Bold words: Pastrami Masters — the new East Williamsburg restaurant with Lebanese influence from the team behind David’s Brisket — is slinging pastrami that’s almost on par with that of the iconic Katz’s, writes New York Times critic Pete Wells in a one-star review.
Wells didn’t dig everything at the restaurant, located at 812 Grand Street, between Bushwick Avenue and Humboldt Street, but the pastrami and brisket were definitive wins. He enjoyed the latter meat served on rye with gravy, American cheese, fried peppers, and onions, a combination that called to mind his neighborhood bodega. The pastrami sandwich was also a stand-out, but the Times critic’s favorite seemed to be a combination of the two meats:
The brisket is soft and juicy, even without extra gravy, but it always seems to be missing something. That something could be pastrami. Stacked one on top of the other, the two meats round each other out; the pastrami makes the brisket more interesting, and loses some of its salty intensity in the process.
As is the case with other brisket slingers around the city, Wells says the meats at Pastrami Masters are greatly “improved” when customers request thick-cut slices.
Wells praised the pairing of pastrami and brisket at Pastrami Masters but found most of the restaurant’s other offerings to be a little subpar. The corned beef tastes “spongy” as though it’s been steamed “slightly too long,” the Times critic writes, while the brisket “always seems to be missing something.” As for the restaurant’s Lebanese dishes, Wells found mostly misses. The falafel is gummy, the baby eggplant “bland and rubbery,” and the dips in need of “another squeeze of lemon,” he writes.
Pastrami Masters is located in the former storefront of a well-liked neighborhood Lebanese restaurant called Wafa’s Express. When owner Fuad Hassan and his sons Weseen and Mohamed took over the location, they decided to stick to the restaurant’s roots and fuse Wafa’s Lebanese menu, almost to a tee, with Jewish deli offerings from David’s Brisket. The resulting restaurant boasts a menu of baklava, pastrami on rye, and — some time in the next month — a pastrami, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich. One star.