Sedona, Arizona—a desert hub for New Age seekers and purifying spa retreats—might be the last place in America you’d expect to find a pastrami sandwich. But in the kitchen of L’Auberge de Sedona resort, sous-chef Brian Sharrah (along with his mentor, chef Rochelle Daniel) has reimagined this traditionally New York Jewish creation for the Southwestern holiday set. The result is off-the-charts delicious.
Sharrah, whose only prior exposure to pastrami came from “the one or two good delis in Phoenix” (he’s never even been to one in New York), first turned the meat into a passion project more than a year ago—experimenting with locally sourced brisket, then fine-tuning the brining, spicing, curing and steaming processes until he achieved the flavor he wanted. At the same time, he found that his longtime hobby of creating condiments, particularly mustard and kimchi, provided him with natural accompaniments for his beef. He and Daniel debuted the pastrami sandwich at L’Auberge’s restaurant eight months ago.
“At first, people were a little weirded out by it,” Sharrah says. “But then I guess word got around about how good it was. Now we have locals coming by just to eat that sandwich.”