Andrew Zimmern loves Katz’s Delicatessen, but you won’t find him at its DeKalb Market Hall outpost.
“I have no interest,” says the TV personality. “I like the original locations for a whole variety of reasons, mostly having to do with the energy and the history that’s in the building. You can feel those ghosts.”
The original Katz’s is one of seven spots featured in the New York episode of the TV host’s new Travel Channel series, “The Zimmern List,” which sees Zimmern visiting his favorite eateries in food cities across the country.
You won’t find the latest trendy hot spot on Zimmern’s NYC list, either, as the born-and-raised New Yorker checks off decades-old institutions such as Russ & Daughters and Grand Central Oyster Bar in the episode.
“Food is good — food with a story is better,” says Zimmern, who calls Minnesota home now. “Those places don’t stick around forever by accident.”
The chances of a new NYC restaurant becoming a classic are slim, too, he says.
“The real estate world has changed; Danny Meyer couldn’t even keep Union Square Café in its original location, so that tells you all you need to know about the real estate business,” he says. “I don’t think we’re going to have heritage places in Manhattan the way we do. It’s a very particular set of circumstances that allows those places to bloom.”
Here’s what Zimmern eats as he visits institutions in the New York episode, which aired this week:
L&B Spumoni Gardens
The sauce makes this pizzeria a favorite of Zimmern’s, who gets a side and a corner Sicilian slice. “Know what you want before you get there,” he advises in the episode. And if you’re a well-done corner person, “be prepared to wait.” (2725 86th St., Brooklyn)
Di Fara Pizza
This is “Valhalla for pizza lovers,” Zimmern says in the show. Forget just NYC — the square with cherry tomatoes and garlic “might be one of the best pizzas in the world,” he says in the show. (1424 Ave. J, Brooklyn)
Russ & Daughters
Zimmern’s usual order at the Jewish appetizing shop is a smoked Gaspe salmon and scallion cream cheese on a bagel, which he enjoys on the outside two-seater bench. (179 E. Houston St., Manhattan)
While visiting the Jewish deli for an egg cream and half-and-half pastrami and brisket, Zimmern runs into chefs Danny Bowien and James Syhabout. “Literally if you go to Katz’s on a weekend, you will run into chefs,” Zimmern tells us. “That’s just the way it is.” (205 E. Houston St., Manhattan)
Nom Wah Tea Parlor
Zimmern heads to the oldest dim sum place in NYC for its pork shumai and BBQ pork bao. If he had to pick a place to eat his last meal, this would be it, he says. (13 Doyers St., Manhattan)
Peking Duck House
Zimmern visits the Chinatown location for, of course, the Peking duck. (28 Mott St., Manhattan)
Grand Central Oyster Bar
Zimmern stops at the iconic oyster bar for its pan roast. “There’s no greater thing in the world,” he says in the show. (89 E. 42nd St., Manhattan)
“The Zimmern List: New York” airs Tuesday at 9 p.m. on the Travel Channel