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What goes better with pastrami?

O.K. this is an on going stupid argument that me and a friend are having. The argument is; which is the more traditional accompaniement for a good pastrami sandwhich; french fries or potato salad? We live in Dayton, Ohio and you can't get a good pastrami sandwhich without driving a 100 miles. I grew up in NJ and remember my parents going to the local deli and comming home with pastrami, rye bread and a pint of potato salad (usually German), so I say potato salad. My friend who was born and raised in the Dayton area, but is married to a NJ girl, and goes back to NJ about once a year and raves about the steak fries he gets with his pastrami sandwhich, he says fries! What do you east coast Chowhounds think, salad or fries? Like I said this is a stupid argument, let me know what you think.

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  1. I grew up in NJ as well and vote potato salad but would never use German Potato Salad with the best sandwich in the world. NJ had three great pastrami places in my neighborhood, Goodmans in Elizabeth, Kartzmans in Union and Tabatchnicks in Millburn. Keep the sandwich simple with rye bread (seedless)and a great brown mustard, never yellow. The potato sald had to be mayo-based. The German variety with the mustard and eggs would cloud the true flavor of the meat. The only add-on that would be allowed on the sandwich was a little cole slaw. Dr. Browns cream soda, root beer or celray on the side. Fries go with burgers and dogs, not pastrami or corned beef.

    1. Neither. Potato Knish.

      PS The delis I knew growing up didn't even have the option of fries or potato salad. I never ate potato salad (or mayo for that matter) until I got to college. Kasha varnishkes, stuffed derma, cole slaw (vinegar based) are some other options.

      12 Replies
      1. re: Steve

        Damn right. A potato knish, sour or half-sour pickles, pickled tomatoes, or maybe cole slaw. If the deli has really good ones, maybe a potato pancake with applesauce.

        Certainly some great Jewish delis have good potato salad or competent fries, but neither one is a "Jewish deli" item.

        Jfood forgot one other Dr. Brown's flavor: black cherry. Me, I'm a Cel-Ray drinker.

        1. re: hatless

          Cole slaw and sour pickles.

          For drink, there is only one choice (for me at least) and that is Dr. Brown's black cherry, but i'll give a free pass to any of the Dr. Brown's variety.

          1. re: hatless

            I agree about either a knish of some sort or preferably a pickle assortment with a few sours, half soures, garlic, news, and pickled tomatoes. Heck if you have a proper pastrami sandwich, hot, hand sliced, juicy, fatty meat piled six inches high on rye with mustard, you don't have room for more than a few pickles. Of course you have to have either a Cel-Rey or an egg cream.

            1. re: JMF

              no, it's pastrami on white with Miracle Whip and a glass of milk....

              1. re: Karl S

                Get out.

                Seriously, leave. Now.

                (And take your pastrami on white with Miracle whip, lettuce and tomato, and your glass of expressed cow liquid with you, you heretic!)

                :-P

                1. re: Karl S

                  Classic ...

                  That combo is good with turkey pastrami, too. Give it a try.

                  1. re: Karl S

                    okeedokee, everyone who puts pastrami on white, please apologize, and if you add mayo please leave the room. it has taken me several days to recover from the idea of such denegration. It's a shanda to do this and anyone who understands shanda understands my comments.

                    Please Karl, so it ain't so Joe, oops sorry wrong Sox for you.

                    1. re: Karl S

                      Miracle Whip is the devil's "food." Manna from Hell.

                    2. re: JMF

                      Also from Jersey originally and agree about the knish paired with pastrami...lordy, lordy how I do miss a good Jewish deli here is w.a.s.py SW Florida...sort of like sub shops here asking if you want mayo on an Italian sub, makes me want to jump over the counter and, well...

                      1. re: Val

                        Mayo is heresy on pastrami, as even this mayo-lover will admit...but MIRACLE WHIP is fit for no good culinary purpose whatsoever, on any kind of sandwich, under any circumstances. Vile substance, only technically edible...

                        1. re: Val

                          I just read that your in SW Fla, I was in Naples in May,2005 and had a pretty good pastrami sandwhich at Pastami Dan's. Have you been there? It wasn't on a good rye bread, I think it was on a sub bun or something, but the pastrami was really good (by Dayton, Ohio stanards).

                      2. re: hatless

                        I bought some Cel-Ray at a farmer's market in Portland, OR. I brought it home and saved it for the perfect sandwich. It ended up being a pastrami!! I'd never had a Cel-Ray before that in my entire life. It really tastes like cold celery.

                    3. A corned beef sandwich.

                      1. Yeah, well potato knishes are another thing you can't get in Dayton, Ohio. When I've had them they are a great side to a pastrami or corned beef sandwich.

                        Unfortunately we don't have a good deli in Dayton, you have to drive to Cincinati or Indy to find half way good one.

                        Regarding German Potato Salad, the kind I remember from some deli's in the Teaneck/Hackensack NJ area didn't have mayo or eggs in them. It was usually made with a vinegar/sugar dressing and simply had thinly sliced potato and onions in it. I don't think it had any bacon or bacon fat in it like I've seen in midwestern recipes for the same dish.

                        We do have Dr. Brown's out here and that's what I order when I do go to a Cincy or Indy deli.

                        1. Neither. A nice potato pancake. Or slaw.