Through my previous experiences at California delicatessens I had become very suspicious of pickles, but the fact that they didn’t even try to serve me half sours did give me hope. I didn’t have much time to chomp on the delicious dill pickles though, because the pastrami sandwich came right up. I had chosen to get the sandwich served on a French roll with Au Jus dipped bun.The pastrami was very different from what one would expect a classic Jewish deli in that it was not freshly cut, but was instead cooked in a pot before serving. This meant that the meat was not quite as juicy, but that was compensated for by the Au Jus sauce on the roll. While I've had Italian beef that really soaked the bread, this time the integrity of the roll was preserved while still adding the liquidity of the sauce. The flavor of the meat was actually more similar to maple bacon than classic pastrami, although it was not overwhelmingly sweet. The toasted French roll added a nice crunch to contrast the texture of the pastrami sandwich. I was initially really suspicious of both the pickles and the pastrami preparation, but the long pedigree of Johnnie’s (1952) really allowed them to pull it off.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Although it wasn’t my original intended destination, the really interesting sign drew me into Johnnie’s Pastrami. Located in Culver City, this restaurant had counter space, a few diner style tables, and a fair amount of outdoor seating available. The only thing keeping me from ordering a hot pastrami without looking at the menu was the need to check to make sure that I had enough cash to pay, since this place kept the fifties theme going with an inability to accept credit cards. As soon as I ordered I was served a bowl of sliced pickles and a small plastic fork.