Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Pennsylvania >
Nov 24, 2007 07:30 PM

Authentic pastrami in Philly burbs?

We just had lunch at Murray's in Bala and were very disappointed by the pastrami. They don't serve authentic pastrami anymore. It is just corned beef with some pepper and spices added on the outside. Anyone know who serves authentic pastrami? We are both originally from New York so, yes, we are picky on this subject.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. We're originally from Chicago living in the Philly area. There's a deli in King of Prussia called Michael's claiming to purvey Jewish-style (not Kosher) comestibles. My wife of Italian origin likes hot pastrami sandwiches which we order from there. She asks for something that is not on the menu, but they make it up for her. It's called 'Hot pastrami New York style.' Whether it is or not, I know not, but it is pastrami with cole slaw and Russian dressing on seeded rye. I've had pastrami sandwiches at the 2 well-known delis in Theater District of New York City (I'm having a senior moment...cannot remember their names). Michael's sandwiches taste like the NYC sandwiches, only the pastrami is not piled on a mile high.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ChiliDude

      I have to respectfully disagree. Michael's is more like the bastard child of a Jewish deli. Their pastrami sandwich is piled like a cucumber sandwich. I wanted extra lean, but to no avail. The spices are also pretty bland, so bland that it actually tasted like corned beef.

      Also ordered matzah ball soup, which was overly greasy. I saw kishka on the menu and when I ordered it as "stuffed derma", the lady didn't know what I was referring to. I should've known at that point to leave the place - promptly.

      I'll take Hymie's any day.

      1. re: ChiliDude

        Costco sells Carnagie Deli Pastrami and pickles in their refrigerated section. Try it to make your own

      2. I know a place that has pastrami that seems good to me, but how can I tell if it's authentic? It's the same cut of beef that corned beef is, and does have spices on the outside, but it's really fatty and tastes smokier than corned beef. They slice it very, very thin, and serve it hot. Does it sound authentic? It comes on good rye (grilled, with swiss cheese and spicy mustard), and good pickles on the side. I'm talking about Cross Keys Diner in Doylestown. One of the owners is Jewish, and they do tend to have decent deli-type stuff.

        1 Reply
        1. re: watercress

          Just to help out on the "knowledge is power!" tip, pastrami is actually the plate as opposed to the brisket. It's close to the same cut, but it's different (further back on the cow). Pastrami is made simlarly to to corned beef in that it's cured (brined or rubbed in salt and spices, etc), but where as corned beef is boiled, pastrami is coated in a mixture of black pepper and coriander and then smoked. Before it's served, pastrami is steamed to add moisture. Personally, I don't care for the "ultra-thin" slices of pastrami you find most places as that indicates that it's simply deli meat as opposed to a real plate of pastrami. That said, I'd still eat a sandwich of that thin-cut stuff. I just love pastrami.

        2. Try Steinman's Deli on Old York Rd. (Foxcroft Square) in Jenkintown. My husband's from Brooklyn and thinks it's the closest to the "real deal" around these parts.

          1. The choices are limited. I've mentioned these two delis on other threads but, I think they're pretty good and authentic.
            Ben and Irv's in Huntingdon Valley and Pumpernick's in Montgomeryville

            1 Reply
            1. re: cheesewit

              I second these recommendations. I've used them for business lunches as well as having eaten at both of them for numerous lunches. It's the closest to a NY Jewish deli I've had in the 'burbs. And their portions are very generous, especially on their catering platters.

            2. The only true NY Style delis are Famous on 4th St. and Kibbitz on Chestnut St. Both are owned by the same guy and serve the hot fresh sliced sandwiches like Stage and Carnegie in NYC

              2 Replies
              1. re: productionjon

                I believe this is the same guy who owns The Kibitz Room in Cherry Hill, The sandwiches are huge, so are the salads they make. I think it's much better than Hymies.

                1. re: productionjon

                  In old city/society hill: Kibbitz menu items are terribly overpriced and their pastrami is way too fatty. I know many like fatty pastrami but when half the meat in the sandwich is all fat I feel ripped-off. The Famous Deli on 4th and Bainbridge is good, but non-kosher and also pricey. I haven't been in a while but last I remember the deli across from the superfresh on fifth between pine and locust? is very good and with reasonable prices. is it zekes? I think that's the name. good luck.