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Anyone been to Be'Wiched Mpls Yet?

f
faith Oct 2, 2007 01:18 PM

I'd love to hear any reviews of this new place. Thanks.

  1. s
    St Paul Susie Oct 2, 2007 03:49 PM

    Where is it?

    2 Replies
    1. re: St Paul Susie
      AnneInMpls Oct 2, 2007 05:49 PM

      I think it's at 800 Washington Ave. N. (I haven't been yet.) See this City Pages blurb from a few months ago:

      http://www.citypages.com/databank/28/1378/article15381.asp?page=2

      Or see their web site at http://www.bewicheddeli.com (warning for work-time surfers - there's music).

      Anne

      1. re: St Paul Susie
        Foureyes137 Oct 3, 2007 10:13 AM

        If you know where C. McGees used to be (next to Babalu), it is in that space. With pedigree like this, I am embarrassed I have not been yet. This week for sure.

      2. t
        tart1 Oct 4, 2007 05:22 PM

        It was noted in the Strib today. I didn't read the article, but they did have a photo of the pastrami sandwhich imbedded in the small article.

        1. f
          faith Oct 4, 2007 09:38 PM

          OK, I went over there yesterday and was very impressed with the place. They've only been open a month- I sampled several of their prepared salads and all were excellent- a potato salad with capers, a chicken salad with beans, and a lovely coleslaw with a 'sugar-parsley' dressing. Also had some yummy soup- a creamy celery/apple. The owners seem like they are really into thinking about balance with flavors, using sustainable/local/high quality ingredients, and being creative, along with beautiful presentation. Plus keeping the prices affordable, and the wait time short for the eaters!
          Did I mention nothing is same-old same-old on this menu? Even half of these goals
          would endear me to the place. And granted there weren't a ton of people in there, but
          it seems like it could be a place in which you could have a conversation comfortably.
          I chatted briefly with the owners and they seem very enthusiastic about their first time
          running a place of their own. They make their own pastrami (see Rick Nelson's Counter
          Intelligence Podcasts for the interview with them for Star Trib) from free-range meat,
          do their own smoking and curing of meats, and even make their own very original
          veggie burger with mushrooms and beets! I'm definitely going back to work my way
          through the menu, and encourage other hounds to follow suit-

          8 Replies
          1. re: faith
            p
            pgokey Oct 5, 2007 01:24 PM

            Do yourself a favor and run, don't walk, to this place.

            I was there today with one other person. We ordered the turkey sandwich, the pastrami with extra meat, a bag of Rachel's chips, and the pasta salad with tuna confit. We split the sandwiches and shared the sides.

            The salad was very nice. It's oil-based rather than made with mayo, and has some nice peppers and olives in it. The tuna was excellent - it's really high quality tuna loins in a confit of their own making.

            The turkey sandwich was very nice. The ciabatta was very soft. The date spread was a delightful flavor balance to the goat cheese and bacon in the sandwich. I could have stood more date in there, being the goat cheese was pretty mild and the turkey isn't seasoned much. But I really am not sure where I'll find a better turkey sandwich in the cities. It's real roast turkey breast that is sliced as thinly as deli meat.

            The crown jewel is indeed that pastrami sandwich. It's the best sandwich I've had since I don't know when. I normally am not a fan of pastrami, as it tends to be too salty, too fatty, and/or even bland. This meat is miraculous! It's lean yet moist, excellently flavored, and very generously heaped on. The rye bread is flavorful, with a very soft middle and a nice crunch crust. The sandwich has some nice pickled cabbage (thankfully with a mild flavor) and a terrific hot dijon. The flavors balance so beautifully in this sandwich - it's very bold without being overpowering.

            Both sandwiches same with a small side of a chick pea salad that was delicious. It had sort of a North African/Middle Eastern flavor palate to it.

            I talked to one of the owners for a bit - the commitment to sustainability is plainly there. They just take really top-self quality stuff and prepare it with a lot love. The process for the brining for the pastrami is pretty neat. He was a pretty charming guy, too.

