Anchor ads are not supported on this page.

4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

To judge a deli’s worth, zero in on pastrami

Mustard, rye, and loads of meat at Carnivore Sandwich

Carnivore throws down a thick stack
Carnivore throws down a thick stack
Place

Carnivore Sandwich

670 W B Street, San Diego

When I first heard about a sandwich shop called Carnivore, my thought was it must be hipster. Its name sounds like the sort of provocative approach a de rigueur deli might take — daring you to embrace your animal flesh craving, to delve deep into the nuanced flavors of succulently prepared meats.

But it was the second thing I heard about the place that hooked me. Word was, Carnivore really throws down a thick stack of sandwich, they way they do at Jewish delicatessens where it’s basically a two- to three-inch wad of meat with a smear of mustard and two pieces of rye bread. For fans of cured beef, that’s a joyful thing and doesn’t exist downtown.

Sponsored
Sponsored
Carnivore Sandwich (formerly Nosh) has a nice dining patio within view of Santa Fe Depot.

For starters, Carnivore Sandwich isn’t hipster. Until recently the same shop was called Nosh, and despite the Carnivore rebrand it’s still a basic, no-frills deli counter located on B Street within view of the train station. There’s a pretty good amount of patio dining space and a thorough assortment of New York seltzers, but beyond that there’s nothing remarkable about the space. The shop’s website doesn’t even bother showing pictures of it, opting instead for photos of New York.

It does picture the thick-stack sandwich, and since that was the main draw for me it didn’t matter that its interior wasn’t decked out with reclaimed wood or living-wall planters. The place offers plenty of specialty-sandwich options pairing turkey and corned beef, pastrami and beef tongue, that sort of thing. For Jewish-deli purists there are also sandwiches of egg, tuna, and whitefish-salad. There’s even one featuring nova lox and cream cheese.

The pastrami sandwich all others must measure up to: New York’s Katz’s

But to judge a deli’s worth, I zero in on pastrami every time. It’s about 12 bucks for a full pastrami sandwich at Carnivore. It’s a lot by lunchtime sandwich standards in San Diego, but a full pastrami in Manhattan’s Katz’s Delicatessen runs about $20, so for a place willing to lay the pastrami on thick, I was happy to pay.

Not that I expected anything on the level of Katz’s, the pastrami gold standard, but a man can dream. That pastrami’s the sort of sandwich you remember for life, stacked high as it is with thick sliced, peppery, indulgent beef.

It’s thick enough, but is it pastrami enough?

Carnivore’s sandwich measure up, height-wise, but that’s where the similarities end. The problem wasn’t the deli mustard, nor the thin slice of Swiss cheese, nor the rye bread sourced from Charlie’s Best Bread, a decades-old bakery in Pacific Beach. The problem was that the heaping serving of pastrami just wasn’t great. It was sliced thin before my eyes and layered thick enough to make me drool, but the meaty flavor was watered down and the texture was a little grainy.

It was shipped in from Chicago, they told me, and I usually have to give it up for Chicago meats. But in this case I think Carnivore would have been better off using Dietz & Watson or Boar’s Head, the ubiquitous suppliers of less ambitious delis around the country. Stack those meats thick, and you might be onto something. In other words, with a sandwich as simple as this, even I could make it at home.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

What it takes to score a ticket to see Ween

One guy gets scammed, another gets a helping hand
Next Article

Why parrots are so good for San Diego

They like palm nuts, eucalyptus gumnuts, not native plants
Carnivore throws down a thick stack
Carnivore throws down a thick stack
Place

Carnivore Sandwich

670 W B Street, San Diego

When I first heard about a sandwich shop called Carnivore, my thought was it must be hipster. Its name sounds like the sort of provocative approach a de rigueur deli might take — daring you to embrace your animal flesh craving, to delve deep into the nuanced flavors of succulently prepared meats.

But it was the second thing I heard about the place that hooked me. Word was, Carnivore really throws down a thick stack of sandwich, they way they do at Jewish delicatessens where it’s basically a two- to three-inch wad of meat with a smear of mustard and two pieces of rye bread. For fans of cured beef, that’s a joyful thing and doesn’t exist downtown.

Sponsored
Sponsored
Carnivore Sandwich (formerly Nosh) has a nice dining patio within view of Santa Fe Depot.

For starters, Carnivore Sandwich isn’t hipster. Until recently the same shop was called Nosh, and despite the Carnivore rebrand it’s still a basic, no-frills deli counter located on B Street within view of the train station. There’s a pretty good amount of patio dining space and a thorough assortment of New York seltzers, but beyond that there’s nothing remarkable about the space. The shop’s website doesn’t even bother showing pictures of it, opting instead for photos of New York.

It does picture the thick-stack sandwich, and since that was the main draw for me it didn’t matter that its interior wasn’t decked out with reclaimed wood or living-wall planters. The place offers plenty of specialty-sandwich options pairing turkey and corned beef, pastrami and beef tongue, that sort of thing. For Jewish-deli purists there are also sandwiches of egg, tuna, and whitefish-salad. There’s even one featuring nova lox and cream cheese.

The pastrami sandwich all others must measure up to: New York’s Katz’s

But to judge a deli’s worth, I zero in on pastrami every time. It’s about 12 bucks for a full pastrami sandwich at Carnivore. It’s a lot by lunchtime sandwich standards in San Diego, but a full pastrami in Manhattan’s Katz’s Delicatessen runs about $20, so for a place willing to lay the pastrami on thick, I was happy to pay.

Not that I expected anything on the level of Katz’s, the pastrami gold standard, but a man can dream. That pastrami’s the sort of sandwich you remember for life, stacked high as it is with thick sliced, peppery, indulgent beef.

It’s thick enough, but is it pastrami enough?

Carnivore’s sandwich measure up, height-wise, but that’s where the similarities end. The problem wasn’t the deli mustard, nor the thin slice of Swiss cheese, nor the rye bread sourced from Charlie’s Best Bread, a decades-old bakery in Pacific Beach. The problem was that the heaping serving of pastrami just wasn’t great. It was sliced thin before my eyes and layered thick enough to make me drool, but the meaty flavor was watered down and the texture was a little grainy.

It was shipped in from Chicago, they told me, and I usually have to give it up for Chicago meats. But in this case I think Carnivore would have been better off using Dietz & Watson or Boar’s Head, the ubiquitous suppliers of less ambitious delis around the country. Stack those meats thick, and you might be onto something. In other words, with a sandwich as simple as this, even I could make it at home.

Comments
Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Five masterpieces you've never heard of

Next Article

For sale: 9000 square foot house on two acres in Del Mar

It’s the second priciest ZIP code in San Diego
Comments
Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town The Gonzo Report — Making the musical scene, or at least reporting from it Letters — Our inbox Movies@Home — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Theater — On stage in San Diego this week Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close

Anchor ads are not supported on this page.