HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >
Do you create unique foods? Tell us about it

Pastrami in Boston that approaches Katz's?

Niblet Jan 21, 2013 02:47 PM

I'll be visiting a friend near West Palm Beach FL to whom I like to bring pastrami from Katz's in NYC. I couldn't get to New York this weekend...is there any pastrami in Boston or immediate environs that comes close? Or perhaps in FLA? (Also I know I can have Katz's mailed, but it's not the same somehow) -- TIA!

  1. s
    Sneakeater Feb 14, 2013 03:52 PM

    When I lived in Brookline during law school 30-some-odd years ago, I thought Rubin's in Brookline was fully up to my New York standards.

    I know they're still open. They don't seem like the kind of place that would decline in quality. But who knows?

    4 Replies
    1. re: Sneakeater
      StriperGuy Feb 15, 2013 06:38 AM

      Was probably last there 15 year ago, but it wasn't even close then.

      1. re: StriperGuy
        hotoynoodle Feb 15, 2013 11:41 AM

        yup, i tried it once way back when and in my mind it's not better than zaftig's.

        1. re: hotoynoodle
          chompie Mar 15, 2013 04:32 PM

          Has anyone tried Marino's Deli in Pabody on Rte 1 . Its an italian deli/liquor store but he has a bunch of NY deli, and someone told me they heard it was excellent. He brings the stuff from NY, she thought Carnegie..I havent been and was wondering .. also heard its expensive

          1. re: chompie
            catsmeow Mar 15, 2013 05:27 PM

            I tried it and although very good, when I finished taking the majority of fat off the corned beef(and I like a little fat left on it), I had enough for 1 average sandwich. That amount of corned beef cost me $18! Very nice owner but it turned out to be pretty expensive.

    2. rubysdad Feb 14, 2013 03:47 PM

      Only in your dreams.

      1. b
        billyandgaby Feb 13, 2013 09:07 AM

        Author's in Chelsea.

        1. t
          TheScribe Feb 12, 2013 01:27 PM

          Sam LaGrassa's!

          2 Replies
          1. re: TheScribe
            catsmeow Feb 12, 2013 02:48 PM

            I had Sam LaGrassas a few weeks ago after not having it for a few years. I wasn't as good as I remembered it being.

            1. re: catsmeow
              chompie Feb 12, 2013 06:30 PM

              I would still love someone to go to Evans and review the pastrami and corned beef for me.. I havent eaten meat in many many years but like I said above, i did have some of the Evans corned beef and tongue and it tasted like cildhood and the meat eaters loved it too. I ate it in honor of a relative after his funeral. He had lived out a life dream by going to NYC but couldnt go to Katzs due to handicapped restrictions there so ended up at Carnegie Deli or Stage Deli and a picture of him holding up a pastrami sandwich bigger than his head and his look of bliss sat next to the gorgeous deli platter from Evans. I guess i just want to know if the deli (and smoked fish) are as good as we all remember from Evans or if the moment just charmed it for us...

          2. LauraBear Feb 12, 2013 07:29 AM

            Couple of observations.... the recent exchange on the NY board about Katz's will make anyone reconsider spending the money for a shipment from there. I have not been for about 5 years, but my memory is "underwhelmed." Second - why can't Boston support a deli? Again, read that post and you'll find that NYers feel that there's no good deli in Manhattan. My family lived near an Orthodox community in south jersey and there was no good deli. I am beginning to think good deli only exists in memory. Proust had his madelines; NY/NJ expats have their deli.

            That said - I've always wondered if there is some hidden gem in the Russian immigrant markets in Brighton. I will ask my dental hygentist and report back (in about 4 months)

            15 Replies
            1. re: LauraBear
              bakerboyz Feb 12, 2013 10:57 AM

              Being on the Boston board, I know that it is a bit off topic, but I have been to Katz's approx. 5x in the past 3 years and I find the pastrami to be consistently exceptional and unlike and better than any I have ever had. I do not care that the vehicle for the pastrami, the rye bread is average because to me, it's all about the meat.

