New York Sub had sat vacant for two years when Andrew and Adriana Kelley reopened it in 2016. Until it closed, the Highland Park staple had been serving subs since 1974, and the Kelleys wanted to revive the tradition. Andrew had amassed a lengthy resume in Chicago and Dallas as an itinerant fine-dining chef at hotels like the W, the Fairmont, and the Ritz-Carlton. He wanted to come back home to Dallas and start a family, so he bought a sub shop.

Andrew remembers New York Sub as a favorite destination while he attended Highland Park High School and later SMU just across the street from the restaurant. It was always good, but mainly it was a good value. When he took over the place, he wanted to improve the quality of the meats and the bread. There’s now wheat, white, and pretzel rolls to choose from. Many of the meats come from different sources so that Kelley can provide the best. A whole-muscle, peppered turkey breast on the No. 13 (with provolone and capicola) puts anything at the “freaky fast” sub shop down the street to shame. One item Kelley couldn’t find a good version of was pastrami, so he started making his own.

There isn’t a ton of space to work with in New York Sub’s kitchen—making pastrami requires some serious square footage for all the brining meat (which sits for seven days). Adriana pushed Andrew to make it happen, so he added it to the menu just this week. Get it hot on a sandwich with cheese, mustard, and house-made pickles or on the Reuben.

There’s no option for corned beef, which Kelley isn’t fond of. “In culinary school we called it horse meat,” he told me with a laugh. When you think about it, corned beef is really just unfinished pastrami anyway.

Kelley brines briskets for the pastrami. They’re seasoned with a standard rub of black pepper and coriander, then smoked in a cabinet smoker with hickory chips and charcoal. The briskets are smoked all the way through without any steaming. For service, the chilled pastrami is sliced thin, heated just a bit in the microwave (I know, cringe, but it works), then placed onto a toasted roll. It’s simple and great. I’ll admit that the cold pastrami looks a little rough coming off the slicer, but the finished product took away any doubts. The bite through the many layers of thinly sliced pastrami was like butter. There’s enough fat left on the meat to keep it juicy as well. I can’t wait to get back and try the Reuben.

This first batch of brisket pastrami was a test run. Local chef Brian Luscher was the first to try it. He liked it so well, he texted me from the restaurant. I was at New York Sub early the next day for the second serving. Let’s hope Kelley keeps brining more  because it’s sure to become a house specialty, some forty-plus years in the making.

New York Sub
3411 Asbury St.