Pastrami burger

Now and then a few of you have urged me to try a pastrami burger — most recently Charles Bentley, in his comment on my post about eating at a Krystal’s in New Orleans. I admitted that while I still planned to sample one sometime, I found the whole concept of a pile of pastrami atop a burger to be intimidating.

But that comment put the pastrami burger back on my mind. One lunch hour last week, feeling like eating a burger and having business in Pomona, I decided to revisit Bravo Burgers and go for it.

Bravo brags about its pastrami, and I knew its burgers were pretty good. Seemed like a good place to try the two in tandem.

(I’ve heard Bravo Burgers’ chili cheese fries are top-notch, btw, but a sense of decorum kept me from getting those and a burger topped with pastrami. I got the regular fries and a Coke.)

Well, I hate to break it to Charles like this, but I didn’t care for the pastrami burger.
Not that Bravo’s wasn’t an exemplary version of the sandwich. It no doubt was.

Me, I like my burgers fairly simple. Usually I don’t even get cheese. Pastrami was akin to another condiment, one with a salty tang, getting in the way of the beef. For me, the pastrami diluted the pleasure, rather than increasing it. Your mileage may vary.

There was another issue that gnawed at me as I gnawed at my sandwich. Sure, I eat a fair amount of unhealthy things — as well as a fair amount of healthy things, I hasten to add — and perhaps some of those items are as unhealthy as a pastrami burger, or worse.

But they don’t seem as bad. Each bite of the pastrami burger filled me with guilt. Also, fat and salt. Mentally blocked, I couldn’t really surrender to the sandwich.

Was that a hiccup, or my heart seizing?

So it was an anxious lunch. Just as well I didn’t develop a taste for a pastrami burger, I suppose. I’ll continue to enjoy my pastrami and burgers separately.

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  • Dee

    I love Bravo Burgers, however, The Hat (there’s one in Ontario) is also known for pastrami. Try their chili cheese fries topped with pastrami. It’s a full meal for two.

    [Chili cheese fries…topped with pastrami? I won’t be doing that. Oh, and for the record, there’s no Hat in Ontario, but there are locations in Upland and Rancho Cucamonga. — DA]

  • DAve

    K wait —

    Are you talking about the Bravo Burgers on White just below the 10?

    That place is freakin’ AWFUL.

    The Bravo Burger in San Dimas was rockin’ before they closed. Went to the one in P-town and got some nasty surprises.

    Good pastrami is hard to find. Like a good roast beef sandwich.

    Unfortunately your best bet in regard to the latter is

    …although it will ruin ya for any roast beef sandwich served around here…

  • Ronald Scott

    I saw the ads for the pastrami burger at Carl’s Jr. and thought to myself “Who in their right mind would stuff that into their mouth?” Thanks for giving me an answer to my question, Dave.

    [I appreciate your implication that I’m in my right mind. — DA]

  • Charles Bentley

    First, David, kudos for taking the pastrami plunge. It’s not every day you can challenge your mind and your palate to experience something out of your personal “norm.”

    You also showed tremendous restraint by passing on the chili cheese fries. Eating them in combination with the pastrami burger may have proven far too much for your digestive system (and personal psyche) to handle.

    While you never make it clear, from reading your entry I think you may have made one major mistake — you ate alone. If this is true, that may have been too big an obstacle to overcome. You needed someone there to speak with, to confide in, and to draw on for support. Otherwise, you’re focusing on the negatives — Gee, I wonder if eating this will shorten my life by days or weeks — and overlooking the positives — This is sooo much better than White Castle or Krystal’s!

    Some may argue your choice of Bravo Burger. Truth is there are places that serve up a tastier pastrami burger (The Hat is one good example). But BB makes a good burger and can’t be faulted for its pastrami.

    And you shouldn’t look upon the pastrami as “akin to another condiment.” That’s like saying “I like hot apple pie, but putting ice cream on top (or cheddar cheese, if you please!) diminishes the ‘apple pie’ experience.” The pastrami complements the burger patty, the two combining for a unique taste and texture.

    David, you have to shake the whole “guilt” factor here. It’s not like you’re going to be addicted to pastrami burgers after a single trial (oh, if only that weren’t true for hot beignets and cold milk at the Cafe Du Monde). To truly experience the wonderment, you must enter in with an open mind and no personal reservations. Here’s the mantra: “Let go and let’s eat!”

    Besides, you should consider this good training with the 2008 Los Angeles County Fair just around the corner. Heck, how many deep fried White Castle burgers will you ingest during this year’s run?

    Now that you’ve passed the pastrami burger experience, here’s your next test — the Oki Dog. Good luck!

    [Charles, I was anxiously awaiting your comment and you surpassed my expectations! Unlike my pastrami burger. Btw, your apple pie analogy was apt as I usually do have my apple pie plain! — DA]

  • ak

    The only thing that sounds worse to me than a pastrami burger is the breakfast on a bun burger they used to have at Carl’s Jr. Burger with eggs and potatoes on it? How guilty would you feel eating THAT?

    [I hear you. I have a personal burger-for-breakfast ban. — DA]

  • Aaron

    A few weeks ago you turned us on to a new IE Blog about food places and the like…lo and behold the very entry that day was Bravo Burgers in Chino…you should’ve known better.

  • Steve Lustro

    David — Like you, I’ve never been brave enough (or hungry enough) to try a Pastrami Burger at Bravo Burgers or The Hat. I’ve eaten burgers at BB in San Dimas (RIP), Pomona and Chino Hills and they’ve all been good. The Hat has the best pastrami in my world, end of discussion. I grew up (and out) on 90-cent pastramis (yes, I’m THAT old!) at the original Alhambra location when I was in high school. Whenever I’ve tried pastrami at other places, I’ve left disappointed. Stick with the unadulterated sandwiches!

    [That’s sound planning. — DA]

  • Chris Moran

    “Chili cheese fries…topped with pastrami? I won’t be doing that.”

    Oh c’mon David, I have a great cardiologist at Kaiser who I’ll share with you.

  • Josh

    I enjoyed perusing your website. Come visit my hamburger review blog at and tell me what you think.