              1. re: bakerboyz
                hotoynoodle Feb 12, 2013 12:41 PM

                just today, i looked into getting it shipped for the b/f as a gift. 1 pound + 1/2 loaf of bread came to about $30. fair enough, but the shipping was over $30 on top, so i just couldn't justify it. :( not in the budget, or i just don't love him enough? lol.

                1. re: hotoynoodle
                  cambridgedoctpr Feb 12, 2013 01:30 PM

                  that seems like a ridiculous price for shipping.

                  1. re: cambridgedoctpr
                    bakerboyz Feb 12, 2013 02:15 PM

                    Perhaps, the next time one of us is going to NYC, we should notify others and bring some back to Boston for others with no shipping charge?

                    1. re: bakerboyz
                      cambridgedoctpr Feb 12, 2013 02:57 PM

                      a good point; they could order and pay and have someone pick it up.

                      but there has to be a cheaper way of shipping a pound package then 30 bucks.

                      1. re: cambridgedoctpr
                        kimfair1 Feb 12, 2013 07:22 PM

                        Overnight shipping is very expensive, and you don't want to ship pastrami by any slower method. My wife had to go right from vacation last year to her mom's place in Florida to take care of her. I had to ship her a bunch of stuff (some of which was time sensitive so had to be sent overnight). The package was about 3 pounds and cost over $100 to ship FedEx. Hell I had to FedEx a letter to someone overnight and it cost over $20. $30 for 1 lb of pastrami and bread is expensive, but not surprisingly so given the costs of overnight shipping.

                        1. re: kimfair1
                          Infomaniac Feb 13, 2013 02:56 AM

                          I agree....$30 to have something shipped directly to your door the next day is not expensive.

                          Paying $30 plus to park for a Red Sox game is what I'd call expensive.

              2. re: LauraBear
                StriperGuy Feb 13, 2013 08:51 AM

                Good deli is usually NOT kosher, so you will likely never find it in an orthodox community.

                1. re: StriperGuy
                  Karl S Feb 13, 2013 01:52 PM

                  Except, perhaps, that a kosher deli is very unlikely to have the dreaded (and dreadful) lean pastrami that's made from the round, instead of pastrami made from brisket or plate/navel. I leave that to experts to discuss...

                  1. re: StriperGuy
                    chompie Feb 13, 2013 09:01 PM

                    why? what is the difference between the two that makes the kosher not as good for you?

                    1. re: chompie
                      Karl S Feb 14, 2013 01:36 AM

                      Round would not normally be kosher because the prohibition on eating the sciatic nerve in the legs of a mammal. There is a kosher way to remove it, but my understanding is that normally the high quarters are simply not eaten.

                      Gid Hanasheh - the sciatic nerve:
                      The Torah prohibits eating the gid hanasheh - the sciatic nerve in both hind thighs of any kosher land animal (domesticated or wild). The difficult process of the removal of the nerve and the fat surrounding it is also called "nikur" and must be done with great care by a G-d-fearing skilled expert. In most countries, the hind part of an animal is not eaten at all thereby avoiding entirely the difficult process of removing the prohibited fats and nerves.

                      1. re: chompie
                        StriperGuy Feb 14, 2013 07:02 AM

                        Not sure what your question actually is. But none of the good deli's in NYC were ever kosher. i.e. at the very least they serve both meat and dairy. The restrictions on running a kosher restaurant make it VERY hard to run a main stream restaurant, and really limit the clients to observant jews (a small part of the population even in NYC where there are plenty of jews, just not that many who keep kosher).

                        1. re: StriperGuy
                          owades Feb 14, 2013 10:55 AM

                          Second Avenue Deli has long been considered a "good" deli in New York; it's the exception to your rule since it is actually kosher (http://www.2ndavedeli.com/about/koshe...). They are not Sabbath-observant, but have some sort of waiver from their certifying authority. Agreed that most of the better New York delis (Katz's, Carnegie, etc.) are not kosher establishments.

                          1. re: owades
                            StriperGuy Feb 14, 2013 12:26 PM

                            There you go... proven wrong.

                            2nd Ave Deli ain't half bad. I would have bet $100 they were not kosher.

                            Can't imagine how you can swing being open on the sabbath and still be kosher.

