Statesman critic Matthew Odam betrays his Texas roots in his latest review by proclaiming pastrami on rye is better than barbecue brisket, especially from Otherside Deli. In his search for the meat, which is simply brisket that’s brined and smoked rather than barbecued, he reviewed the food trailer outside Back Lot, the newer north campus dive bar from the Workhorse Barteam .
Odam’s first bite is the classic Reuben sandwich, and he certainly enjoys it:
The result is tender meat the color of a carnivore’s Valentine that buzzes but doesn’t ambush you with its perfumed allure. [Derrick] Smith and [Conor] Mack layer thick-cut slices, a tangle of zippy sauerkraut and a judicious amount of nutty Swiss cheese on Texas French Bread rye swiped with just the right amount of tangy Russian dressing. It all turns to an oozy, savory, crunchy and spirited symphony at the press of a griddle. It’s a perfectly balanced Reuben sandwich.
There’s also a version of the sandwich that isn’t griddled and replaces the sauerkraut with cole slaw. Odam notes that the sandwich “slightly more refreshing version, if that word can apply to a third-pound of meat stuffed between slices of supple carbs.”
Odam also enjoyed the non-pastrami options, calling the vegan mushroom sandwich “one of the best veggie sandwiches” in Austin. He also praised the deli’s ambitions to make its own chicken pâté, which is served on toast with red onions and boiled egg for what Odam calls “a steal at $5.”
Odam gave the restaurant a 9 out of a possible 10, his highest rating since reviewing Pitchfork Pretty in September.
ON THE BLOGS: South Austin Foodie attended the soft opening of Loro, and loved the chicken karaage and the brisket with chili sauce and Thai herbs; Chekmark Eats is a huge fan of the biscuits and sour cherry jam at Better Half.