            I also chatted with the counter guy - he came out to our table and talked with us for a while. Cute guy with glasses - look for him. Really nice and fun to talk to. He is totally geeked out about his job, even though he has little stake in the place other than his paycheck. He told us to get the tuna confit sandwich and the pulled pork when we come back - he loves those as much as the pastrami.

            My only gripe was the woman who works the pay machine. She really couldn't be bothered with customers. She clearly lacked the order-takers enthusiasm for her job.

            When I was ordering , the women in front of me in line took forever to order - they were placing Sally orders (as in When Harry Met Sally). I couldn't help but get annoyed not only at having to wait for them but at the idea that they wouldn't trust the cooks instincts in how they assembled the sandwiches. The flavors are so well-balanced, and they robbed themselves of the chance to experience that with all their substitutions, on the sides, and hold-the-spreads. These cooks know their food - they come from La Belle Vie and Solera.

            The space itself is also very smart. There are a variety of seating options there - counter, tall tables, booths, stand alone tables. Very sturdy wooden chairs. The color palate is very warm and inviting.

            Run, don't walk. Best sandwiches in town.

            1. re: pgokey
              r
              reannd Oct 5, 2007 03:58 PM

              hooray, finally good sandwiches!!.. i totally missed that the turkey sandwich had dates in it.. that's intriguing.

              someone try the asparagus one & let me know :)

              1. re: pgokey
                mariyum Oct 5, 2007 04:37 PM

                Be'wiched were offering gratis apps at the monthly Sam's Wine Shop tasting this week. Muchos yummos (and nice that North Loop food businesses support each other).

                1. re: pgokey
                  MSPD Oct 6, 2007 09:18 AM

                  Very cool. I just started working in Golden Valley and noticed how easy and quick it is to get in and out of the Warehouse District from there. I look forward to checking things out. Thanks for the great writeups pgokey and faith.

                  1. re: pgokey
                    GastronautMN Oct 6, 2007 10:38 PM

                    I ran and was not disappointed. Had the New York Pastrami and Oh, my god!!! I love pastrami and this was the best pastrami sandwich I have ever had. You probably can't find a better pastrami sandwich this side of the Hudson. We had the tuna pasta salad and it was spectacular too.

                    The front of the house needs work. It seemed that there was only one person handling transactions, busing, all customer issues. She was overwhelmed. Apparently some customer was telling them about an issue with their meal which meant we waited five minutes to place an order. There were a handful of tables that were unbussed, the pop cooler for the premium bottles pop was not fully stocked and they didn't even have a bottle opener near where the bottled pop was. It seemed the counter service set up was designed to have multiple people working it with separate order and payment stations. Not a huge deal but they obviously not worked out all the kinks yet.

                    I find it curious that they opened this place in the warehouse district and not somewhere in the skyway system. I hope that enough people are willing to leave the confines of their office to support this place because it is a jewel. I hope they are effective at marketing themselves to sell truckloads of sandwiches to corporate lunches as box lunches. I know if I were the employee or customer receiving this as a box lunch as opposed to the average box lunches I would be delighted.

                    I am already plotting my return. This is pastrami worth obsessing over. I am just afraid that I will be so singularly focused that I may miss some of their other delights.

                    1. re: GastronautMN
                      f
                      FireRev Oct 8, 2007 06:25 PM

                      So I didn't run...but I did drive really fast to Be'Wiched after reading these posts. And unfortunately, I was kind of disappointed. I got a pastrami to go, and as I was driving home, began to unwrap my sandwich. Boy, was I surprised to find it cold. Not room temp...but COLD. Like the meat had just been pulled from the fridge. Was this your experience, too? If it's intentional, this is a big leap for me. The pastrami should be hot IMO. No?

                      Also, I found the pickled cabbage too sweet. It overwhelmed the subtle flavor of the pastrami. I do have to say that the pastrami is very good. And my last few bites were excellent -- there was no cabbage in them, and the meat had warmed closer to room temp.

                      I want to like the place. Tell me...what's the deal with the cold pastrami?

                      1. re: FireRev
                        MSPD Oct 8, 2007 06:54 PM

                        Fire, I agree with the temps. My favorite pastrami is fresh out of the steamer, sliced thick. NY style. Katz is still my gold standard.

