- Char No. 4
196 Smith St., nr. Baltic St., Carroll Gardens; 718-643-2106
Katz’s, clearly, this is not. But while that deli mecca continues to fight the good overstuffed-sandwich fight, we see no reason not to reward progress elsewhere in the cured-meat community—even, heretically, in a Brooklyn whiskey bar renowned for its house-smoked bacon and deep-fried pork nuggets. Chef Matt Greco is a barbecue-loving Texan whose food reflects his heritage as well as time spent in the kitchens of Café Gray and Café Boulud. His idea of pastrami (and ours, of late) is a Colorado lamb shoulder, brined and smoked in house, the succulent meat impossibly tender, pink-tinged, boldly seasoned, and sliced into gossamer ribbons. Greco paints a plate with coriander aïoli, arranges the warmed meat on top, and garnishes it with house-pickled onions, sprigs of cilantro, and grilled rye bread. It’s the most delicate pastrami we’ve ever tasted, which is meant entirely as a compliment, oxymoron or not.
From the 2009 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine
So what exactly does “best” mean in a city with thousands of pizza joints, hundreds of celebrity masseuses, and museum-worthy concept shops on every corner? Well, in the case of this, our annual “Best of New York” roundup, there’s a heavy emphasis on what’s new or what has somehow remained virtually unheard of (until now, of course).