                            In fact an interesting discussion here:


                            1. re: StriperGuy
                              Jenny Ondioline Feb 14, 2013 02:07 PM

                              Well, you know that old Woody Allen gag (paraphrased): "The Torah was mistranslated. It originally just said you shouldn't order the pork in certain restaurants."

                  2. j
                    Jana Feb 12, 2013 05:59 AM

                    Has anyone tried Larry Levine's Kosher Market in Peabody? Looked for it on the board but didn't find any reference to it.

                    1. e
                      eatntell Jan 27, 2013 01:14 PM

                      Disclaimer: Love pastrami, but no connoisseur.

                      In the good old days, B&D in Brookline and Ken's were my go to places for great deli treats. After their closing, Zaftigs is the only one left that I frequent.

                      Michael's and Sam LaGrassa's pastrami just don't measure up. But the worse by far was found at Inna's Kitchen in Newton. They claimed that their pastrami is store made, and don't have that red dye color. OK, I'll accept that. The meat looked gray and "aged", and tasted very salty. Perhaps that's "authentic"? The meat portion was skimpy and the potato salad side was no more than two mouthful. All for $11.

                      For a city with a good size Jewish population and college students from NYC, why aren't there more great delis around?

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: eatntell
                        cherrytomato Jan 27, 2013 01:39 PM

                        Sam LaGrassa's in my opinion has the best pastrami and corned beef in Boston. I am surprised that you think Zaftigs is better.

                        1. re: eatntell
                          hotoynoodle Jan 28, 2013 05:58 AM

                          "For a city with a good size Jewish population and college students from NYC, why aren't there more great delis around?"


                          i grew up in ny/nj and moved up here in the 80's for school. after the shocking discovery of the utter dearth of even 1/2 way decent pizza, this lack of deli and bagel options was equally disappointing. i tried those mentioned by eatnell and found them sorely lacking. i gave up entirely on eating bagels in boston. zaftig's? a pale imitation of deli food.

                          my family was italian and irish, but we made numerous excursions to katz's. heaven. :)

                          went to schwartz's in montreal not long ago and they also get it right. and yeah, there was a line out the door, with plenty of non-canadians. i salivate just thinking about that lunch. not everyplace that's famous/popular has to suck. (they also will ship!)

                          1. re: hotoynoodle
                            chompie Jan 28, 2013 04:22 PM

                            still wondering if anyone else has tried evan's deli? SInce their conrned beef is so good i am still wondering if the pastrami is too..

                            1. re: chompie
                              catsmeow Jan 29, 2013 02:06 AM

                              Where is Evan's? Back in the 80s there was a branck of NYs Stage Deli that opened in the Theater District. Atty Alan Dershowitz had partnered with the New York Deli. It's too bad that it didn't work out. That area hadn't come around yet, so it didn't succeed. I just heard the Stage Deli in New York closed last month. They had the best Chicken soup with kreplach!

                              1. re: catsmeow
                                owades Jan 29, 2013 03:28 PM

                                Alan Dershowitz co-created a deli called "Maven's Kosher Court" in Harvard Square (near the present locations of Upstairs on the Square and Om. It was both strictly kosher and Sabbath-observant (i.e., not open Friday night and Saturday until after sundown), which made its economics impossible.

                                The branch of New York's Stage Deli, opposite the Wang Center, was a separate thing. It too didn't last long, unfortunately.

                                1. re: catsmeow
                                  chompie Jan 29, 2013 06:15 PM

                                  Evans is in Marblehead on a little side street. I posted some info about it in my post above. Never actually ate there.. but had it delivered to serve to a group..

                                  1. re: chompie
                                    chompie Feb 4, 2013 10:09 PM

                                    Has anyone tried Avenue Deli in Lexington? I was looking for a place to have lunch there, and it came up on other sites with rave reviews of corned beef and pastrami. Wondering if theres some reason it hasnt showed up on Chowhound... Does anyone know if they serve other things besides sandwiches?

                                2. re: chompie
                                  phatchris Feb 7, 2013 05:13 PM

                                  They do awesome pastrami knish at Evans, another really good pastrami sandwich can be found at the Portsmouth Brewery.