                        That said, I thoroughly enjoyed my lunch there today. I found the cabbage gave a nice balance to the mustard. My sandwich had a good 2" thick roll of thin-slices of pastrami so the meat wasn't buried by the other flavors. As is my standard MO, I pulled out a bit of each ingredient for individual tastings -- the pastrami alone is among the finest cold cuts available in town. I do concede that I think I would sometimes like the pastrami without the cabbage. It wasn't hot pastrami, but it was great, great quality meat. I wasn't disappointed at all.

                        I also tried the orecchiette pasta salad with chunks of tuna confit, olives and pepperocini (I think...I left my menu at work...a mild, tart pepper). Wonderful flavors and perfect overall after adding a hint of salt.

                        I was the lucky recipient of the slice of focaccia that came with my dad's soup. It was delicious and fresh.

                        The lunch was so good, I returned for supper. This time I tried the turkey sandwich on ciabatta with dates, goat cheese and bacon. I really appreciated the generous slathering of goat cheese. My last bite was cheese, dates and bread -- I could seriously eat an entire sandwich of just that.

                        I finished it off with a macadamia, coconut tart (shaped like a muffin). Wow. Flaky and chewy on the outside and gooey on the inside. Superb.

                        And how cool it was at lunchtime to see the open kitchen full of staff chopping carrots, toting around a big, beautiful whole turkey, and otherwise manipulating fresh, REAL ingredients into soups, salads and sandwiches!

                        I chatted quickly with Matthew, one of the owners while he was taking my order. I meant to ask him if he would consider adding a hot pastrami option but forgot. This place is already the crown jewel of the lunch scene within a five-mile radius of my new office so I'm sure I'll get back soon to ask him.

                        1. re: FireRev
                          p
                          pgokey Oct 9, 2007 06:58 AM

                          My pastrami was not cold. It wasn't hot, either - I guess I didn't notice its temperature at all. I think it was warm - more than room temperature.

                          I didn't have the react of the cabbage being too sweet in the least, nor did I find the flavor of the pastrami to be subtle.

                          When I talked to the owner, he was very interested in feedback. I think if you say something to him, he'd adjust.

                          Give it another try, and ask that the meat not be cold. I am not sure I would like it cold, either.

                          But the flavor balance - I guess it's a matter of personal preference. But wow, I loved, loved, loved, loved the flavors of that sandwich. I'm betting a majority of the board would agree.

                  2. k
                    KristinT013 Oct 20, 2007 09:09 PM

                    I work about half a mile from here and so glommed onto it as soon as I learned of it's existence. I've been about once a week for the past month or so. I always get a soup/half sandwich combo. With a free fountain drink, it's a downright steal at 8.50, considering the quality of ingredients.
                    * turkey sandwich with dates/goat cheese is wonderful, though I could do with fewer dates.
                    * I had the italian hero on Friday and it was absolutely delish. Wonderful meats with fresh mozz, lightly dressed with olive oil and herbs. no fakey italian dressing, and just a little zing from the meat.
                    * pastrami has been my least favorite so far-- though I am far from a pastrami expert. The sandwich as a whole was kind of tough (maybe the strong rye bread?) and didn't seem as cohesive as the other two

                    I have had some wonderful soups, also. The minestrone they have every day was so-so, but I've had an absolutely out-of-this-world mushroom bisque, and a comforting, perfectly seasoned cream of celery.

                    I think this spot will only get better... I hear they are planning for a happy hour and more take-out dinner food. As it is, with it being open till 8 on weekdays, I can see stopping by for a sandwich to-go to share for dinner (the whole sandwiches are giant). Love this place!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: KristinT013
                      p
                      pgokey Oct 20, 2007 11:40 PM

                      Funny this thread should get bumped today. I went back for a second time tonight. I didn't realize they closed at 6 on Saturdays - we got there at about 6:30 for a pre-Bunkers dinner. The employee who waited on me before remembered me, and they graciously let us in to order, and even eat there while they cleaned the kitchen. I was surprised and really pleased they did that.

