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Pastrami in New England

ne_cyclone Feb 9, 2008 06:29 AM

A few weeks ago I had some unbelievably great pastrami at Katz's Deli in NYC and I was hoping for recommendations in the New England area. Geographically I live in south NH but please send me some recommendations?


  1. n
    noshstalgia Feb 16, 2008 07:53 AM

    This is both a legitimate response to the thread and also a shameless commercial plug. I make a real New York style pastrami right here in Boston - from scratch. It's marketed under the Deli Arts(tm) brand and is available for purchase at Savenor's and John Dewars - Boston's two leading purveyors of quality meats. We are conducting a free pastrami tasting today (Saturday 2/16) at Savenor's on Charles Street, Boston from 3 to 5PM. Drop by and see what you think. I'm hopeful you'll find this satisfies your craving. The whole reason I started making the stuff is because, like so many on this thread, I found nothing in the area lived up to my memories of pastrami from New York.

    Also, in terms of editorial on other's products, long before I started making the stuff, I was tasting and posting on others products in and around Boston. Check it out at my blog:

    Best to all,

    1. ne_cyclone Feb 15, 2008 05:32 PM

      wonderful commentary applehome (quite obviously you know your pastrami)

      reading everyone's replies looks like there is no competition for Katz's BUT considering the amount of time and money to make a trip to NYC i am gonna go around and sample the New england fare until the next Katz's

      2 Replies
      1. re: ne_cyclone
        foodperv Feb 15, 2008 06:14 PM

        with the boston area being (somewhat ) a place for fine dining in this country i just am actually a bit shocked that we have no places here as good as new york for this type of food

        1. re: ne_cyclone
          ntuitive1 Feb 16, 2008 12:37 AM

          ne_cyclone, it's worth the trip for Katz's, trust me!

        2. ntuitive1 Feb 15, 2008 02:45 AM

          I wouldn't knock Rein's Deli. Considering where it is I'm surprised a deli like that exists at all. OK, so it's not Katz's, but c'mon, what is as good as Katz's anyway? Not even Carnegie, in my opinion. Nothing comes close to Katz's. So you have to give Rein's some slack for its location.

          1. othervoice Feb 13, 2008 02:20 PM

            For those of you that like pastrami, realllly lean. Try Spoodles on Main Street in Downtown Worcester. The best sandwhich I've had. Not quite NYC, but very good.

            3 Replies
            1. re: othervoice
              applehome Feb 13, 2008 04:25 PM

              Lean pastrami?

              Isn't that like salty ice cream or wet crackers?

              How could anyone in their right mind consider lean pastrami to be anything close to NYC?

              1. re: applehome
                othervoice Feb 13, 2008 07:48 PM


                I merely made reference that it "wasn't" like NYC pastrami. But some people are on a leaner kick these days.

                1. re: applehome
                  foodperv Feb 13, 2008 08:19 PM

                  lean yuk THE FLAVOR IS IN THE FAT

              2. r
                RoyRon Feb 12, 2008 01:15 PM

                Rein's Deli just outside Hartford,CT and right off Rte 84 is great and comes close to a real NYC deli. They have great pastrami and wonderful Nova Belly LOX.

                10 Replies
                1. re: RoyRon
                  applehome Feb 12, 2008 01:43 PM

                  If Rein's comes close to a NYC deli, I'm the King of the Universe. In a NYC deli, I expect no milk products, no beef behind the stomachs, home-made kishka, maybe some hand-made kreplach if I'm lucky.

                  Their pastrami is right out of a factory vac-sealed package.

                  Not that there isn't some wonderful stuff there - the chopped liver is good, their beef knishes are good, and their pickles, especially the full sour ones are very good (they won't tell me their source). Their stuffed cabbage and hot brisket with gravy are good road food if not exactly what bubbe made.

                  But the pastrami there is the same ole gringo dreck - not the real thing you get in Katz's. Go to Katz's. Try the real thing.

                  1. re: applehome
                    im hungry Feb 12, 2008 03:13 PM

                    Katz is to Pastrami what Lockhart, Texas is to Barbeque,both are life changing experiences....if you dont know,you dont know.sorry if that sounds bad.....

                    1. re: im hungry
                      applehome Feb 12, 2008 06:31 PM

                      Yes, but let's be careful here. Lockhart may be brisket or beef rib heaven, but you can't compare it to low country whole hog with vinegar based sauces - that's apples and oranges - que has many headquarters. Pastrami has one. NYC. Katz is best, (although I understand that 2nd Ave is resurgent). Even Montreal, food city that it is, has the smarts to call its product Montreal smoked meat (or brisket), rather than pastrami.

