When asked for recommendations, any proud New Yorker will gladly offer up their personal tips for the best bagels or the best New York pizza, but if you’re on the hunt for a truly iconic New York dish—that one thing that just doesn’t taste the same anywhere else—look no further than classic corned beef in NYC. Popularized by Jewish and Irish immigrants in the 19th century, corned beef is typically made from a kosher cut of beef brisket that’s been cured with corn kernel–size salt crystals for anywhere from three to 30 days. The result is a tender, flavorful slab of rubescent beef ready to be sliced up for sandwiches or served alongside cabbage. So whether you’re looking to reconnect with your Irish-American heritage with a hearty plate of corned beef and cabbage at one of the best Irish restaurants in NYC or challenge yourself with a monster-size corned beef on rye at one of our best Jewish delis, we’ve got all bases covered with these places known for slinging some of the best corned beef in NYC.
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Best places to get corned beef in NYC
Venue says: “Sarge's Deli is the destination for old world food like pastrami, corned beef and matzo ball soup.”
For over 50 years, this Jewish deli has served as a beacon of hope for the city that never sleeps—it slings multiple variations of corned beef, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, year-round. Whether you’re craving a classic corned beef Reuben lathered in Swiss and sauerkraut or a king-size portion of corned beef, cabbage and potatoes, Sarge’s has got you covered, morning, noon and night.
House-cured corned beef variations abound at this East Village export. Although the deli’s address changed, moving uptown in 2006, its kosher staples kept on. Juicy salt-cured corned beef can be ordered hot or cold, atop thick-cut Jewish rye or alongside tender cabbage. And if that isn’t enough, take some to go—it even offers fresh corned beef by the pound.
Dubbed the most authentic Irish pub in NYC, Molly’s is a rustic respite from the Midtown hustle. Bedecked with mahogany benches, Celtic crosses and a sawdust floor, it’s no surprise that Molly’s excels in Irish-American comfort grub. Slow cooked and tender, Molly’s corned beef and cabbage is served with boiled potatoes and carrots alongside a creamy parsley-filled saucière. Come for lunch or dinner.
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Adam Kuban
This neighborhood grocery store is your one-stop shop for Irish and British imports. Shelves are stocked with everything from Magners to Marmite, while the deli case is overflowing with regional delicacies like kidney pie and black pudding. Hot dinners change daily, so it’s best to call ahead, but you can usually expect a hearty Thursday offering of corned beef, cabbage and boiled red potatoes.
While most commercial corned beef is quick-cured (read: pressure-injected) in just 36 hours, the fine craftsmen of Katz’s prefer to take the slow (and flavorful) road, salt curing their corned beef for a full 30 days. The result? A mile-high sampling of hand-carved, melt-in-your-mouth brisket that needs no flare—just a dab or two of spicy brown mustard.
Known for its tome-like menu of throwback libations, this 19th century–style Irish tavern gives Gothamites good reason to venture downtown during off-peak hours. And as if its historical cocktail nods weren’t reason enough, get this: The Dead Rabbit serves a killer corned beef sandwich. Pressed between two slabs of sturdy rye, layers of warm, salt-cured brisket ascend into a crown of creamy house-made coleslaw and melty Gruyère cheese—a sandwich fit for a king (or 19th century proletarian).
Sure, Ulysses is a fan favorite among the Wall Street happy hour crowd, but there’s one fact that may have gotten lost among all those pints of Guinness and Harp: Ulysses does a mean brunch. That’s right. Every Sunday from 11am to 3pm, brunch-hounds can navigate a multi-tier buffet which includes everything from fresh smoked salmon and made-to-order omelets to Guinness porter cheese and applewood bacon. Just make sure to save room for the crowning glory that is the hot corned beef carving station.
Appropriately outfitted in limestone and wood sourced from bygone Irish castles and cathedrals, Tír na nÓg is a breath of authenticity amid the big box regime of Midtown. Traditional corned beef and cabbage is served alongside a bevy of Irish classics like shepherd’s pie and bangers and mash. Whatever your pleasure, just be sure to wash it down with one of six traditional Irish drafts on tap.
Looking for more sandwiches?
The Taco Shop
At this West Village taqueria, the menu is split into two distinct parts: tacos and “not tacos.” Mix and match the nine varieties of tacos—baja fish, chicken tinga, cochinita pibil, spicy chorizo and more—for just $3.50 apiece. You can supplement your feast with ceviche ($5.50), pork tamales ($5), quesadillas ($3.50) and, of course, guacamole ($4.50 for a small, $9.50 for a large). Then there are sides, like sweet fried plantains, pickled carrots and jalapenos and grilled corn on the cob with cojita cheese ($3 each or three for $7.50). Wash down your taco-centric meal with a bottle of sweet, neon-hued Jarritos soda ($3) in lime, tamarind, pineapple or orange. The happy hour deal might tempt Mexican food lovers even more: for just $12, you’ll get three tacos and a beer or margarita.
Venue says: “Make sure to check out our Happy Hour, 3 Tacos and a Margarita or Beer for $12. Monday-Fridays 4-7pm”