Fork in the Road is always excited when new forms of pastrami -- the Crown Prince of cured meats -- spring up. We were thrilled a couple of years back at the appearance of the meat's more rustic Canadian cousin, smoked meat, and ran over to sample it when a delicate homemade version of pastrami debuted at Kutsher's. We even showed some enthusiasm for dumping pastrami into ramen soup at Dassara -- though we have yet to decide if we really like the idea.
So when we brunched with some Australian friends at Bar Boulud this past weekend and our eye fell upon the pastrami sandwich, which was generally lumped with French charcuterie, we had to have it.
Things that might make you scratch your head about this product, presumably invented by Boulud charcutier Gilles Verot, perhaps the city's only celebrity charcutier:
1. The pastrami is served at room temperature.
2. The sandwich is garnished with watercress.
3. The usual dill pickle is replaced with pickle chips, placed within the sandwich.
4. The spread is more mayo than mustard
5. The bread reads as pumpernickel, even though the menu calls it "sauerkraut bread."
If you can get entirely beyond these points -- and you are a veritable Saint James or Saint Julia if you can -- the sandwich is actually rather delicious. The meat is smokier than our own pastrami, even smokier than smoked meat. In fact, if you slapped some on white bread and served it at Hill Country as barbecue, only one diner in 10 would recognize the forgery.
And the homemade waffle potato chips ain't bad, either.