Best Bites: Row 14's Cherry Wood–Smoked Pastrami

June 2012

A couple weeks ago, I attended a tasting at Row 14 where I sampled items from both the lunch and dinner menus. There are several dishes—such as the Alamosa striped bass with peppered bacon—that I’ll go back for, but it’s the cherry wood–smoked pastrami sandwich that I can’t stop thinking about.

Executive chef Jensen Cummings does a superb job of marrying the flavors of smoked pastrami with a fried egg, Swiss cheese, caramelized onion, harissa aïoli on pita-style flatbread. But even with the abundance of fillings, the pastrami still stands out. Here’s why: Cummings uses the navel plate cut of beef because it’s leaner than brisket. He brines the whole muscle for two days, dries it for one, and then slow-smokes it over cherry wood. And then Cummings slices the pastrami to a medium thickness. “Some cut it thinly or even like a slab, but we slice it somewhere in between. That way it has a bit of that bounce to it, but it’s not overly chewy.”

I know what I’m having for lunch tomorrow.

Tip: Try the sandwich paired with the 2009 Stoller Vineyards Pinot Noir from Dundee Hills, Oregon.

891 14th St., 303-825-0100