                            2. shaogo Jan 26, 2013 07:38 AM

                              Also, for the other Chowhounders who know me all too well, I CANNOT let this thread go without paying a nod of respect to the long-lamented Pastrami King from Queens, NY. When the children of the founders moved it to Manhattan it died... RIP.


                              Now, SO just said "you better look that up... I think we went there recently!"

                              It wasn't us but my cousin. Pastrami King moved out onto Long Island and they're back in business as usual. I'm going this week!

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: shaogo
                                Niblet Jan 26, 2013 07:41 AM

                                'Cause I'm a cheap bastid.

                                Plus my personal deliveries come with stories of weekends in NYC.

                                ETA...my reply was to your 2nd post...

                                1. re: Niblet
                                  cambridgedoctpr Jan 28, 2013 06:41 AM

                                  well, learn to live with less; buy the best that you can afford here in Boston.

                                  1. re: cambridgedoctpr
                                    hotoynoodle Jan 28, 2013 06:57 AM

                                    why throw good money at something terrible? or even meh? that's dumb, not cheap.

                                    1. re: hotoynoodle
                                      cambridgedoctpr Jan 28, 2013 05:20 PM

                                      i save my deli urges for NY tthough i must say that my heart belongs to Barney Greengrass. I would like a place on the Upper West Side

                                      1. re: cambridgedoctpr
                                        StriperGuy Jan 29, 2013 07:29 AM

                                        Too funny, I grew up three blocks from there.

                              2. shaogo Jan 26, 2013 07:35 AM

                                Also to the OP, why NOT have Katz's send you some. After all, their motto is "send a salami to your son in the army." They've been shipping pastrami and other deli for over 50 years!

                                1. shaogo Jan 26, 2013 07:34 AM

                                  There are several "authentic" "Jewish" delis in the Miami/Palm Beach area, but I can't recall any names. I *hate* to suggest this but it's my only choice: check-out Yelp for the FL location you'll be in.

                                  I read the post topic and thought to myself "Oh, my goodness... in Boston they put lettuce and mayonnaise on ham sandwiches, there couldn't *possibly* be a good pastrami-macher in Boston."

                                  There IS good food in Boston, I just need Chowhounds to tell me if there's a good Jewish-style deli there...

                                  1. m
                                    mugen Jan 25, 2013 10:27 PM

                                    To the New Yorkers: is Katz's even good?

                                    I've walked past, and it looked like that sort of tacky, tourist dive that many cities have - the kind that was last good decades ago, now lives on a faded reputation and the patronage of tripadvisor-grade tourists, and that no local in his right mind would visit.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: mugen
                                      Niblet Jan 26, 2013 07:29 AM

                                      You walked right by, how can you tell me this?! Have to assume it's because you'd had your fill at Russ & Daughters. Though even that's no excuse; satiety doesn't last forever....

                                      1. re: mugen
                                        StriperGuy Jan 26, 2013 08:22 AM

                                        Oh Katz's is touristed, but Katz's is GOOD!

                                        1. re: mugen
                                          kimfair1 Jan 26, 2013 12:27 PM

                                          I never cared for pastrami, until I ate at Katz's. Now I know. It truly was (for me) a life changing pastrami sandwich.

                                          1. re: mugen
                                            cherrytomato Jan 26, 2013 12:51 PM

                                            Katz's is my favorite NYC deli, It's not good it's excellent. Hand carved pastrami and corned beef. If there are tourists there it's because people talk and tell them to eat there. There are plenty of touristy restaurants in Boston that are excellent too. Friends send their friends to places they know are delicious.

                                          2. c
                                            chompie Jan 25, 2013 10:21 PM

                                            Best corned beef since childhood days was definitely Evans Deli in Marblehead. I think he buys it in NY. Its the old fashioned kind with good ol fat...The large group I served was all happy. I'm a veggie and I couldnt even resist it..Didnt have his pastrami though but the smoked fish was great. Once a year my hubby gets pastrami from the Bnai Brith booth at the Topsfield Fair. Its the only place he has ever seen it around here that has some good fat content and sits in a delicious old fashioned pan of juice instead of the drier leaner modern stuff. Dont know where they get it but sure you could find out. It could just be Hebrew National or something but maybe they just know how to flavor and juice it up...

