6 at 77th St.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
68th St. to 88th St., FDR Dr. to Fifth Ave.
Despite an address change and a sex change in 1999 (followed by a second, shorter move in 2006,) Pastrami Queen (né Pastrami King of Queens Boulevard) still cooks up some of the best pastrami in the land from her current Lexington Avenue castle. True, the castle is really a kosher deli storefront, but that doesn't detract from the quality of the house-cured offerings. Pastrami Queen's fluorescent-lit glass cases are populated with towers of knishes and bowls of chopped liver and egg salad. On the menu are Jewish classics: kasha varnishkes, bowtie pasta with buckwheat groats and sautéed onions; kreplach, beef-filled ravioli-esque dumplings served fried or in broth; and tongue Polonaise, cooked in a sweet and sour sauce. But the pastrami sandwich is the true coin of the realm. Dark, smoky, and moist, two solid vertical inches of the stuff is piled warm onto soft, seedless rye. The accompanying sweet, crisp coleslaw and tangy pickle are perfect foils to the richly marbled but not overly fatty meat. Most patrons get their sandwiches to-go, but it's worth sticking around if by some miracle there is a vacancy among the sixteen chairs. The retro appointments—shiny stainless steel counters, salamis hanging from the ceiling—are fit for a kosher-deli queen.Recommended Dishes
Pastrami sandwich, $14.95