A Jew and his sandwich

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You didn’t go to a Chinese restaurant?

Will this war on Jewish Christmas never end?!?


I’ve found two pretty epic pastrami sandwiches in Chicago. One ‘Montreal style’, which is a bit different from the NY deli style, at Fumare Meats. And the other NY deli style near the University of Chicago (cant remember the name of the place though). Surely there are quite a number of others as well.

Went to the 2d Ave Deli, back in the 80s. Was not disappointed.


There is always Manny’s, expensive but good.

Also if you wish to venture out of the city there are a couple of good places in Lincolnwood.

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Montreal-style? Smoked meat? They don’t normally do pastrami in Montreal, but the smoked meat is to die for. If you ever visit Montreal, hit Schwartz’s on the Main (St. Laurent Blvd.) a few blocks North of Sherbrooke St.

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Philly had a couple of great little Jewish delis back in the 80s, within walking distance of the Museum district. But the last time I was there they’d closed down; I’m guessing the ancient menschen that ran them finally died, because I just can’t imagine them ever retiring.

Now I want a reuben, dammit, and it’s well before 11am here.


That brings back memories of the deli in the town where I grew up–very old-school Jewish deli, with salamis hanging in the window. They had a great pastrami sandwich. Good corned beef, too. Sadly, when the original owners retired, one of their sons took over and turned it into a rotisserie chicken place, and eventually it closed.

I love a good corned beef or reuben sammich. I don’t know what is the norm, if it is served with thousand island or russian dressing… but i’m probably a monster for preferring it with stone ground mustard (if available). I’ve never had a real pastrami sandwich however, would be down to have some if i had a good deli nearby (i’m in Austin, TX).

How about Eli’s which is somewhere like N and 19th NW or so?

I wish I could remember the name of the place where I had my first New York pastrami sandwich. There was a charge for “sharing” which made this silly Tennessee boy laugh until the sandwiches–like big red phone books–were brought to the table. And then I took a bite and laughed because nothing could have convinced me to share.

And that’s why I never forgot a bit of dialogue from when the sitcom Gimme A Break moved to New York:

“Will we be able to get a pastrami sandwich there?”
“Honey, this is New York. The vending machines have pastrami sandwiches.”


You’re forgetting Sarge’s just up 3rd from second ave deli. I should know, 'cause i had a pastrami from Katz’s, 2nd ave del, -and- Sarge’s for lunch on the Wednesday before Christmas. Now lets talk about what you can barter for Pastrami shipped to you?

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Nothing on Sarge’s, but I’ll take the 2nd Ave. Deli.

The difference between Russian Dressing and Thousand Island is relish. Russian Dressing, which my mother used to make on most nights she cooked, is just Mayo and Ketchup. No relish.

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Now that’s a Christmas.
We were in NYC in Sept, stayed right down the street from Katz’s (Hotel East Houston, nice place). We got to our hotel, checked in, dropped our bags and went for pastrami. That’s my wife’s favorite, we’ve been a few times over the years, but I like Sarges, too. Haven’t been there since like 2009. They have great chicken soup.

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Montreal smoked beef is almost alway brisket - one of the cuts often the basis for pastrami. It’s treated differently from NY style pastrami though, yeah.

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Yeah, I vote for Katz’s pastrami too, I like the dated vibe better than 2nd Ave, and love to watch it being sliced. Used to play league pool at a bar down the street, Max Fish, that let you bring in food. That was dangerous to my health.


I was going to mention Fumaré Meats! Lots of other options too, especially if you go up to Touhy Avenue, Lincolnwood, Skokie, etc.

I think you mean Bergstein’s NY Deli. It’s their second location in the greater metropolitan area, first one IN in the city. Never been, but it seems to get good reviews.

Probably the Stage (which closed a year or so ago) or Carnegie Deli. Both charge for sharing.

Next time you’re in Los Angeles, skip Art’s and try Langer’s. Arguably the best pastrami sandwich in the world (and here arguably = as decided after lengthy research by David Sax, as described in “Save The Deli: In Search of Perfect Pastrami, Crusty Rye, and the Heart of Jewish Delicatessen”).


2nd Ave Deli is our preferred deli for extended sit down meals. A much better hangover cure than the typical weekend brunch. Katz’s is great, but its often so hectic and crowded we usually just grab a sandwich, split it, and run. Katz’s Deli will ship you various things. Its a bit pricey and I’ve had difficulty with their online store front (I once tried to ship a salami to my brother in the Army (actually Marines) to no avail). Its expensive but they ship nation wide.

As for this:

“You should know that brisket, corned beef, and pastrami are all the exact same cut of beef, merely prepared differently.”

No. Corned and pastrami are methods of preparation. Brisket is a a cut of beef that can be prepared by any method. Corned beef is simple beef cured with salt and nitrates. Pastrami is the same product rolled in pepper corns and smoked. Brisket is currently the most common cut for corned beef and pastrami. But traditionally pastrami was made from beef navel (apparently also called plate). And a lot of old school New York butchers (especially Jews) still swear by it even though its not commonly available.

One of my regulars at the bar grew up in Mass in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. Worked his way through college in a very old German deli and grocery. The corned beef (and salt pork) barrels were what happened to meat that went too long unsold. Big barrels of brine to which salted cuts that were in danger of spoiling were introduced. Enterprising customers would insist on digging through the barrels themselves. Most of the meat was indeed brisket, navel, and round. But with a bit of luck you might run into something as impressive as a full corned rib roast for your Sunday [boiled dinner].(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_England_boiled_dinner)

For what its worth even though the classic Jewish Delis seem to be shutting down left and right, quality pastrami and corned beef seem to be ever more available in NYC. With butcher shops and restaurants taking it as a point of pride to produce their own.