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: chompie
                                              Niblet Jan 26, 2013 07:31 AM

                                              Yup fattiness is key.

                                            2. w
                                              Wannabfoode Jan 22, 2013 07:22 PM

                                              Russo's was doing samples of a hot pastrami this past weekend. They don't sell it to go, but use it in their sandwiches. Pretty tasty, I thought.

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: Wannabfoode
                                                Karl S Jan 23, 2013 01:47 AM

                                                That's NY Deli Patrol Pastrami. Which is a very good product, but very typically it doesn't have much of a fat cap. Perhaps it's first cut brisket, instead of the fattier deckle (and almost certainly not the platinum-standard fatty navel cut).

                                                I find the best way to heat pastrami that is worth heating (that is, not the dreaded "lean pastrami" that is made from the round) is to put it in a plastic bag, remove the air and seal, place in a bowl and run it under hot tap water (which is hot enough to warm it properly without cooking it). A poor man's sous vide.

                                                1. re: Karl S
                                                  MC Slim JB Jan 23, 2013 04:52 AM

                                                  I think that NYDP product is very good for retail, if leaner than I also prefer. The company is based in Westford. Wish my local Foodies still carried it.


                                                  1. re: Karl S
                                                    StriperGuy Jan 23, 2013 08:37 AM

                                                    Nice tip!

                                                    1. re: Karl S
                                                      shaogo Jan 26, 2013 07:42 AM


                                                      I've always re-heated Katz's in our (large) toaster oven -- with a pan of hot water underneath it.

                                                  2. f
                                                    fantundo Jan 22, 2013 12:25 PM

                                                    I like the Romanian pastrami at Nellio's in Lexington, which they have on Thursdays and Saturdays. They cut it in thick slices. It's not traditional deli pastrami, but it sure tastes good.

                                                    13 Replies
                                                    1. re: fantundo
                                                      GretchenS Jan 23, 2013 09:30 AM

                                                      Question on the Neillio's pastrami: I tried it for the first time recently. I got there late in the day and they only had two portions left, cut from the very end. There was some sort of cloyingly sweet glaze on the outside that really ruined it for me. Is that characteristic of their pastrami, or was it just that the little end pieces had a disproportionate amount of outsides,if you will? Overall, do you find their pastrami sweet?

                                                      1. re: GretchenS
                                                        fantundo Jan 23, 2013 08:20 PM

                                                        It does have a sweet glaze, but they'll scrape it off if you ask. And the end peices do have the heaviest dose of it. You can call ahead and they will set aside enough for as many sandwiches as you want.

                                                        1. re: GretchenS
                                                          LStaff Jan 24, 2013 06:54 AM

                                                          Yes, very sweet. Sometimes rubbery and dried out too - especially if you get the end pieces.

                                                          1. re: LStaff
                                                            Steve L Jan 29, 2013 07:52 AM

                                                            The Romanian pastrami at Neillio's is cooked with crushed pineapple which is a key ingredient.

                                                            1. re: Steve L
                                                              hotoynoodle Jan 29, 2013 12:00 PM

                                                              what on earth is pineapple doing in romanian pastrami? am i the only one thinking that's weird?

                                                              1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                StriperGuy Jan 29, 2013 12:44 PM

                                                                Totally agree.

                                                                1. re: StriperGuy
                                                                  9lives Jan 29, 2013 05:57 PM

                                                                  There are pineapple trees growing all over Romania? No..:)

                                                                  1. re: 9lives
                                                                    StriperGuy Jan 30, 2013 02:52 AM

                                                                    Rumania, Rumania, Rumania....

                                                                    Mit der Pineapple trees, a mamaligala, a pastramela

                                                                    The updated version of a classic Klezmer tune.

                                                                    The pastrami reference being the key.


                                                                2. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                  Steve L Jan 30, 2013 03:16 AM

                                                                  It's sweet, salty, warm and fatty and sells like crazy.

                                                                  1. re: Steve L
                                                                    hotoynoodle Jan 30, 2013 07:34 AM

                                                                    like ham cooked with pineapple rings and maraschino cherries? bleck.

