NYC Kosher Deli: Pastrami Queen on the Upper East Side Serves One of the Best Pastrami Sandwiches I’ve Had Outside of Katz’s Deli (Just Make Sure to Ask For It “Fatty”)

Date February 13, 2014


I’m paraphrasing Henry Miller’s “Tropic of Cancer” here when I say the best part of life is meeting new people because we can’t possibly experience all of what life has to offer on our own. That’s why I’m happy I stuck around after a comedy show a few weeks back to introduce myself to the very funny comedy duo Stone and Stone.  They offered two totally new experiences: their offbeat and hilarious brand of comedy AND new places to eat.  Our conversation strayed to my world of food and they praised Pastrami Queen on 78th and Lexington Avenue, a place I hadn’t tried.  And since we’re three Jews with a love for outlandish statements and cured meats, what better place than Pastrami Queen (one of the only truly kosher delis in Manhattan) to meet on a cold February night?

What the deli lacks in ambiance – it’s just a few small tables and a tall deli counter inside – it makes up for with its pastrami, especially if you ask for it fatty.  My overstuffed sandwich ($15.95) arrived on fresh, seeded rye bread, thin slices of machine-cut beef layered atop one another glistening under fluorescent lights.  It was one of the best pastrami sandwiches I’ve had in a while outside of Katz’s Deli.  And that’s a feat Pastrami Queen can be proud of because they key to Katz’s pastrami is that it’s hand cut against the grain of the meat resulting in bites that just crumble and melt in your mouth.  It’s the same principle you would apply to a great burger, you want it loosely packed so the fat and juices have little spaces to dwell within the meat and create extra flavor with every bite.   For Pastrami Queen to accomplishes the same crumbly, melt in your mouth quality even though its meat is sliced by machine is something to brag about.  The corned beef was equally fall-apart-tender but unfortunately the brisket was quite dry. Hand cut French fries were excellent, crisp as requested and about as thick as a diner fry so there was some actual potato inside as well.  I’m not on the Upper East Side often but thanks to the Stone brothers and Pastrami Queen, more frequent trips uptown may be in order.

Pastrami Queen

1125 Lexington Ave b/t 78th and 79th Street
New York, NY 10075
Open 10AM-10PM everyday

3 Responses to “NYC Kosher Deli: Pastrami Queen on the Upper East Side Serves One of the Best Pastrami Sandwiches I’ve Had Outside of Katz’s Deli (Just Make Sure to Ask For It “Fatty”)”

  1. Marty Oppenheim said:

    This excellent deli is an old established business. It used to be across from the courthouse in in Kew Gardens and was called “Pastrami King” but had a sex change when it moved into Manhattan!

  2. The NYC Food Guy said:

    I did not realize this. I grew up a few blocks from there in Forest Hills and we went once in a while (we were a Ben’s Best family).
    Have you been to the Manhattan establishment?

  3. Anna Edwards said:

    I love Katz’s. I hate paying full price for anything. In NYC I use 365 Guide New York City. It lists restaurant deals and bar specials in NYC.

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