What to do when you have a ton of food in the apartment, but you don’t really want to prepare any of it? Why, you order in of course. Taking advantage of Seamlessweb on a Sunday night, my dining companion and I ordered, just in the nick of time, from Pastrami Queen, a storefront near the subway station a couple blocks away from home. It was getting near closing time, so we hurriedly placed our order and waited the 20-30 minutes.
I’d heard about Pastrami Queen from a pastrami “newbie”, who has yet to visit some of the obvious go-tos in the city for pastrami (no Katz’s yet, Gaj? Really?), but really talked up this place. So we ordered a pastrami sandwich and a corned beef sandwich, both on toasted rye, and a quart of the chicken soup, figuring this would be enough sustenance for one evening.
Delivered in less than 20 minutes, our order arrived still quite warm. This is the corned beef on toasted rye (mustard was provided on the side, as was a container of thousand island dressing). Generous with the meat, too!
Apologies for the shaky closeup. The corned beef was tender enough, but maybe a little drier than I wanted, and while flavorful and briny, it wasn’t as Earth-shattering as I had hoped. My dining companion agreed. It flaked nicely though, the grain of the meat really accommodating each bite. Additionally, the occasional smear of thousand island, along with the somewhat-spicy brown mustard I slathered on the bread, really brought out the contrast between salty and sweet and, I dunno, made the corned beef “meatier”.
Pastrami showdown time! I’m not a big pastrami snob, though I do know what I like. Pastrami Queen machine-cuts its meats, like virtually all delis in the city, but if you start with a moist, fatty slab of meat, who cares?
Okay. One bite without mustard. This… this is the real deal. This is some super-juicy, just-fatty-enough, peppery, spiced-up — is that garlic? — good pastrami. So dang tender. I admit to being really surprised. Now, I still appreciate the occasional pastrami at Fette Sau, and Katz’s is Katz’s of course, but this is a five-minute walk, and it’s about the same price, and… yeah, I’m sold.
Like any deli worth its salt, the Queen offers chicken soup — and as my dining companion was a bit under the weather, I only took a few sips of the broth. Dense, flavored with chickeny goodness, not terribly salty, which was classified as a minor ding against it, but I liked it, though I am pretty sure I could make a few gallons of this for less than the $11 I was charged. The noodles held up well, too, so that was well appreciated.
Since there’s so much meat in these sandwiches, extra seeded rye was sent along. I used this later in the week for my own purposes, but I appreciate the acknowledgement that not everyone wants a huge sandwich.
I don’t know if it’s standard practice to include two pickles with every sandwich, or if this was just end-of-the-day luck, but four gherkin-sized pickles appeared in the order. I was pleased to find out they were dill or even half-sours, not sweet at all, and a tasty accompaniment to the meal.
I’m sold on Pastrami Queen. After kind of making fun of the name in the past, I’m happy to see that a local deli is serving up a tasty sandwich. The delivery was quick, even as they were closing for the night, and the food doesn’t seem to have suffered. Plus, they use a good rye! I’ll definitely be ordering from them again or just stopping by on the way home from work on those days I don’t feel like cooking. It’s on the pricey side, but they make it seem worth every penny. Give them a try if you’re in the area.