                                                                    also, klezmer makes me want to stick an icepick in urechea mea.

                                                                    1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                      StriperGuy Jan 30, 2013 08:25 AM

                                                                      Gosh, all joking aside I actually love Klezmer.

                                                                      1. re: StriperGuy
                                                                        hotoynoodle Jan 30, 2013 08:29 AM

                                                                        then i'll know where to find you at the lowell summer folk fest. :)

                                                                        come to think -- have never seen pastrami served there!

                                                                      2. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                        Science Chick Feb 5, 2013 10:48 AM

                                                                        I had a great aunt that used to make a corned beef with pineapple and cloves, like a ham.....she was usually a great cook, but BLEECH. Never forget one time biting into an overlooked clove :(

                                                          2. Niblet Jan 22, 2013 10:42 AM

                                                            Thanks all! Love these ideas, need to make a trip to Chelsea soon.

                                                            For research purposes I just got a chipotle pastrami at Sam Lagrassa's and it was super. Nicely balanced spicy and sweet. As for the pastrami itself it was fine but nothing special I didn't think...my quest continues.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: Niblet
                                                              hotoynoodle Jan 22, 2013 12:34 PM

                                                              chipotle pastrami? jeebus, what heresy! lol.

                                                            2. itaunas Jan 22, 2013 09:40 AM

                                                              Its not the most convenient, but Arthur's in Chelsea brings up good quality meats from NYC. I like them better than Michael's for corned beef because they are accommodating for tastes (cutting slices with more fat if desired, even sometimes cutting from another brisket piece). Won't compare them to Katz and not as certain about pastrami, but I think they are the best overall option in Boston. If your friend is into it, I would also suggest getting some of their chopped liver which they do make their own. And you can get Katz's bagels nearby too.

                                                              Not far at all from the airport if driving, but you need to allow a bit of time in case you encounter the bridge up (20+ minute backup).

                                                              1. b
                                                                bostonfoodz Jan 22, 2013 08:54 AM

                                                                no place in boston sadly. michael's buys his-- not homemade and I believe it was sold recently. my favorite, better than katz's is langers in LA. they will ship and it is delicious. you can also buy from zingermans in Ann Arbor. also a legit product. since it's steamed, it does not require fresh cut-- as it reheats well.

                                                                1. o
                                                                  owades Jan 21, 2013 03:31 PM

                                                                  You might try looking on the Miami/Fort Lauderdale Chowhound board (79). That region seems to have more New York-style delis than we do here in Boston. The well-regarded Rascal House in Miami closed some years ago, but there are a number of alternatives that people seem to recommend. I think Sam LaGrassa's probably makes the best pastrami sandwich I've found around here, but it's not really comparable to Katz's.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: owades
                                                                    tpigeon Jan 22, 2013 07:35 PM

                                                                    Hi visitor from the Miami board who visits NYC fairly often (also used to live there) and am familiar with Katz's -- saw this thread at random. For the Miami area, up until about a 9 months ago, the answer was not even close. Then Josh's deli opened.

                                                                    Their pastrami is so good that I don't even bother going to Katz's anymore when I go to NYC. I could not really tell you which is actually better because I would need to eat them side by side, they are that close.

                                                                    In case you are wondering, Josh's is similar to Katz's in that he makes his own pastrami and hand cuts it. Thicker slices and jucier than machine cut pastrami.

                                                                    Josh's is the real deal folks.

                                                                  2. Luther Jan 21, 2013 03:03 PM

                                                                    Have a sandwich at Michael's and at Sam LaGrassa's and make your decision at that point, because you won't find anything better.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: Luther
                                                                      catsmeow Jan 21, 2013 03:16 PM

                                                                      I never liked Michaels and use to like Sam LaGrassas. Last week, I got a sandwich from the latter after not eating there for a few years. I was really disappointed. I would think there still must be a few delis in the Miami Beach area that would far surpass anything around here.

                                                                    2. hotoynoodle Jan 21, 2013 02:51 PM

                                                                      in boston? nope. not even close.

                                                                      don't know about FL.