                      We both got the pastrami and I got potato salad. The salad was lovely. The meat in the pastrami was served warm - not hot, but plainly more than room temperature. It was perhaps more delicious than the first time, but I liked the overall sandwich just a smidge less. The reason is that my first time I got the one with extra meat, and this time I got the regular size. The extra meat really helps to balance out the spiciness of the mustard.

                      I think I liked the rye better this time, though. The crust was pleasantly crunchy, and the rest was wonderfully soft.

                    2. katebauer Feb 8, 2008 08:30 PM

                      I finally made it to Be'Wiched this week after running some errands in the Warehouse district. Overall I have to say I was disappointed. I really wanted this to be a place that I really craved sandwiches from, a great deli with great selection that one could return to every week and never get tired. But I just can't see it becoming that. I ordered the 1/2 poached chicken sandwich with a curried Israeli couscous salad on the side. The cashier warned me that the poached chicken was actually a chicken salad, which wasn't made clear on the menu, but I went with it anyway. With a fountain drink on the side my bill came to $9-10.

                      The 1/2 sandwich portion was very small. Now, I'm totally in support of appropriate portions but this was maybe 2"x2" piece of bread. The chicken salad was piled high within it, but with that little bread most of it spilled out. I will say the sandwich was quite good, although extremely heavy tasting since it had a mayo base. The couscous, which there was a nice portion of, was extremely bland, I don't think it tasted very different than if you had cooked the couscous with no flavorings at all. Plus it was quite chilled which lead to even less of a flavor.

                      I'm not a cheap person, but I would compare the experience to the Astor Cafe, which I think is over priced for what it is. While Astor isn't as imaginative, from there for $9 you can walk away with a hearty ham and cheese on baguette sandwich and a wonderfully flavored side salad. I'd rather spend my money there knowing it will satisfy that craving rather than get something dull or unsatisfying at Be'Wiched.

                      1. m
                        mn_praline Feb 9, 2008 07:28 AM

                        I went to Be'Wiched last month. . . I tried half of the asparagus sandwich and Tuna Orchiette pasta. The flavors of the sandwich were really great (white asparagus, fromage blac, sweet fennel) but it was probably the smallest sandwich I've ever seen in my life. The tuna in the pasta was amazing but overall, the pasta salad was pretty dry. I'd definitely try Be'Wiched again though. Hopefully all the sandwiches aren't that small (2x2)!

                        1. AnneInMpls Feb 9, 2008 02:40 PM

                          I've been to Be'wiched twice - both last month. Portion size definitely varies by sandwich. Once, I got a combo (half sandwich and cup of soup) with the tuna confit sandwich - it was smallish (perhaps a 3"x3" square), but it had lots of filling and was a good size for a lunch. The other time, I got half a pulled pork sandwich with curried vegetable soup. The pulled pork half-sandwich was EXTREMELY small - maybe 3-4 Tbsp of meat on a very small half-bun. It was cute in its tininess, but I was disappointed that I got so little, because I was hungry and the pork is really tasty. (The curried veg soup was FABULOUS, by the way.)

                          But the turkey with goat cheese and date sandwich, which my husband ordered, was quite large. Quite a contrast to my tiny half-sandwich. His sandwich came with some of the couscous - I agree with you that it's bland. We also ordered a side of the white bean & tuna salad, which I loved.

                          My impression of Be'wiched: One needs to ask questions and order carefully. And don't expect large, chain-style portions. But the taste and the quality are (mostly) top-notch. I would definitely return for the tuna confit, the turkey sandwich, and that wonderful, wonderful curried vegetable soup.

                          Anne

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: AnneInMpls
                            p
                            pgokey Feb 9, 2008 08:23 PM

                            BeWiched puts their sandwiches on the menu in order of how good they are - an explicit move on their part. The pastrami is first because it's the best. The pulled pork and the tuna confit are next because they are the next best. The pulled pork sandwich is great, but not exactly large. It's an appropriately sized sandwich at a full size, which means it's smaller than we are used to. I couldn't imagine a half sandwich leaving me satisfied. A half pastrami could, though - they are indeed larger sandwiches.

