"I have the simplest tastes. I am simply satisfied with the best." - Oscar Wilde

"I came, I saw, I ate." - Au Gourmand

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Pastrami Queen - March 12, 2011

Their sign said the best pastrami, and I took upon the challenge. Since I was still freshly stuffed with dissected and grilled chicken and various poultry parts from Tori Shin, I asked for a quarter pound of pastrami and a sweet potato knish to go, which were later patted down, looked over and coolly escorted out of the Metropolitan Museum (I suppose they do not care for this particular kind of art).


The heavily fatty pastrami was disintegrating even before it reached my mouth. When I picked it up with my folk, the crisscrossed fat and meat opened up like a delicate and intricate Chinese paper cuts – those red things that open up to reveal a carp or well-wishes. After cutting off much of the fat, I was left with a few strands of scraggy pink meat. Sans fat, the meat was adequately seasoned but unmemorable. Now I understood why it came with such a large serving of grainy mustard: Do-It-Yourself.

Sweet potato knish

I was once young and carefree – or shall I say, careless – and I had often subsisted on Zabar’s Buy-5-And-Get-1-Free knishes. The unusual fried knish of Pastrami Queen was oily, greasy and – let me repeat just in case – oily. So oily it was that it moisturized all of my ten fingers with some leftovers for the back of my hands. The dough was soggy and tasted somewhat raw, despite its golden and crispy appearance – there is nothing more repulsive than the taste of half-raw flour, or half-cooked, depending on how you look at it. On the other hand, the filling was surprisingly light and sweetened just enough from the sweetness of the potatoes; in other words, largely left alone after mashing. Am I glad that my young days are now safely tucked away with the moth and mildew and largely left forgotten.

Pastrami Queen
Address: 1125 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10021
Phone: (212) 734-1500

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