                      The greatest pastrami abomination of them all is the so called "Boston Style", in which thin sliced, heavily nitrited, much too lightly smoked, sweet paprika covered meat, is boiled (after slicing and let sit for hours in a "deli" counter, drying in a heap !!!!). It is then picked up by tongs which barely drains it, and plopped on a sub roll (white bread!!!!). Arghhhh!!!! Don't people yet understand that when you boil meat, you're flavoring the water?! So changing the meat around to so-called Roumanian style, or what Kayem and Boar's Head call "black pastrami", which does get rid of the paprika at least, is much better? Better than Boston style, perhaps. The problem with the so called Roumanian style is that the meat factories that produce this use either the flat or even a piece of round, with the mistaken idea that people who want higher quality pastrami want it leaner (how dumb is that?). It's still heavily nitrited at the factory, and some of it is smoked longer, but ultimately, it's just higher quality dreck compared to the real thing.

                      There are a couple of side trips through pastrami-land. Some places will grill the red pastrami rather than boil it. It's certainly an improvement. Some places grill onions and tomatoes with it and serve it on the sub roll with swiss cheese. I actually think that this is an edible sandwich. Not Katz's to be sure, but an interesting sub. I'll buy the Kayem or Boar's Head red pastrami on sale at the grocery store - but I buy it whole - about a 3lb or larger chunk. (This confuses the deli counter folks greatly, but when they finally understand that I'm making life easier for them, they help me out.) I use this as a bacon replacement, cutting the slices fairly thick and frying them up in a pan with my eggs - kosher bacon, as it were (not that I care). Once again, not what I do with a real pastrami, which I often make for myself and my friends and relatives.

                      You want the brisket point cut. You want the deckel attached with a nice fat layer in between. If you must, you can trim away the fat before you eat it, but for heaven's sake you can't lean it out before it's brined and smoked. A lean, pre-trimmed flat can't make pastrami. You want it brined in salt and some pickling spice, a little sugar, and a lot of garlic. You should add a little nitrite to the brine - but a little, and not injected, like the factories. Brine for 3 days, then take out and let dry. Dry rub with fresh ground peppercorns and coriander. Smoke at no more than 275F until the center is about 160F - this is far less than when smoking brisket for que, because pastrami is always reheated by braising for a good amount of time before serving.

                      It's not that hard to make, but few places will do this (or buy from an artisan that does this) rather than just buy the all pervasive cryopacked briskets from Hebrew National or Sabrett. Like all other foodstuffs, it's a matter of demand. As long as most of Boston is happy with Boston style pastrami, nobody's going to give us anything else. The local "real" Jewish deli's then feel that they're going the extra mile giving us the Hebrew National or Sabrett pastrami. In truth, it's just another piece of meat from a sealed plastic package to slice and serve - it costs more, to be sure, but they pass that on.

                      HN /Sabrett is kosher and it is not terrible - it's certainly a level or two above the "black pastrami" from Kayem or Boar's Head, which is a level or two above their "red Pastrami" - the Boston standard. But real pastrami, which is served at Katz's and some other NYC delis, is something else again - as im hungry says, you have to have it to know...

                      PS - When I'm at Rein's, Joan and Ed's or other local Jewish delis, I'll order a tongue sandwich rather than pastrami. The tongue is also cryo-packed Hebrew National or Sabrett, but it has a much more interesting mouthfeel and the flavor is more intense - the factory processing doesn't seem to detract from it as much. If you like pastrami, don't get put off by the idea of tongue if you've never had it. It's a brined piece of meat that is quite delicious, and sliced thin, like pastrami. My son came home for a visit and accidentally ate the last of my pound of tongue from Joan & Ed's, thinking it was pastrami - he didn't know until I yelled out, "Who ate my tongue?"

                      1. re: laulauman
                        chowmensch Feb 13, 2008 02:03 PM

                        Once and for all, there is no New England pastrami, tongue or corned beef even close to Katz's, Carnegie or Stage. The closest I've come is the deli counter at Crown Market in West Hartford. They'll make you a sandwich or sell deli meat by the pound for you to take home. Potato salad is quite good there too....much better than the supermarket versions, yes, even better than Whole Foods...

                        1. re: chowmensch
                          TonyO Feb 13, 2008 02:24 PM

                          ANd for the Love Of God, do not accept the Carnegie Deli Pastrami that Costco sells as an example of anything but a marketng ploy. It is AWFUL ! I mean Deitz and Watson is better !

