BEST DELI (2005)

Katz Delicatessen & Restaurant

They say you can tell a good Chinese restaurant by how many Chinese people are dining there, and we feel the same way about a good deli, if you know what we mean, which is why we were so happy to see a nice Jewish guy like David Leibowitz on a recent trip to Katz Deli. Leibowitz works up the street at KTAR radio, and assured us he's a regular. So are we, after tasting the chopped liver, which, to us, is the most important item on the menu at any deli.

We dragged a friend from New York along on our deli mission. At first, she suggested we simply recommend that anyone looking for good deli food in Phoenix have it FedExed in from Carnegie Deli in Manhattan. Very funny, we said. She changed her mind after lunch at Katz Deli, where she pronounced the whitefish as good as the chopped liver (although she found it odd that the whitefish salad was orange) and gave the corned beef the New Yorker's seal of approval.

She also nodded her approval at the decor, which could have been plucked out of any one of a number of boroughs (think wood paneling and cartoons from the 1970s, along with faux-leather booths dating back at least that far). The friendly help? Now that wasn't so New York. But that was just fine with everyone.


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