David’s smallest brisket sandwich, at $7, is enough for nearly any appetite.
Bed-Stuy mainstay David’s Brisket House is one of Brooklyn’s most unusual restaurants. It was founded in the ’70s as a Jewish deli, slinging exemplary pastrami, corned beef, and roasted beef brisket. Nearly 30 years later, it remained a fundamentally Jewish deli, only now run by observant Muslims who realized the fundamental concordance of Halal and Kosher food, and dedicated themselves to keeping the quality high and the meat cheap. And the place was a bit hit, not only with co-religionists at nearby mosques on Fulton Street, but with the local population in general.
The $7 pastrami sandwich looks like this — that would buy less than half a sandwich in Manhattan.
Now the institution has expanded to Bay Ridge’s Fifth Avenue. The menu remains the same, with a premises slightly expanded and a tad more comfortable. We went on a Saturday afternoon and tried their signature sandwich — brisket with brown gravy on the side. The meat boasted caramelized edges and we went for the sauteed onions on top, deglazed with beef juices to amplify the beefy flavor.
The sandwich is available in $7, $10, and $13 denominations, but believe us, the smallest is plenty for any normal person, served with three sour pickle spears. You can get the smallest sandwich on a variety of breads, but a club roll is best, because the new branch is pioneering a new technique — hollowing out the bread, cramming in the meat, and then pressing the roll down, panini-style. Maybe they’re doing it in response to a local request for fewer carbs, but we doubt it — it just makes the sandwich denser and more delicious.
We also had a side of sweet/sour slaw (good, but more than one person can eat, once again due to density) and a pastrami sandwich, which we dutifully ate half of, and then wrapped up the rest and ran. How was the pastrami? Very good also, but a little crumbly, which sometimes happens with pastrami. Proving, when it comes to the brisket-based meats, there’s no such thing as a completely reproducible event, and every beef brisket is different.
David’s Brisket House
7721 Fifth Avenue
Bay Ridge, Brooklyn
The exterior of David’s new premises in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn
The Brisket House’s spiffy new interior, where there’s usually plenty of room to spread out.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 11, 2012