The Skeptical Diner: Be’Wiched

It’s been a while since my last post, but the holiday season has taken its toll. Eggnog. Cranberry-infused vodka. Redeye. Nine or ten different kinds of Christmas cookies, including spritz (plain), spritz (colored), gingerbread (frosted), gingerbread (unfrosted), fruitcake cookies, rumballs, tuile cookies… oy… I’m starting to have calorically damaging flashbacks just enumerating the richness of the 2007/2008 holiday season. So, on with the reviewing.


Where does a dude get a decent sandwich around here? I’d maintain that the corned beef at Fishman’s glatt kosher deli will do in a pinch, even if it doesn’t quite reach the tender and flavorful heights of what they’re serving up in Brooklyn (New York) or Brookline (Massachusetts.) And The Brothers deli in the Skyway has some good stuff going on. But there hasn’t really been a definitive answer.

Now (well, for the past few months), Be’Wiched is on the scene, rocking the sandwich thing over on North Washington Ave. in downtown Minneapolis. Great deli sandwiches, like great barbecue, require a confluence of two major factors: taste, and texture. There’s a lot of good deli and good BBQ out there that tastes just about right — the seasoning and charring and condiments (etc.) are all perfectly calibrated — but is tough, gristly, dry or squishy to the point of “unpleasant.”

Great deli (and great BBQ, for that matter) deals with flavor, and then moves on to nail the texture question. Be’Wiched, which house cures and smokes its meats, is great. In classic deli fashion, it serves up $9 monster sandwiches that would comfortably feed a sumo wrestler, but it does so with a grace and delicacy that makes the bulk purchase seem like a bargain. The roast beef sandwich (served on ciabatta with horseradish, havarti & onion jam) is a revelation; the damn thing melts in your mouth, a far cry from even decent roast beef sandwiches I’ve tried at reputable delis in the past. The horseradish rings out without overpowering the slightly rare meat, making for a simple but ravishing overall package. The pastrami on rye (with pickled cabbage and muscularly zesty coarse grain mustard) was equally balanced and easy to suck down.

Though the large dining room trends a little more toward “mall food court” than “2nd Avenue, Manhattan,” there is ample space to spread out your giant sandwich and get to know it. Since each delicious ‘wich is two meals for a medium-to-small person, Be’Wiched may offer the best value-to-dollar ratio of any restaurant in the Twin Cities.

1 Comment so far

  1. ryanol (unregistered) on January 14th, 2008 @ 12:33 pm

    Pastrami Jacks in Eden Prairie off of Shady Oak has a darn good warm pastrami sandwich, the kevin Garnet is even better if your cool with tongue.

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