If you’re traveling the I-5/405 corridor to Irvine and Los Angeles and get a craving for a really good pastrami on rye, find your way to Tommy Pastrami New York Delicatessen, just off Bake Parkway near the El Toro merge. This new franchise with three stores and more on the way serves overstuffed, high quality sandwiches of the type you’d find at top New York or Los Angeles delis that were noted last September in Los Angeles magazine. Unfortunately, there isn’t a deli in San Diego (DZ Akins and others pale by comparison) that holds a corned beef sandwich to those LA institutions. The new comer, Tommy Pastrami, even though their outlets don’t have table service, could certainly be added to the magazine’s list.
Fat sandwiches at Tommy Pastrami come in three sizes: 4-ounce ($4.95) 6-ounce ($6.95) a nd 8-ounce ($8.95). Whether it’s melt-in-your- mouth pastrami or thinly sliced, slightly marbled and tender corned beef or tuna with finely chopped celery and just enough mayo not to intrude on the tuna, or chopped liver with bits of hardboiled egg that is light not heavy, the top quality shows in the food. The half- inch plus slices of crunchy-crusted corn rye bread, an integral part of a great deli sandwich, make the trip worthwhile. Thick fries, a zippy homemade chili, salads, chicken soup, even matzo balls, cheesecake and rugala are among other treats on the menu.
Tommy Pastrami knows the business and they’ve hired some seasoned deli guys. In chatting with Howard, who took my order, I learned his dad started Marv’s (long since sold), one of the top ten listed in LA magazine. Yes, it’s worth the trouble to detour off the freeway for a pastrami (or any sandwich) on rye. At the Commons, 8685 Irvine Center Drive, Irvine, (949)753-7445, Closed Sunday.
This place doesn’t get very good marks in Orange County. Could it be another Capriotti’s?
Anyway, I’ll be very excited if The Hat opens a location in San Diego. They have some decent pastrami.
Buzz responds: I’d say check out Tommy Pastrami’s menu and you’ll see it is truly New York deli/LA deli and not of the two you mention in your comment.
David B. doesnt know what good New York Style pastrami is. The Hat is cheep super fatty pastrami. They hide the cheep low quality pastrami they serve by soaking it in a saltly solution. Tommy’s Pastrami is lean and juicy. They serve it steamed and piled high between two slices fresh Rye. No need to soak in salt water, they have nothing to hide. Next time order an original Pastrami on rye, sqeeze some of that Batampte Deli mustard on it. Then take a big ole bite of that baby and a bite of the pickle let those flavors mix around in you mouth. Then come tell me that isint the best damn Pastrami sandwhich around!!
I live in SD, I’m from NY but grew up in LA. People think I’m a snob when I say they have no idea what a good pastrami sandwich is. The Hat is horrible. They are opening a Tommy Pastrami in downtown SD next month and I’m very anxious to try it. The Deli’s out here, Citi and DZ are decent but not great. Not for the 13 bucks they charge.