                                                                      19 Replies
                                                                      1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                        Niblet Jan 21, 2013 02:57 PM

                                                                        Yeah, I guess I kinda knew that must be the case. Haven't tried the options in Brookline but was holding out hope just in case they're that awesome.

                                                                        1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                          lipoff Jan 28, 2013 12:45 AM

                                                                          I don't disagree that Katz's pastrami is incredibly good. But I think Nellio's in Lexington, as well as Michael's Deli and Sam LaGrasa's also have great pastrami and are, in fact, close. Nellio's is the closest in style to Katz's Deli. Why not bring your friend some pastrami from Boston for a change of pace? I try to stop at Katz's Deli nearly every trip I make to New York, but since you can't get there, give something else a try!

                                                                          1. re: lipoff
                                                                            StriperGuy Jan 28, 2013 06:09 AM

                                                                            IMHO LaGrasa's is good, but not even in the same universe.

                                                                            1. re: lipoff
                                                                              MC Slim JB Jan 28, 2013 06:09 AM

                                                                              I agree that while nobody in Boston approaches a Katz's or a Schwartz's, La Grassa does a very respectable job with their own house-made pastrami.

                                                                              I'd successfully avoided the mostly-terrible Zaftig's for years, and another recent forced visit confirmed my belief that it has no business in any serious discussion of Jewish deli. Dreadful place.


                                                                              1. re: MC Slim JB
                                                                                StriperGuy Jan 28, 2013 07:15 AM

                                                                                La Grassa does not make their pastrami, they just give a commercially made pastrami a nice steam in house.

                                                                                I just called them and they confirmed that "someone smokes it for them" and they "cook it" in house.

                                                                                1. re: StriperGuy
                                                                                  Nab Jan 28, 2013 08:11 AM

                                                                                  Hardly anybody makes their own pastrami (including Langer's and Katz's), although I don't know if that's such a horrible offense if it's being custom-made by a vendor.

                                                                                  I've stopped crying about the lack of a local deli and started getting it shipped - Langer's (my preference), Kenny & Zukes - get a coupla pounds, a loaf of excellent rye, etc to the tune of about $50 all in. Considering a sandwich at Katz's on their awful bread rings in close to $20, I'd say that's a bargain for not having to leave your couch.

                                                                                  1. re: Nab
                                                                                    StriperGuy Jan 28, 2013 08:54 AM

                                                                                    Katz's doesn't make their own? Hmmmm do tell.

                                                                                    Hmmmm, I like the order it route. That'll be my next pastrami binge for sure.

                                                                                    1. re: StriperGuy
                                                                                      Nab Jan 28, 2013 11:15 AM

                                                                                      I seem to recall reading a credible source online some years back revealing Katz pastrami vendor but can't seem to find it right now. There is this old NYT piece that touches on the shtick (I pasted in an excerpt below):


                                                                                      And Alan Dell, who owns Katz's with a partner, Fred Austin, told me he still cures his own pastrami in the store, before sending it out to be smoked. Two weeks later, Mr. Austin expressed some surprise at that claim. Katz's pastrami, he told me, is made in Brooklyn from scratch.

                                                                                      I asked him if I could visit the place.

                                                                                      ''Only if I blindfolded you,'' he said.

                                                                                      The number of sources for real pastrami in New York may be small, but the variations in pastrami quality found in the delis that buy from them affirm the truth of Mr. Karroll's statement: how the meat is treated once it arrives at the delicatessen is paramount.


                                                                                      I should note I failed to include the shipping costs and usually minimum 2# orders. Langer's rye bread is really quite exceptional - I think par-baked elsewhere and then baked off at the deli - but for $5.50 can also be shipped and baked at home to replicate the entirety of the sandwich. Just be sure to call them when ordering and ask for your fatty pastrami un-sliced or at least hand-sliced thick (which is their default at the deli but for reason machine-sliced seems to be their default for shipping).

                                                                                      I'll have to try having Mile End's shipped in next time.

                                                                                      1. re: Nab
                                                                                        StriperGuy Jan 28, 2013 12:49 PM

                                                                                        I just recently perfected my rye bread recipe starting from a Cooks Illustrated starting point. Killer stuff. Now I just need the pastramela.

