I had been tipped off to the opening of a new deli in the North End, and despite being rather skeptical of a new business that calls itself "famous," I checked out Nick Varano's Famous Deli at lunch today. I ordered pastrami. Hot, on rye, no funny business. The place was staking a pretty good claim on oldness, but it was the cleanest, newest old restaurant I've seen in a while. The walls were papered with shiny new old posters and the television was playing one of the greatest movies ever made, The Godfather, Part II - the scene with the gold phone. And the sandwich?
Unlike a classic New York deli sandwich, this one was of an edible size. Unfortunately the meat seemed to have been selected by a cardiologist - way too lean and lacking the characteristic blackened pastrami edges, too. Not sure what's up with that. The taste was pretty much right on though, and the bread was the usual unimpressive deli stuff. Not even a pickle spear accompanied the sandwich, which was probably a start-up oversight, but at $10, one might feel a bit let down. Not bad for Boston if you can't get over to Rubin's in Brookline, where things are actually kosher and they probably won't be screening The Godfather, Part II.