I was delighted when I spotted salmon pastrami, a novel mash-up of two classic Jewish foods, on the menu at the new-ish Westboro Fish House. Located in the space that was formerly Fratelli (the Italian restaurant has since moved up the street to 275 Richmond), and still run by the Valente brothers, the casual family-style seafood joint is no kosher deli. That makes it even more impressive to see said salmon pastrami being served on authentic marble rye.
The salmon has some of the translucent sheen and moistness of cold-smoked fish but co-owner owner Robert Valente told me later than in fact it is hot smoked in a small smoker in the kitchen.
A 2-3 pound fillet is first rubbed with paprika, sea salt, coriander, mustard, peppercorns, fresh garlic, and brown sugar and left to rest overnight in the fridge. I like that the salmon was roughly sliced (like a good pastrami) with its edges only slightly crumbly; its rustic rub adding the crunch of whole spices. I only wished it had tasted a little more smoky than salty. Luckily, the overall effect was improved by a schmear of grainy mustard, fresh lettuce, and slivers of red onion.
The sandwich holds onto its deli cred by being served with a tangy dill pickle, creamy coleslaw, and a mound of attractive house-made waffle chips (sadly they were over-seasoned and slightly over-cooked). I left the chips and reached instead for a second homemade tea biscuit that arrived at the table earlier (nice touch — but even nicer if these belly-filling buns had been warmed up).
Cost: Salmon Pastrami Sandwich: $12.99
Westboro Fish House, 309 Richmond Rd., 613-722-7860.