The Sandwich Shop Anthony Bourdain Always Visited In New York City

Abroad, Anthony Bourdain dug into such craveable dishes as noodle soup in Vietnam and kuching-style laksa. But, when he was chowing down Stateside, Bourdain was kicking it New York Style with none other than a classic pastrami sandwich.

The NYC pastrami sandwich is iconic, a symbol of Jewish culture and culinary prowess all wrapped up in white deli paper. Katz's has perhaps received the most notoriety of all the New York delis. Indeed, Bourdain also visited the world-famous Barney Greengrass in an episode of his first show "A Cook's Tour" in 2002. But, in a 2017 interview with Variety, Bourdain places Pastrami Queen at the top of the list of his hometown favorites. "The first thing I get when I'm back in New York is a pastrami sandwich. Pastrami Queen is a really good pastrami sandwich — if not the best, among the very best," the chef-slash-writer tells the outlet. "Just a good, nice mix of fat and lean ... And they deliver — very happy with that. I get a cream soda. It's a quintessential New York meal for me."

When Bourdain said Pastrami Queen's pastrami on rye sandwich was the number one food he craved the most while traveling around the world, he meant it. In one Instagram post from 2016, Bourdain posted an intoxicating photo of a Pastrami Queen sandwich with the caption "Straight off the plane. 10AM. The Joys of travel are many, but sometimes there's no place like home."

A taste of NYC, the classic way

So, what makes the Pastrami Queen sandwich so special? It'll set you back $26.50, but this is not your ordinary pastrami on rye. For one thing, it's massive. Like, fork-and-knife massive, and certified kosher. The overstuffed pastrami is hand-cut and smoked for a simple yet impactful taste. The rye bread is sourced from the local Orwasher's Bakery, then slathered with mustard and house-made garlic pickles. The menu also offers other classics like matzo ball soup and chopped liver.

There are three Pastrami Queen locations — two restaurants in Manhattan's Upper East and West Sides, as well as a newly-opened stand inside Penn Station's Moynihan Food Hall. For non-New Yorker foodies, Pastrami Queen ships nationwide via Goldbelly.

The home page of the Pastrami Queen website displays an accolade from Anthony Bourdain: "The real deal pastrami sandwich." Foodies have been flocking to it since 1956 when it originally opened as "Pastrami King," and they haven't only been returning for the meat. Pastrami Queen illuminates a rare nostalgic glimpse at the illustrious, elusive ideation of "old New York." As Bourdain puts it in the aforementioned "A Cook's Tour" episode, "New York, New York. It's not just a place — it's an idea ... Sometimes it sucks. The people are gruff, the streets aren't clean, the rents aren't cheap, and these days Times Square looks like a theme park ... But you know what? I love it here even when I hate it. It's the place I call home."