Wow, I never would have imagined a place like Best Market having good pastrami! Please tell me it’s got a healthy amount of fat on it!
I’m not old enough to know if this is really what happened but in my head I imagine back about 20-30 years ago the state of deli meat was far superior to what we have today. This whole Boar’s Head phenomenon has swept the nation along with severe fat phobia, redering the vast majority of readily available deli meat to the garbage pile. I think of all the meats perhaps pastrami has suffered the most under these changes, mainly because people are obsessed with lean deli meat. How can you have pastrami without the tasty fat?
I’ve had what I would consider good pastrami about four times in NJ, every time was at Richard’s deli in Long Branch. For a short stretch there whenever I got the pastrami I would request it extra fatty and get some seriously nice pieces of juicy fat glistening meat. Then, one day it stopped. I still asked for the fatty pastrami but all I got was lean dry bullshit. Three failed visits later, I’ve stopped getting pastrami there. I tried the same “trick” at Franks and did not get pastrami fatty enough for my tastes.
It’s sad that we live in an area with such a high Jewish population and can’t get any good pastrami.
Jj there are many reasons for the demise in what you are looking for - too much for this thread - suggest you watch the movie “the deli man” - I have an mp4 copy if you can’t find it. In short the closet place to get what you want is Harolds Deli in Edison. Be prepared to spend $ and to take home part of your sandwich. Ask for the juicy cut (they don’t call it fat), fill up on pickles and rye at the pickle bar (and health salad) a and plan to take 1/2 sandwich home. Or bring some friends who have been there before.
Fred an Murrays is feh in Freehold and Jesse and Davids in East Brunswick was recently sold, and so I don’t know the quality. Deli King in Clark is ok and Deli Noah in north Jersey is good - just go to Harolds.
I know quite well about the demographics. Yes Boca would have been preferred except for the cost and hurricane factor - the west coast in some ways is nicer but lacks the east coasts cultural ways. My neighbor to the left is Norwegian and at least he knows not to order corned beef or pastrami on rye with mayo. Boca Raton (or rats mouth) Is near Delray beach that has the beautiful Japanese botanical gardens (Morikami). While they don’t have pastrami their restaurant does have presentable Japanese faux food.
I think Rodizio is a fad. Remember we had one in Eatontown by the fort years ago ?
Modern European Jews (deli) are more health conscious and Sephardic Jews (think Deal) were not brought up with Deli food. Boca and Miami ave older Jewish populations that still may eat a heavy beef diet. watch the deli man movie - Ziggys restaurant in Houston is similar to Harolds in Edison.
Another vote for Harold’s! I live southwest of Philly, where the closest thing to pastrami is the Boar’s Head brand. We always stop at Harold’s when we’re traveling up that way. One sandwich can easily feed three people, and it’s doable because of the rye bread they keep stacked at the pickle bar. Portion sizes at Harold’s are insane! But they make for good sharing and the servers always bring foil and bags so you can wrap up leftovers. (Warning: don’t try to stock up on pickle bar goodies just so you can pack up leftovers; the servers will call you out on that.)
Boars head cannot possibly have Jewish style pastrami or corned beef - many Jewish delis that don’t pickle on premises buy Hebrew national or other kosher brands then simply steam. Some Costco’s have kosher corned beef and pastrami in their kosher sections. I think the brand they carry is not spiced enough for me. If your supermarket, like Wegmans in Ocean or Manalapan has a kosher section, they have I believe Hebrew national as well as turkey pastrami (more healthy) and then at home microwave a bit to make it steamy …
Fad for folks not from Brazil. Watch “the deli man”, and the video on kossars bialy bakery website for more insight into how NY grew some of the cuisines you refer to. Having said that the kosher rules apply across the board. There are some different interpretations of what can be eaten at Passover time. today’s bagels have been bastardized and for the most part NJ bialys are faux. Also locate the Russ and daughters pbs shows for more insight (I think their website has links). And the most famous local Syrian ? Crazy Eddie of course.
Bought my first stereo from Crazy around 1970 at his first store on kings hwy in brooklyn. It was a Fair traded Ken wood and he wrote on the receipt that I returned speakers that I never bought so that he could sell me the stereo at a discount. There use to be a real Deli in Deal many years ago near the falafel store that is no more.