I’ve always been a fan of Acme Smoked Fish’s pastrami smoked salmon; the silky smoked fish seems like a natural match for that assertive, coarse black pepper-coriander rub. And now two new Brooklyn restaurants are pastrami-ing unorthodox meats. (The classic New York pastrami is made from brined brisket, rubbed with spices. Although, apparently, Romanians have always made pastrami out of mutton or pork.)
At Char No.4 (196 Smith Street), chef Matt Greco makes a house-cured lamb pastrami. I tried this recently, and it is wonderful. The lamb is sliced so thin that the pinkish strips are almost transparent, and is served with coriander aioli and rye bread. The faint gaminess of the lamb goes well with the floral-herbal-sharpness of the black peppercorns, coriander and juniper seeds.
And at Bussaco (833 Union Street) Chef Matthew Schaefer (formerly of Le Bernardin) is curing duck breast pastrami, which is served with homemade sauerkraut and black bread stuffing. I haven’t had this yet, but it sounds promising.