Cafe Reviewed: Wednesday, April 17, 2003
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Top of the Slop

Weinberger’s industrial-sized sandwiches may be messy, but they sure are mighty fine.

By NANCY SCHAADT

Weinberger’s Delicatessen

600 S Main St, Ste 100, Grapevine. 817-416-5577. Mon-Fri 11am-7pm, Sat 8:30am-7pm, Sun 11am-3pm. All major credit cards accepted.

wanted to start this review by saying that Weinberger’s Delicatessen is a real delicatessen — but I wasn’t sure what “real” meant. Must the staff be rude for the deli to be “authentic”? Does “real” mean kosher? Is real-ness defined by price or quality? I don’t know what’s “real” or not, but I do know that Weinberger’s serves a “real” fine sandwich. Each of the four my guest and I tried on a recent visit was gratuitously heavy with freshly sliced meats and loaded with lettuce, onions, peppers, and mayo or mustard. Even my big old pie hole wasn’t large enough to fit around either the Dagwood or the Ritz.

The Ritz could be the perfect fix for a chopped-liver jones. A soft onion roll, containing barely a schmear of cream cheese, was stacked with a mound of warm, thinly sliced pastrami, a slice of marble rye slathered with chopped beef liver, and a heap of sliced corned beef. The whole shebang, which probably got its name from the richness of the liver and cream cheese, was unabashedly huge and satisfying. It was so good that homemade sandwiches are, well, chopped liver by comparison.

Next on the agenda was a Chicago Italian beef and sausage sandwich — a six-inch sausage link and a quarter-pound (or more) of sliced or “chipped” beef on an Italian roll. The sandwich was topped with green and red bell peppers, green olives, onions, and diced carrots. (This vegetable topping reminded me of the olive salad that characterizes the muffaletta.) The Chicago-style sandwich appeared to be perfect — until the deli staffer dipped the whole sandwich into the chipped beef juice.

The look of horror on my companion’s face as he picked up the sandwich — juice pouring out from between his fingers, the sausage falling out of the bottom of the sandwich with a soft plop — was worthy of a freak show. I asked for another roll but was told that that’s the way a Chicago Italian beef is served. Once my guest and I understood that the wet, soggy roll was part of the dish, our opinion of the sandwich brightened. No, we weren’t real thrilled with the mushy bread, but we did appreciate the sage- and oregano-spiked sausage and the robust flavor (albeit gristly texture) of the beef. Given a choice, though, I’ll take a French dip over the Italian dunk any day of the week.

Although all of the sandwiches showcased the finesse of the sandwich maker, the Lustig, named after a deli in New Jersey, would’ve been perfect had I made it myself, because the combination of contents is so original. Hot pastrami, Swiss cheese, shaved turkey breast, sweet cole slaw, and Russian dressing on black rye created a unique blend of different-yet-compatible flavors. The salty, savory pastrami was tempered by the cole slaw but bolstered by the tried-and-true combination of Swiss cheese and turkey breast. The sandwich dripped with cole slaw juice but never disintegrated.

The hot dog was another example of Chicago-deli largesse. Take your better-than-average, meaty, fat hot dog and top it with yellow mustard, sweet relish, sport peppers (long, thin hot peppers), tomato wedges, a dill pickle spear, and celery salt, and you’ve got the Weinberger’s hot dog. Chicagoans must carry extra shirts because there’s no way you could eat either a Chicago dog or an Italian beef without soiling your chest. Although messy, the dog, like all of the other sandwiches, was an outstanding mélange of sweet, sour, and savory tastes.

The Weinberger family owned five delis in Chicago. This one in Grapevine could be the start of a Chicago-style chain in our own state. Big eaters across Texas, celebrate.


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