BEST DELICATESSEN - 2008
Three words: house-cured pastrami. This tasty, salty meat is one of the stars of the menu at Be'wiched, and it's about time it got here. The Twin Cities have never exactly excelled at the deli thing: Until recently, our best delis were the ones flying ingredients in from New York. Here to change this sad state of affairs are Be'wiched owners Matthew Bickford and Michael Ryan, two former fine-dining chefs (at La Belle Vie and D'Amico Cucina, respectively, among others) who are funneling their expertise and creativity into the humble sandwich-shop concept, with delicious results. That pastrami, served on rye of course, with coarse-grain mustard and tangy pickled cabbage, is a winner of a sandwich, as is the roast beef with Havarti, a sweet onion chutney, and spicy horseradish. The restaurant has an open kitchen and orange walls that are bright and cheery, if a bit bare. Some well-selected art certainly wouldn't hurt, but there is artfulness to be found on the plates: If you choose to eat in, you might see a food presentation with better design than the new Guthrie. One good deal is the $8.50 combo: a half-sandwich with soup or salad and a fountain soda. Try the sweet, crisp coleslaw or whatever the soup of the day is: These from-scratch creations are often wonderful. Offering locally sourced meats, house-baked breads, takeout, box lunches, catering, and now wine and beer, Be'wiched, open since September, is a welcome addition to the dining scene.