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Jul 19, 2007 08:16 AM

Pastrami in Seattle

My wife and I recently moved to Seattle and have yearned for a great pastrami sandwich. Is there anything on a par with (or even a close runner-up to) the Carnegie Deli in NYC or is that just too much to hope for?

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  1. "too much to hope for" - those few places who are astute enough to offer pastrami cut from the deckle (a small, fatty muscle under the brisket) rather than from the round (a very lean leg cut and extremely un-jewish) will spoil their efforts by either not having decent rye bread or by failing to cut the meat while hot - believe me, nuked pastrami is not very new yorkish. when i am in the severest agonies of withdrawal, i buy some carnegie deli pastrami from dilaurentis (just under $10/pound), a kaiser roll from pike place bakery (80 cents), some gulden's mustard and make do. if there is also nearby a very green pickle from batampte, it puts the craving to rest for a while, however imperfectly. as a dream of utter madness, imagine a good deli on one corner, a fine bbq joint across the street, a third corner having a place that understands fried chicken and the fourth corner is my house....

    3 Replies
    1. re: howard 1st

      I'll preface this by saying that I think Carnegie serves up the worst pastrami sandwiches in NY that I've had, but even beyond that, I don't get the sense that the stuff branded as Carnegie deli pastrami is anything like what they actually sell in the restaurant. We discussd this a little at PortlandFood. The stuff Costco sells, eg, is made by Kirtland, Costco's in-house meatery. And it comes pre-sliced. And it appears to be more like Boar's Head, which makes theirs from more of a roast cut, certainly not plate (deckle) or even brisket, point or flat. (btw, I question whether most NY places are still using plate. Sure seems like brisket these days. It's too lean to be plate.)

      Is anyone up there steaming their pastrami and cutting it hot? Is anyone using brisket or plate?


      1. re: howard 1st

        what do you think of the pastrami at Market House Meats (1124 Howell St.; 206-624-9248) (I have not tried it although have heard good things about it)?

        1. re: barleywino

          i regularly purchase and cook the point cut brisket at market house meats (it makes for superb hash and that's the best reason to make corned beef at all...) but what they call pastrami is merely the same brisket cuts with liquid smoke added. i have not been brave enought to try it....

      2. I can't help much with the New York Jewish Deli style of pastrami except to suggest that Costco sells Carnegie pastrami (its probably fattier and gristlelier than what you are used to). There's also Goldberg's in the Factoria Mall.
        The pastrami of my choice is the L.A. style - well fatted steamed pastrami on french roll that's been dipped in pastrami au jus. Barnie's in Everett satisfies my craving.

        1. Sorry, Jewish deli is a serious void in the food scene here. Your best bet is to buy some good pastrami and rye bread at the supermarket and make them at home.

          Goldberg's deli in Factoria tries, but does not succeed. The best I've had locally is the Other Coast in Ballard. They now have an outlet in Union Square at lunchtime if you work downtown. It's not NY quality, but decent.

          1 Reply
          1. re: lisaf

            You might be looking for well-advertized Jewish delis and you're not finding them. That's because our local Jewish community is more cosmopolitan than the New York community is. Our founding rabbis are from Turkey, and when they announce the amounts of donations in Temple, they speak Spanish.
            That said, the local synagogues could help you find a Jewish deli since there are Kosher butchers aplenty here! They're just not out there for everyone to find.
            The reason that Kosher pastrami is made from deckle instead of from round is that to get all the blood vessels out of anything behind the belly button of a beef side takes so much skill that not many Kosher rabbis in the US can do it. So they sell the front of cows as Kosher and sell the back ends, including the steaks, as traif. (Never mind that selling traif is against Jewish Law in the first place!) When I lived in Israel this restriction was mentioned, but laughed at by us butchers for New York ridiculousness! (We were hungry and we understood that to be Kosher can not possibly mean that you throw away the best half of each cow you prepare)
            Just bought a nice loaf of black bread in a Russian deli, of which we have plenty here. (If Kashrut isn't a bother, you need to look at those for smoked fish, smoked meat, pastrami, and rye bread that's better than anything you can get in New York because if you want rye bread conoisseurs, nobody beats a Russian housewife!)

          2. I can relate. I'm a N.Y. transplant also. Get used to the fact that you will never find a Carnegie style deli in the northwest. Never. However, you might try Eats Market Cafe in West Seattle. The closest thing to real east coast Jewish deli I've found. Not at all bad if you're really craving the stuff.

            1 Reply
            1. re: garifw

              You might want to scoot over and read David Sax's Blog. He's in the midst of researching and writing a book about Jewish Deli's across the U.S. and Canada. His personal blog - has a link to the one on Pastrami etc. Good Luck.

            2. Since I was checking your profile on the San Francisco Board I thought I'd chime in on this thread. It's not pastrami but you can get a decent Reuben at Geraldine's Counter.
              Columbia City Corned Beef 9 . 95
              If you love Reubens, you’ll kvell over this beauty:
              We pluck the brisket from it’s steaming brine, slice it
              to order, pile it on Columbia City Bakery’s Jewish Rye,
              and add coleslaw, gruyere and thousand island
              made just for this sandwich.

              1 Reply
              1. re: wolfe

                now that this thread has resurfaced i can happily report that I LOVE NEW YORK delis (pike place market, u-district and - reportedly - eastside) does a decent job with good, fatty meat (from brooklyn) sliced hot to order, good rye bread and tasty pickles. the ruebens, rachels and such cousins are more than ample and they carry a range of dr. brown's sodas. BTW, i tried the "pastrami" from market house meats and found it nothing like our spicy friend; just corned beef with smoke flavoring