A Reuben from Nighthawks Diner + Bar has a standout housemade pastrami.
Reuben from Nighthawks Diner + Bar
Sometimes we miss out on the best that neighborhood restaurants have to offer if we live outside a reasonably walkable zone. Which might be why it took me seven years to find out that Nighthawks, the Kingfield neighborhood diner inspired by the Edward Hopper painting, makes some of the best pastrami this side of the New Jersey Turnpike. It was a happy accident that it popped up on a delivery app for me at lunchtime this week, and when I saw the pastrami was housemade, I pounced.
Their spiced, smoked brisket takes some 16 hours to make, and you get a half-pound of thick-cut slices on either of the two sandwiches that feature this better-than-deli meat. I went for the Reuben ($18), which also showcases a distinct sauerkraut that stays crunchy even after a turn on the griddle. The cabbage is cooked, rather than fermented, and is amped up with trimmings from Nighthawks' housemade bacon (another smoky, meaty triumph). It's a perfectly tangy counterpart to the melted Swiss, Russian dressing, and of course, that rich and dreamy pastrami. The whole thing was a knockout, even after a spin in the air fryer to reheat.
The Reuben and the hot pastrami sandwich (also $18) are among Nighthawks' top sellers. "People come here just for that, and it's fantastic that they choose us over other places that probably have great ones," said chef Tyler Wilcox. The pastrami has been on the menu since Nighthawks opened in 2015, then with former Haute Dish chef Landon Schoenefeld in the kitchen. Wilcox has recently taken the reins, and he's added a few of his own tricks, including an intriguing Swedish meatloaf I'll be going back for soon. (Sharyn Jackson)