New York delis might be known as the all-stars of the pastrami sandwich, but Boston Public Market's Beantown Pastrami Co. is making an impressive rookie showing. It delivers a big sandwich. A really big sandwich. One-half pound of thickly sliced, smoky beef is piled high on this heavy hitter, backed up by a strong array of locally made condiments.
When the stand opened in the summer as one of the first vendors at the new Boston Public Market, customers were standing in 30-minute lines. But with some tweaks to personnel and process, sandwiches are now assembled in 15 seconds. Beantown is owned by Joe Langhan, a founder of the Food Network. He has experience running a number of other TV- and Internet-related food ventures, as well as a guacamole company. Langhan, a Gloucester resident who was raised in Woburn, became obsessed with pastrami sandwiches when he was working on the Food Network in New York.
The busy local operation goes through more than 500 pounds of pastrami each week. A small group of suppliers in Massachusetts and Vermont season and smoke 10- to 15-pound slabs of navel-cut beef following Langhan's recipe. General manager Mike Mendez arrives each morning at 6:30 to start the final phase of prepping the pastrami — a three-hour steaming process that creates meat so tender it has to be hand-carved. Putting it through a conventional deli slicer would result in a pile of pastrami shreds.
The Beantown team has introduced a griddled breakfast sandwich ($6) with pastrami and sweet-potato hash, mild cheddar, and two fried eggs (neighboring market stand Chestnut Farms of Hardwick provides the eggs).
As is required of all vendors at the Boston Public Market, each component of every sandwich is made in New England. The signature pastrami sandwich ($17 for whole, $9 for half) comes with hot meat on soft but substantial rye bread from Clear Flour Bread in Brookline. White-cabbage sauerkraut and the pickle that accompanies every order are both cold-brined in Salem by Maitland Mountain Farm, keeping them crisp and crunchy. Yellow mustard hales from Raye's Mustard in Eastport, Maine. And you can add baby Swiss from Boggy Meadow Farm in Walpole, N.H.
In addition to the pastrami sandwich, the stand offers corned beef on rye ($15 for whole, $8 for half) and a roast turkey with stuffing and cranberry sauce ($12). Grilled Reubens (corned beef, Swiss, Russian dressing, and sauerkraut) and Rachels (switch out coleslaw for the sauerkraut) come warm off the grill in two minutes ($13 each).
Langhan calls lunch at Beantown his "hit show."
BEANTOWN PASTRAMI CO.
Boston Public Market, 100 Hanover St., Boston
Gillian O'Callaghan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.