                                                                                        1. re: StriperGuy
                                                                                          Monch Jan 28, 2013 01:26 PM

                                                                                          Ooooo...can you share that recipe, Striper?

                                                                                          I JUST smoked a pastrami, yesterday, and would love a good rye bread recipe.

                                                                                          (Sorry for going off-topic)

                                                                                          1. re: Monch
                                                                                            StriperGuy Jan 28, 2013 01:42 PM

                                                                                            I'll dig it up at home.

                                                                                            1. re: Monch
                                                                                              StriperGuy Jan 29, 2013 07:41 AM

                                                                                              My adapted version of a GREAT Rye Bread Recipe:

                                                                                              (optional) 2/3 cup toasted rye flakes (I toast lightly in a toaster oven)
                                                                                              2 3/4 cup water
                                                                                              1 1/2 tsp yeast
                                                                                              2 TBS honey
                                                                                              3 Cups Bread Flour

                                                                                              Mix Starter and let rise for at least 3 hours, overnight is better.


                                                                                              1 1/2 cups Bread Flour
                                                                                              3 1/2 cups rye flour
                                                                                              2 TBS caraway seeds
                                                                                              2 TBS vegetable oil
                                                                                              1 scant TBS salt

                                                                                              Mix the dough ingredients with the starter and give a good knead for at least 5 minutes.

                                                                                              Let rise for 2 hours or at least til doubled.

                                                                                              Preheat oven to 425

                                                                                              Punch down, give an additional brief knead, and form loaf. Sprinkle your baking pan (loaf, round, or whatever you prefer) with cornmeal, semolina, or more rye flakes to prevent sticking.

                                                                                              Let rise for at least an hour until it starts to spread and looks bloated.

                                                                                              Slash the top and glaze the top an egg white / milk (1TBS) glaze.

                                                                                              Bake for 15 minutes at 425 then turn down to 400.

                                                                                              Then bake for another 30 minutes. This loaf really needs to bake I find so make sure the internal temp is 200 degrees when done, or give it another 10-15 minutes.


                                                                                              P.S. on my next go round I am going to skip the first sponge step entirely and just mix everything together and let rise overnight, then punch down for a final rise and bake. I think the 3 rises is totally unnecessary, but have not proven that yet.

                                                                                              1. re: StriperGuy
                                                                                                Monch Jan 29, 2013 08:55 AM

                                                                                                Many thanks, Striper.

                                                                                                It's Reubens and pastrami sandwiches (home corned and smoked), on homemade rye bread, for Super Bowl!

                                                                                                My appreciation.

                                                                                                1. re: Monch
                                                                                                  StriperGuy Jan 29, 2013 09:44 AM

                                                                                                  Dang, I'll be there at 6:00 ;-)

                                                                                                  And really make sure the loaf is baked through. I took one out at 40 minutes on my old oven and it was gooey for about 1/2 the loaf.

                                                                                                  The thermometer is key.

                                                                                                  1. re: StriperGuy
                                                                                                    Monch Jan 29, 2013 12:56 PM

                                                                                                    I have had that problem, before, Striper.

                                                                                                    The probe thermometer is being unlimbered now.

                                                                                                2. re: StriperGuy
                                                                                                  bear Jan 29, 2013 09:20 AM

                                                                                                  Sounds great. Is that table salt or kosher?

                                                                                                  1. re: bear
                                                                                                    StriperGuy Jan 29, 2013 09:43 AM

                                                                                                    The original recipe calls for table, I don't need a whole lot of salt in my bread so I probably used 3/4 TBS of kosher. YMMV.

                                                                                                    1. re: StriperGuy
                                                                                                      bear Jan 29, 2013 09:52 AM

                                                                                                      Thanks. I'm way too attached to my salt, so I'll probably go heavy on it. I've been craving rye bread ever since I sampled Iggy's delicious bread last week at the Cambridge store, so this timing is perfect.

                                                                                                      1. re: bear
                                                                                                        StriperGuy Jan 29, 2013 10:03 AM

                                                                                                        Yah Iggy's rendition is pretty respectable. I'd put this recipe on par with that. Got some really nice Arrowhead Mills Rye flour from Whole Foods I think.

                                                                              Show Hidden Posts