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Mar 29, 2013 06:21 AM

Beat this shaved ham and swiss sandwich - 7 bucks

Pardon that I've not attached this to a previous thread.

What does great white bread, cold crispy leaf lettuce, heirloom tomatoes, a massive mouth stretching not too salty pile of house cured, cold razor thin shaved ham, house made mayonnaise (YES), swiss cheese, dill pickle slices, and basic yellow mustard get you? Just possibly the best ham sandwich you've ever had. I've read it here on another post recommending an out of towner to avoid eating sandwiches in Austin. I understand the historical perspective (especially re: delis), but now, some of the BEST sandwiches can be found here. And for me at least three are at Melvin's. After about 15 pastrami or corned beef ruebens I broke from tradition and tried the ham and cheese. best ever. If someone for God's sake though would start up an actual solid kosher deli with authentic Matzoh Ball Soup?? C'mon, what's up with that hole in our food scene?

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  1. Austin had Katz's for many years, I never learned why it closed. Jewish, but not kosher (nor was your sandwich!)

    3 Replies
    1. re: Veggo

      Good clarification, Melvin's is not hard core kosher (I'm sure meat and dairy mingle in fridges and griddles), but the corned beef without cheese is roll back your eyes good still. I am nothing more than an honorary Jew according to my close friends back east where I learned to love gefilte fish and attended quite a few passover celebrations (I held the egg a few times) and fell in love with kosher delis. Katz to me was just plain awful (and thankfully gone) and Austin completely lacks an even decent kosher deli (though I hear the veggie joint Schmaltz is getting good feedback).

      From the less than comparably stellar bagels to the lack of a great, simple, chicken fat laden Matzoh ball or three swimming in chicken / veggie soup options in this town, I continue to find this one of our greatest gaps in Austin cuisine. This actually represents an opportunity for Melvin's, get some separate fridges and griddles, find or make great bagels, and fill the void. But don't get rid of that awesome ham!! Curing their own pastrami and corned beef to such a fantastic result puts them well underway in filling the void.

      1. re: slowcoooked

        I have had this discussion with one of Austin's prominent jewish entertainers - actually at his homes in Dripping Springs and San Pedro Belize, Jerry Jeff Walker.

        1. re: Veggo

          Maybe Jerry Jeff should invest in the Melvin's folks for a brick and mortar after the proceeds from Camp Belize are in. :-)

    2. This sounds awesome! I'll have to go check it out for sure... reading that made my mouth water.

      But yes, we're sorely lacking in the Jewish deli dept... HEB far west is good but far from great, and Katz was lousy, lousy, lousy. This Mastmans place is coming though... I'm hopeful!

      3 Replies
      1. re: popvulture

        BTW, Melvin's just started (maybe today) saturday lunch hours. And I too enjoy the HEB at Far West - and the authentic beards on the meat handlers. Thanks for the heads up on the mastmans place. they should have a captive audience.

        1. re: slowcoooked

          Well, shucks. We wanted to go try the Ruben today and remembered they weren't open and went somewhere else instead.

          1. re: amysuehere

            Well when you do, you and hub may want to get one grilled, one not, and split the halves. I actually prefer the non grilled. It's rich enough. We've started getting two different sandwiches and splitting. best of all worlds.

      2. I haven't been to Melvin's so I can't offer a comparison, but I found the ruben-like sandwich at Gonzo Juice (several locations) to be outstanding.

        1. Just in case the visually-oriented out there want a look, here's the ham.

          1. Excuse me for going off-topic for a moment.
            To set the record straight. I was the one who recommended that the out of town hound (carolinadawg) not eat a sandwich in Austin.
            It was an inside joke, inspired by this post:

            in which the original poster contended that "Southerners do not know how to make sandwiches, let alone hoagies". Except at the Jimmy John's in Nashville. Ugh!

            Anyway, this Melvin's sounds great. I'm going to have to try to figure out how to get there during the few hours that they are open.