in Save the Deli, New York’s delicatessens can basically be divided into two groups: those that rent their buildings and those that own. Famous renters, like the Stage Deli and 2nd Avenue Deli, have closed in the face of rent hikes. Famous owners, like Carnegie and Katz’s, have lived on. (And when 2nd Avenue Deli reopened, it bought a building … on New York’s 3rd Avenue). If Katz’s had to deal with a landlord, it would likely have disappeared or moved long ago.
[Photo Credit: Antonio Bonanno]
A few weeks ago, Holland Cotter reviewed the new Matisse show in the Times:
For Matisse, self-appointed purveyor of luxe, calme, and volupté, it seems that trial-and-error rawness, some evidence of struggle, validated the work. You find a lot of such evidence in the zesty pinned-paper maquettes he made in 1943 for his book “Jazz,” for which he had high hopes. But when it was finally published in 1947, he hated it. All the irregularities of texture, the paper-on-paper depths, what Matisse referred to as the “sensitivity” of the designs, were missing. Printing had cleaned and pressed them in high-contrast graphics, polished, perfect and dead.
Texture. It’s the first thing I noticed about today’s apple a day: Hudson’s Golden Gem. It is rough and beautiful like a pear. Close your eyes and take a bite and damn if it doesn’t taste like a pear too.
Today’s apple-a-day is: Calville blanc d’hiver.
It’s tart with some sweetness. Not cloyingly sweet though. Almost too tart for my taste, at least as an eating apple (as opposed to a baking one).
And it’s beyond crisp. It’s dense and hard and crunchy.
The heirloom apple a day is: Reine des Reinettes.
This one has a lovely name, especially when a French-speaking person like my Ma says it.
My mom visited over the weekend and brought with her a fun treat from up north. A selection of apples. Five different varieties.
And so: An Apple a Day. First up, the Esopus Spitzenburg.
It’s a little tart but not too tart. Not mushy or crisp, somewhere in between.
I’m not expert but it’s a good apple.
Last night I sat at one of the community tables at Red Farm on the Upper West Side. I had a view of Broadway between 76th and 77th Street, and looked at the west side of the block where Big Nick’s used to be. Thirty years ago my father started dating the woman who’d become my step mother; she lived a block away, so I’m familiar with the vicinity. Or was.
Around me, the restaurant was clean, bright and full. The service was efficient and helpful, the food expensive, the portions small, and the taste, delicious. The crowd was well-scrubbed–the Hamptons, Abercrombie and Fitch, nouveau riche set. I was reminded of something a friend of mine told me last week. This friend is about 15 years older than me and he grew up on the Upper West Side in the 1960s and ’70s. He hasn’t lived there for years but recently went on a first date at a spot on Amsterdam Avenue. He sat with the woman at an outdoor cafe and she remarked how lovely it was. Knowing what it had once been, disgusted at what it’s become, he told her it was like sitting in the front row of a farting contest.
They didn’t have a second date. At Red Farm, the crowd, prices, and portions might be enough to keep a sensible person away. But the food was damn tasty so I think I’ll go again.
[Photo Credit: The Daily Muse]