Where can I get a great pastrami sandwich here in Tampa?
My latest attempt was a place called Dominick’s tucked away in the corner of a little strip mall called Bourbon Street Plaza on Ehrlich Rd. There is outdoor seating as well as more seating indoors. Troubling sign #1 was that the inside kind of reminded me of a diner, there was no deli vibe. No hanging salami or showcase sporting various cold cuts and maybe desserts. Troubling sign #2 is that Dominick’s doesn’t know what type of restaurant it wants to be. They serves Italian food, Peruvian food, Burgers, Greek food, chicken wings, and a partridge in a pear tree.
My sandwich was OK. I ordered a pastrami on rye with mustard and extra pickles. I found out when I got home there was no mustard on the bread, What freaked me out was all the melted Provolone cheese on top. In all fairness, had I read the description in the menu I could have opted not to have the cheese but I never thought of variations on this classic sandwich.
This is a thumbs down for me.
From a cynic that was born and raised in uptown Manhattan
,it's not happening all the way from the bread, the meat, the mustard and even the pickle on the side,,,
"Where can I get a great pastrami sandwich here in Tampa?"
I am going to say you can't. LOL.
Sorry, I don't know the area well, but it seems very unlikely.
I'd agree with Mild Bill. I used to go to Lenny's often when I worked in that area. I have a Jewish friend who introduced me to Lenny's and has given it her stamp of approval as an authentic Jewish deli. I can't remember whether I ordered the pastrami there, but I almost certainly did. Everything I have had at Lenny's was good and a few items were great. Of course, you wanted a Tampa restaurant, and this is not Tampa.
Another recommendation is 9246 4th St. N., St. Pete, Babalu's Restaurant. Okay, but loads of warnings about this. I am not from the east coast. I'm a midwestern WASP, now transplanted to Florida. My knowledge of New York and New Jersey delis (ground zero for good pastrami) is nil. So my background on what constitutes good pastrami is extremely limited. But I know what I like and this is good stuff.
More warnings. I was so impressed with the pastrami that I asked the server where it came from. She didn't know, so she checked with one of the cooks. He said it came from one of their two suppliers--Sysco or some other place. I remarked that I was astonished that a mass market restaurant supplier could produce such good pastrami. I was informed by the server that Sysco and other suppliers sell a wide variety of meat qualities and this is probably true of their pastrami, as well. You get what you pay for, or so it seems.
Another warning. Babalu's, not surprisingly, is a bar-like place which serves a wide variety of ethnic and bar foods. It has some pretensions to being a barbecue place. It sounds like the Dominick's which you described above, a place with eclectic food.
Another warning. The pastrami is huge, thinly sliced, big, wet, and greasy (but, on that last point, no more greasy than any other pastrami I have had). The moisture drains into the bread on the underside of the sandwich. The sandwich comes in a basket. If you let it sit very long, the underside of the sandwich disintegrates, so flip it over after you get it. Eat it upside down.
I had mine with raw onions and ball park mustard. (I can see the east coast people cringing at the ball park mustard.) The restaurant also serves pretty decent plank fries. Again, it's not in Tampa, but its location is pretty near the Gandy Bridge, as soon as you get into Pinellas County.
Try Schiller's German Deli at 4327 W El Prado Blvd, near Gandy in South Tampa. I've only been a couple times while visiting family, but this place is the most "authentic" I know of. I go for the liverwurst and bratwurst, so I can't speak for the pastrami, but I'm pretty sure you can find a good version there. They've got really nice rye bread, which is an important part of a good sandwich.