Growing up near Detroit and then living in LA, I must admit I have been spoiled by good delis. Thus, when I moved to Pittsburgh I was shocked to learn that apparently the deli scene was pretty terrible. Because of this, it took me nearly two years to get to Smallman Street Deli – the biggest Jewish Deli in town.
They make their own pastrami and corned beef and whatnot, so I ordered their Signature Sandwich with pastrami. It also came with mustard, on specialty rye. Instead of mustard I ordered Russian dressing and also asked for a slice of Swiss cheese on the sandwich. It was served warm and with a stupid pickle that I promptly removed (in defense of Smallman’s, it was listed on the menu and I forgot to order without). As for the pastrami, it was pretty different from the Jewish pastrami I’m used to, which is typically similar to corned beef with an extra spiced rind.
But in this case, different was good. It had some really solid flavor that went well with the bread, cheese and dressing. A thicker cut would have improved the sandwich by adding some nice texture to the meat, but overall I couldn’t argue with the flavor.
In general, it wasn’t the most impressive deli because at the end of the day I want some pastrami that leaves me thinking about it days later, but it’s also not bad in a pinch.