Loeser's Pastrami Sandwich, One of Our 100 Favorite Dishes
No. 16: Pastrami sandwich from Loeser's Deli (214 West 231st Street, Bronx, 718-548-9735)
Come for the cultural time travel, stay for one of the city's timeless classics.
We'll let you in on a little secret: Keeping up with food trends is a giant pain. Whenever a new hot-ticket item debuts drawing hordes of obsessive eaters, all we want to do is hide in our well-stocked fallout shelter (related: What's the shelf life for duck rillettes?) until those Bucatini Blasterz fade into the ether. With every line that stretches around the block, we find ourselves further drawn to old New York and the establishments that have stood the test of time. And in a city with restaurants well over 100 years old, Loeser's Deli is practically middle-aged at 53. Proprietor Freddy Loeser has helped the place mature with grace and stubborn determination, and his dedication to craft is evident in the superb pastrami sandwich. The meat gets sliced thin and piled high onto soft, seedless rye with a slightly chewy crust. With a coating heavy on black pepper and garlic, the warmed pastrami fat soaks into the bottom slice of bread, the deli mustard on top just spicy enough to foil the brisket's unctuousness. Pastrami is one of those tastes that's come to represent the city alongside pizza, a hot dog with mustard and sauerkraut, and the custard-filled croissant-doughnut hybrid. It's a dish worth at least another 50 years of staying power, and Loeser's makes one of our favorites.
Later this year, we'll pen our Best of New York issue, our annual love letter to what's great in this town. When that paper hits the streets, you'll find our picks for the very best this city has to offer when it comes to dozens of cuisines, restaurants, dishes, and drinks. Until then, you can get a taste of our contenders as we count down, in no particular order, our 100 favorite dishes from around the boroughs, a list of laudable eats worth tracking down right now.
No. 100: Taqueria Lower East Side's carnitas No. 99: Tartine's steamed mussels No. 98: Malu's Cookie Monster ice cream No. 97: Coppelia's Havana salad No. 96: Falansai's clay pot catfish No. 95: Uncle Boons' Khao Soi Kaa Kai No. 94: ABC Cocina's salted caramel "impossible" flan No. 93: Shu Jiao Fu Zhou Cuisine's peanut noodles No. 92: Distilled's country-fried duck and waffles No. 91: Calliope's octopus salad No. 90: Charlie Bird's diver scallop crudo No. 89: Silver Moon Bakery's fig and pepper bread No. 88: Stage Restaurant's egg, cheese, and sausage on a roll No. 87: Manzanilla's Marbella's Full Moon No. 86: Bia's Cary Ga No. 85: La Newyorkina's pineapple jalapeño paleta No. 84: Empellón Taqueria's skirt steak tacos No. 83: Sugar Sweet Sunshine's pistachio cupcake No. 82: El Chivito d'Oro's skirt steak No. 81: Saro Bistro's satarash No. 80: Oda House's adjaruli khatchapuri No. 79: Hill Country Chicken's pie milkshake No. 78: Fletcher's Brooklyn Barbecue's chili mac No. 77: The Musket Room's steak and cheese pie No. 76: Battery Harris' Baked Patties No. 75: Legend's Dan Dan Noodles No. 74: Pure Thai's Nakorn-Patom duck noodles soup No. 73: Melt Bakery's Morticia No. 72: Calexico's Baja Fish Taco No. 71: Sushi Dojo's Omakase No. 70: Bear's smoked whitefish No. 69: Locanda Verde's corn ravioli No. 68: Ghenet's Ghenet Combination No. 67: Ample Hills Creamery's ice cream No. 66: Burger & Barrel's Burger No. 65: Radegast's Munich pretzel No. 64: Mighty Quinn's Burnt End Baked Beans No. 63: Cho Dang Gol's spicy galbi jjim No. 62: Tacos Mexico's chorizo taco No. 61: Pork Slope's loaded nachos No. 60: Pine Box Rock Shop's bloody mary No. 59: Franny's antipasto plate No. 58: Num Pang's curry red lentil soup No. 57: Khe-Yo's Jurgielewicz duck salad No. 56: Dough's doughnut (any doughnut) No. 55: King Noodle's ma po tofu fries No. 54: Terri's green power smoothie No. 53: Estela's beef tartare No. 52: Pho Grand's pork chop pho No. 51: Stella 34 Trattoria's chocolate gelato No. 50: RedFarm's spicy crispy beef No. 49: Bhojan's daal tadka No. 48: Pig and Khao's khao soi No. 47: The Grand's handmade pierogies No. 46: Dominick's Deli's Dante's Inferno No. 45: The Queens Kickshaw's deep-fried squash blossoms No. 44: Black Tree's squash blossom sandwich No. 43: Nan Xiang's xiao long bao No. 42: Jones Wood Foundry's bangers and mash No. 41: White Bear's wontons No. 40: The Harrison's toasted couscous and farro salad No. 39: Katja's sausage sampler No. 38: Magpies' strawberry-balsamic magpie No. 37: Bunker's pho ga No. 36: Fritzl's Lunch Box's burger No. 35: Biang's lotus root salad No. 34: BrisketTown's brisket No. 33: Bronx Ale House's alehouse nachos No. 32: Shinobi Ramen's mabo ramen No. 31: Pok Pok NY's papaya pok pok No. 30: Land of Plenty's Szechuan Pork Dumplings No. 29: Financier's pistachio macaron No. 28: Arancini Bros' Nutella arancini No. 27: Di Fara's calzone No. 26: Atera's bone marrow No. 25: The Mermaid Inn's brunch bread basket No. 24: Hospoda's fried cherries No. 23: Xe May's Lam'bretta No. 22: Meatballs Alsatian from Café Cluny No. 21: Café Ghia's biscuits and gravy No. 20: Espardeñas from Toro No. 19: Beef noodle soup from Lan Zhou No. 18: Soup and half roll combo from Luke's Lobster No. 17: Spicy pork quesadilla from La Pasadita
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