Here, Eat This

Houston's Best Sandwiches: The Big Apple at Liebman's Wine & Fine Foods

The Big Apple at Liebman's Wine & Fine Foods has everything you want in a classic pastrami sandwich and a little more.
The Big Apple at Liebman's Wine & Fine Foods has everything you want in a classic pastrami sandwich and a little more. Photo by Jeff Balke
We are in search of Houston's best sandwiches because we love sandwiches and we love Houston!

It's difficult for me to figure out how I had never been to Liebman's Wine and Fine Foods. But with neighborhood institutions like this one, I guess it isn't surprising. Thankfully, they moved and I heard about them as a result because, damn.

Before even addressing the sandwich this week, let's talk about what a cool place this is with a bakery, tons of interesting take away items besides sandwiches and a whole gifts area. They even specialize in South African imports (who knew that was a thing?) and even have a couple items on the menu reflective of that cuisine.

Ironically, it's a sandwich that is decidedly American that got the through the door, the Big Apple. When I first read the name, visions of weird grilled cheese and apple sandwiches spun in my head. Yes, they are a thing and no they absolutely shouldn't be. But, this was in honor of New York City's nickname, thank God.

Pastrami can be a tricky ingredient. Great pastrami sandwiches are at least somewhat true to their predecessors, which were born in the delis of New York. In that sense, the Big Apple lives up to the name. The salty, tender pastrami is paired with spicy mustard and mayo on your choice of bread, though I went traditional with toasted rye. Interestingly, however, Liebman's doesn't do cheese on theirs. They do, however, do onions, which is an option on many pastrami-on-rye varieties, but Liebman's goes one step further and caramelizes them. The sweetness from the onions is the perfect foil to the slightly salty meat and the spicy mustard.

Liebman's also, wisely, doesn't go overboard on the meat. It's a hearty enough sandwich, but you can still get your jaw around it.

It's an elevated version of it's New York City cousin, especially with the side of veggie chips that come on the plate. In that sense, it has all of the great flavor of a traditional pastrami on rye but a little lighter and with a bit more finesse. With all the other food options (I grabbed a giant sugar cookie covered in birthday cake icing on my way out), you'll want to save room for dessert anyway.

If you have a sandwich you think is one of the best in town, hit us up. We're always looking for new options.
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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke