I may have married a New York stater, but my first interaction with the state's popular "beef on weck" sandwich came thanks to Sal's City Deli, right here in Downtown Pittsburgh. The deli features the Western New York staple — a pile of slow-roasted, rare roast beef on a Kümmelweck roll, with a side of au jus for dipping.
Sal's, which has a walk-up counter and table service, offers standard diner fare, such as Reubens, fish sandwiches and burgers, as well as more unusual lunch options. Tuck into gumbo with chicken and Andouille sausage, a grilled-cheese with Havarti, or a char-grilled salmon with a jalapeño remoulade. Side dishes are more than just chips and fries: Alternatives include potato pancakes, red-skin potato salad and a Southwestern quinoa salad.
Specials might mean the sinfully overloaded potato-pancake Reuben, in which hot corned beef (or pastrami), sauerkraut, Thousand Island dressing and Swiss cheese are suspended between two pancakes. The Reuben's sister sandwich, the Rachel, marries roast turkey with Thousand Island dressing and creamy coleslaw.
Then there's the beef on weck sandwich, stacked so high with tender beef that the meat tumbles out of the sides. The roll is salty and soft, soaking up the au jus. It's the perfect getaway for lunch, and I don't even have to drive to New York.