                          1. re: TonyO
                            applehome Feb 13, 2008 04:23 PM

                            Yeah - not only that, but if you buy the sandwich at the counter, they nuke it.

                        2. re: applehome
                          whs Feb 13, 2008 08:51 PM

                          nice commentary, applehome! Have you tried Weintraub's in Worcester? They hand cut the pastrami.

                          1. re: whs
                            applehome Feb 13, 2008 09:04 PM

                            thx. No, never been to Weintraub's. I'll try it next time I'm down that way.

                            Just looked on google maps - they list 2 locations: 100 Front St., and 126 Water St. - do you know if they're both correct?

                            1. re: applehome
                              whs Feb 14, 2008 05:49 AM

                              Looking at Google, it looks like 126 Water Street. From 290, it's the Kelly Square exit. There's a really great Eastern European market next door too.

                              1. re: whs
                                hoffa2651 Feb 14, 2008 06:57 AM

                                Might want to call 1st--I went yesterday and they closed for renovations. Im not sure when they will reopen

                  2. t
                    tunapet Feb 12, 2008 06:13 AM

                    Well it's not Katz, but Harold Square on the Londonderry/Manchester border has a wonderful hot pastrami sandwich. Definitely worth a stop if you are in the area,

                    1. j
                      jkuhlen Feb 11, 2008 12:04 PM

                      Its a long way from NH, but it is New England. A little deli called the Westville Kosher Bakery off of the Merrit Parkway (going South its the first exit after you get out of the tunnel) in New Haven has some seriously good Pastrami. Its in the plaza with Sam Ash Music.

                      a little more info at: http://www.insiderpages.com/b/3712061772

                      1. j
                        jmac42 Feb 11, 2008 07:16 AM

                        The best I have had in NE is the P&G Deli on Boston Rd. in Dorcester. Small Mom and Pop Polish deli. The pastrami is very good and a very good deal.

                        1. i
                          Injun Joe Feb 10, 2008 04:01 AM

                          So where's a good place for Pastrami to take home and build my own masterpiece?

                          1. p
                            PutneySwope Feb 9, 2008 02:23 PM

                            Try Weintraub's in Worcester off of the Kelly Square exit on I-293:

                            Read my previous posting: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/37749...

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: im hungry
                              ne_cyclone Feb 9, 2008 06:54 PM

                              i am gonna try out weintraub's first as I will be in Shrewsbury next week and then on to the glenview. have you tried these spots @ im hungry?

                              I didnt even plan the katz trip and now I am so glad I went there....if it wasnt for the drive............(sigh)

                              1. re: PutneySwope
                                pega127 Nov 10, 2013 04:14 PM

                                Great pickles, too!

                              2. i
                                irwin Feb 9, 2008 10:28 AM

                                Full Belly Deli in Portland has great deli.

                                1. l
                                  lexpatti Feb 9, 2008 07:51 AM

                                  Are you looking for a great place to get a great pastrami sandwich or to purchase great pastrami to take home and do as you please?
                                  One of the best hot pastrami sand. that I've had in a long time is at The Glenview in Chelmsford, Ma. (might be lowell).

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: lexpatti
                                    ne_cyclone Feb 9, 2008 01:36 PM

                                    sandwiches only please

                                    1. re: lexpatti
                                      applehome Feb 12, 2008 10:30 AM

                                      Really? This is like Katz's? I mean... NY Pastrami really sits alone. It has to be smoked black on the outside with crushed peppercorns and coriander, dark, almost burgundy inside, with layers of fat and meat alternating, kept whole (not pre-cut) in a steam line pan, with a half inch of water, and cut hot either thick by hand, or on a slicer, held with a fork because it's too hot to handle...

                                      There's no such animal here. I don't know pf anyplace that brines and smokes their own (or buys from someone that does). Most places are using commercially available meat - cryopacked Hebrew National or one of the other decent brands. This is ok, but it isn't anything like Katz's - not by a long shot. Sam LaGrassa is close - they make their own. I wish they had real kaiser rolls instead of those sweet portuguese buns. And of course, they wouldn't know rye from sisal, and what they call pumpernickel is soft - like wonder bread.

                                      Thank God I learned to make my own. It's not that hard, but you have to have a good smoker.

                                      1. re: applehome
                                        lexpatti Feb 12, 2008 10:36 AM

                                        No! Didn't say it was like Katz - only that it's a great pastrami sandwich. I haven't been to Katz, I do Carnegie Deli when in NYC. Like many regional favorites, can't find them when you get home.

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