                            If you want the experience that gets buzzed about, order off the top of the menu.

                            1. re: pgokey
                              e
                              Enso Feb 10, 2008 03:35 PM

                              "how good they are" is rather subjective, isn't it?

                              So, is it a magic menu board then that somehow knows what each person would find best and displays that at the top. That would be really cool.

                              1. re: Enso
                                p
                                pgokey Feb 12, 2008 03:47 AM

                                Of course it's subjective - any impression of food quality is. Every post on Chowhound is subjective.

                                That's the description the owners use, it's not mine. I agree with them, though, and you'll noticed how the pastrami is the most raved about of the sandwiches, and it's at the top of the board. But you're right - there are people who will have totally different opinions. I'm just saying - try the top of the board, because there is a chance you'll like it better than other parts.

                          2. m
                            minnesotajane Feb 9, 2008 05:30 PM

                            We just went this afternoon and the four of us thoroughly enjoyed our meals. My companions all got the turkey sandwich and were very happy. I ordered the pastrami and requested it to be warmed up- which was not a problem at all. The very helpful counter guy (the aforementioned cutie with the glasses) also suggested I add some cheese to it (I chose the havarti). Mmmmm. Delish! I loved the combination of the melted cheese, the hot mustard, cabbage, the rye bread, and of course, that pastrami!

                            Service was excellent-- the counter person was very helpful and friendly. We will definitely go back!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: minnesotajane
                              a
                              ashii Feb 9, 2008 08:43 PM

                              I dont think i will go back. I have been there 3 times. First of which was very unpleasant. So i gave it another chance, ordering 3 sandwiches, all were very dry, not just the bread. And many were a big dull with very mild taste, so the bread itself was an overwhelmingly intense factor.

                              Finally i assumed they may have had a tough day and gave them the benefit of the doubt.... but they got my order wrong... overcharged me. And the sandwiches were not any better.

                              I think the flavor were invented, and the idea was strong as well as the recipes,... it just seems like it needed to be tweaked a bit. I dont think i will do that again.

                            2. e
                              ElizabethMN Feb 26, 2008 08:09 AM

                              We were in the neighborhood and grabbed some sandwiches on the way home this past Friday night. It was fun to visit and try their food, but Be'wiched is probably not some place I'll make a special trip for in the future. We got:

                              - Pastrami, New York Style -- Flavor of was good, very lean. But overpriced -- if I can get my mouth around the sandwich, should it be called "New York Style"?
                              - Poached Chicken -- We did not get the warning that it was chicken salad. Served on a baguette about 5"-6" long, there was a "tube" of salad down the middle and plenty of cheese. Flavor was ok, but over oiled, given "dijon" is the ingredient listed on the menu board. $9.50 for a chicken salad sandwich, of that size, was too much (imo).
                              - Tuna Confit -- We liked this sandwich. Good balance of ingredients and closest to my expectation, based on the menu board and descriptions from the person taking our order.
                              - Pasta -- The oricchiette was undercooked and chewy (my Italian spouse agreed -- no where near 'al dente') and the salad overall was dry. The tuna though, same as in the sandwich, was very tasty. We didn't get any of the menu-mentioned dried tomatoes in our pint serving.

                              While I realize they are positioning themselves a bit "niche", the overall quality doesn't support the prices. And despite their title, they're not a deli in any sense of the word -- they have a set and specific (relatively short) menu. [Example: Does anyone remember the old Chicago Deli? That was a true deli.] Overall, what we found wasn't in line with expectations; the sandwiches were unique, but not worth a special trip back for us.

                              1. t
                                tingerbell Apr 3, 2008 10:02 PM

                                This week I went there twice already. I think the place is fabulous. The first day i had the NY Pastrami and the Gumbo, both were great. The second day I had tuna confit sandwich, my bf had the egg sald and my son had the pull pork. Both the tuna confit and the egg salad were great, the pulled pork sandwich was so-so. Please folks try the brownie it is yummy. Being from SF and NY the price doesn't bother me, I figure i'm paying for the quality, and the quantity doesn't bother me either, I think its our culture were we are so use to huge portion.

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