“We’re thinking of calling it Pop’s,” Will Horowitz told me a few months ago when he gave me a sneak peek of his new Alphabet City trading post/deli/laboratory. He was taking delivery of a comically large immersion blender that looked like an outboard motor. The name’s been changed to Harry & Ida’s Meat and Supply Co., and I had a chance to stop by earlier this week.
Never has such a short menu of sandwiches confounded me so much. “Gee the cured meats with fennel chili butter sounds real good, and so does the smoked eel with kalechee butter,” I said like a kid in a candy—er meat—store, “but I really want to try the pastrami.”
“Why don’t you start with the pastrami,” Horowitz said as he assembled several of the shop’s signature Pop’s Pastrami ($17.95). The sandwich is packed with luscious smoky beef and crowned with housemade pickles and dill. In keeping with New York City deli tradition, there is, of course, mustard. Harry & Ida’s breaks with tradition in its choice of bread, though. Rather than the typical rye, Horowitz uses a pillow club roll from Pain d’Avignon. The resulting sandwich is like eating a rather filling cloud of Jewish deli history.
“We use only the deckles,” Horowitz said when I asked what made his pastrami so luscuious. That and a time-tested recipe from his great-grandparents, Harry and Ida, make for the best pastrami sandwich currently being served in Alphabet City. As I was leaving a new crop of customers entered and seemed befuddled by the sandwich offerings. “Why don’t you start with the pastrami,” Horowitz said like the old-school deli man he is fast becoming.
Afterwards I stopped by Horowitz’s restaurant Duck’s Eatery to say hi to his sister, Julie. I told her that with all of its preserves, butters, charcuterie, and snake bite kits, Harry & Ida’s would make a perfect destination for a culinary minded East Village survivalist. “Don’t laugh,” she said, “We had considered selling iodine tablets and Tang.
Will Horowitz and team Ducks will be at The Catskills Comes to Queens on August 1. I can hardly wait to see—and taste—what they prepare!