The 10 Best Pastrami Dishes in NYC That Aren't Sandwiches
Introduced to New York by 19th century Eastern European immigrants (the same folks who gave us pierogies, knishes, and kishka), pastrami is an easy contender for GMOAT (Greatest Meat Of All Time), and also one of the foodstuffs most synonymous with our fair city. Brined and coated in strong spices including black pepper, mustard seed, coriander, and garlic, beef briskets are smoked and then steamed to create the delicacy's signature meltingly soft texture. The pastrami sandwich? A local luminary and national treasure. But the deli darling that launched a thousand fake orgasms has also found itself the star of numerous dishes that straight up balk at the Earl of Sandwich's beloved invention. Here are our 10 favorites, which may just be the best thing to happen to pastrami since sliced rye bread.
10. Pastrami dumplings at Brooklyn Wok Shop, (182 North 10th Street, Brooklyn; 347-889-7992)
Chinese-American takeout gets a modernized, sometimes mild-mannered spin at Melissa and Edric Har's Williamsburg dim sum and noodle shop, where there's hanger steak in the beef with broccoli, and lump crab in the rangoons. Pastrami dumplings ($7) would better mimic a Reuben if they were fried, but the steamed dough pouches give off a pierogi vibe, covered in sauerkraut and creamy dijonnaise sauce to complement the smoked meat, which the Hars cure themselves. The couple also vends these paunchy treasures at nearby weekend seaside food orgy Smorgasburg.
9. Katz's egg roll at RedFarm, (529 Hudson Street, 212-792-9700)
When Katz's Deli workers were sending salamis to boys in the army (a WWII-era slogan still plastered on the deli's back wall), I'm sure they didn't anticipate that the restaurant's pastrami would become the catalyst for cultural fusion. At Ed Schoenfeld and Joe Ng's duo of upscale nouveau Chinese restaurants, the smoked meat is diced and mixed with shredded cabbage and carrots for an egg roll filling. Battered and fried to a craggy crisp, the meat weeps fat into the vegetables as it cooks. The rolls are served appropriately with mustard sauce for dipping.
8. Pastrami salmon carpaccio at Black Crescent, (76 Clinton Street, 212-477-1771)
Chef Dustin Everett has since channeled his New Orleans roots at this boisterous nautical saloon, but one of the few dishes to make the cut from the watering hole's previous incarnation as a raw bar and small plates operation is this smoked fish presentation ($14). The kitchen cures and smokes the salmon using a proprietary pastrami spice blend, then pairs it with another appetizing favorite, smoked bluefish paté on top of brioche crostini tinged near-black with squid ink. The flavors are as dark and deep, with an eggy richness from the brioche -- it's appetizing 2.0, worth the investment in both time and money.
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