Eating pastrami on rye from Pastrami Queen feels as quintessentially New York as hailing a cab on 5th Avenue or stepping in a puddle and screaming a synonym for sexual intercourse that starts with F as small children pass by.
This kosher Jewish deli in the East 70s has been open since 1956, which should be obvious when you see the straightforward counter setup and the TV playing NY1 in the back. It's where you should go to get the finest pastrami sandwiches with pickles on the side. The sandwich you order will be simple: fatty pastrami on half-inch thick rye with a swipe of dijon in between.
If you're looking to watch whatever cable news segment is playing on TV while you wolf down a cup of matzo ball soup and a sandwich, there are a few metal tables decorated with bottles of ketchup and mustard. But if it's warm out, take your food to park. That way you can sit in the grass for half an hour while you forget the monstrosities happening on your phone. Will there be a random saxophonist playing “Amazing Grace” on a bench? Will you cry? We hope, for your sake, the answer is yes.
The meat here tastes slightly leaner than what you'll find at Katz's, which is why we prefer this pastrami sandwich over the one at that (albeit legendary) downtown deli.
In the disheartening-but-understandable case that you aren't in the mood for pastrami, Pastrami Queen's cold, thick slices of turkey make for a perfect alternative.
Matzo Ball Soup
Pastrami Queen's matzo ball comes with one big ball and plenty of noodles. Unsurprisingly, this is a very comforting thing to eat when you feel like a pail of compost inside.