When it comes to corned beef, that Jewish deli staple, I've found Noshville sorely lacking. In cities that have large Jewish populations (and thus more Jewish delis), Noshville's CB would be laughed right off the slicer.
Don't get me wrong. Noshville has its time and place. When I've got a cold, I head straight for their matzo ball soup, one of the best restaurant-made versions I've had. (And I've had quite a few.) And I've enjoyed many a delightful breakfast there. But it's a shonda they can't make a decent corned beef sandwich.
To prove my point, I brought back a pound of corned beef from my hometown fave, Cleveland, Ohio's Jack's Deli. Incidentally, Oh Boy Records head (and John Prine manager) Al Bunetta told the Scene that Jack's—co-owned by Gary Lebowitz and Alvie Markowitz, whose late father Jack was the restaurant's co-founder—is the best in the country, and I'm inclined to agree.
We got out the rye bread, mustard and slaw and put Jack's beef up against Noshville's in a head-to-head death match. The results after the jump...
If this were a WBA bout, let's just say Jack's knocked out Noshville about 30 seconds into Round 1. Ten lucky Scene employees sampled both products, and the final tally was 10-0 in favor of Jack's. Comments included "No comparison," "Not even close" and "They're not even in the same league."
In the above photo, Noshville's beef is on the left, Jack's on the right. As one taster put accurately it, "Noshville's looks like pressed Subway meat." Jack's, meanwhile, is flaky and marbled like a good steak, and almost melts in your mouth. Does Jack's product have more fat? Sure, but corned beef is like bacon...if you want it lean, why bother? (And Jack's does offer lean corned beef, which is still pretty damn good.) And the briny flavor is out of this world.
Oh, and the kicker? Noshville's regular-size sandwich is $11.99, while Jack's is $9.25.
Mr. Pink summed up Jack's superiority succinctly: "I want my Jewish deli to be owned by someone named Alvie Markowitz."