Is Pastrami Queen the Upper East Side's best option for a pastrami sandwich? It's been turning out a fine rendition ($17) on 78th and Lexington since 1995.
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At Eisenberg's, your Reuben ($10) is offered with corned beef, pastrami, or turkey; pastrami's the way to go.
Langer's Deli in Los Angeles celebrated its 65th Anniversary by giving away free #19 pastrami sandwiches for two days straight. Cured, smoked, steamed, and carved by hand, some call the #19 the best pastrami sandwich around.
If you've never been to David's Brisket House, now is a good time to make your first pilgrimage. The Bed-Stuy institution—a longstanding Jewish deli now operated by Muslims—has re-opened its doors after being closed for over two months of renovation.
Freddie's Sandwiches has been around since 1926 which, in California terms, is a real long time. So you have to assume they have to be pretty good at what they do, particularly in North Beach, a neighborhood that has turned much of the authentic into the tourist-driven.
A common argument among Philadelphians is what sandwich defines us best: the famous cheesesteak or the slightly lesser known roast pork. While I've eaten plenty of both, my vote goes to the Italian hoagie. Not a ham and cheese sub, or some ciabatta-arugula trainwreck, but a real Philadelphia hoagie.
Attman's, located in Baltimore's Corned Beef Row, bills itself as a real Lower East Side-style New York Jewish delicatessen. The atmosphere and attitude are spot on. The service is gruff and fast-paced—you'd better know what you want before you start talking to the deli man. After I ordered my corned beef on rye, I jumped in with a last-minute decision: "I'll have a hot dog too, please."
As Good Stuff Eatery fans, we were curious about Spike Mendelsohn's recently launched kosher deli food truck, Sixth and Rye. Considering the dearth of Jewish delis in D.C. and the delicious-sounding menu, it was no surprise that Sixth and Rye opened to 30-minute lines when it first hit the streets. After patiently waiting, we ordered the corned beef sandwich, challah loaf, black and white cookie, pickles, cous cous salad, and seltzer lemonade.
The Renzo Special ($8.75) is one of nine sandwich combos at Molinari's, a back-to-basics Italian deli and sandwich shop complete with hanging salamis and walls of pasta. The storefront would be at home in any city's Little Italy, but the prime selection of neighborhood-sourced sandwich ingredients makes Molinari straight San Francisco.
Bibimbap and Reubens from one deli? That you have to walk through an office building, past a doorman to find? It's a little confusing, but something of a Korean deli speakeasy, and just a five-minute walk from SEHQ.
Jay's Deli is your basic center city corner grocery that just happens to make awesome sandwiches at the deli counter. Normally I might be sketched out ordering chicken salad from a corner store, but this place is super clean, always busy, and every sandwich is made to order. The combination of slightly sweet cranberry chicken salad, crisp bacon, lettuce, tomato and a smear of mustard on freshly toasted bread was delicious, uber fresh, and just the break from foot-long pepperoni-ranch cheesesteaks I've been looking for.
This strip-mall deli (next to the Kmart in Fairfax, Virginia) doesn't look like much, but the Hot Sicilian ($10 for an 8" sandwich, $13 for 12") is a sandwich worth seeking out. The meat is freshly sliced, and the bread just soft enough to make eating this monster sub easier. Topped with fistfuls of salty salami and coppa, fiery hot pickled peppers, and cooling provolone, the flavors mingle under a splash of oil and vinegar.
The smoked meat sandwich is as quintessential to Montreal cuisine as poutine, and of all the places that serve it, Schwartz's Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen is the gold standard. Smoke brisket piled high on un-toasted sliced bread, with a meager spread of mustard. The quality of the smoked brisket is what elevates this sandwich.
Fricano's is an offbeat deli and neighborhood hangout in a strip mall near the University of Texas in Austin. It's a laidback place plastered with artwork and hand-written menus, run by a dedicated group of friends that have taken the business from hidden gem to one of the city's favorite sandwich spots since opening in 2006. Lately they've also developed a following for their crazy hot dogs, made with Boars Head all-beef franks and loaded with homemade toppings.
The crew at Serious Eats has loved the idea of Mile End, a self-styled Montreal deli in New York, since it opened just about one year ago. We all love the Montreal-style smoked meat we've eaten at Schwartz's, and of course our love of pastrami and smoked meat knows no bounds. It's just that every time we have tried Mile End's smoked meat, it hasn't been quite right. But how does their brand-new dinner menu stack up?
Cheese fries: been there, eaten that. But pastrami cheese fries? It's hard not to notice them under the "Sides & a la Carte" section of the Kenny & Zuke's menu. The words are practically yelling at you, highlighted in a special yellow box with curly font and "ONLY $8.50." Once you spot them, you really don't read anything else. Kenny & Zuke's claims to have some of the best pastrami in the world. Well, the world, if you don't count New York.
Just like you can't leave Peter Luger without ordering steak, you really can't go to Ben's Best Delicatessen without biting into a pastrami sandwich. In this latest episode of Food Curated from documentarian Liza de Guia, we meet Jay Parker, the third generation owner of the deli in Rego Park, Queens. He started as a grill boy at age 13, where his job involved making sense of frenetic orders: "four with, three plain, two with mustard, hoo behhh fehhh faster, faster!" (that was pretty much a direct quote from the video). But even years later, the pastrami is still slow-cooked exactly the same way.
People don't go into Deli King for four pounds of meat, they go to get what their parents got fifty years ago.
"A lot of places, they just throw everything on there and load it up too much," said Willie, who told me he used to work at Graham Avenue Meats and only filled in for the owner when the owner was away. "When you do that, you can't taste the different flavors."