Now that the estimable DGS Deli has closed, Smoked & Stacked is the only place to go in D.C. for terrific pastrami. At chef Marjorie Meek-Bradley’s Shaw neighborhood shop, the limited menu showcases breakfast and lunch sandwiches, foremost among them thick-sliced pastrami.
We order at the counter and take our spot at the bar overlooking 9th street, sipping one of a few beers on tap. The place feels industrial but warm, with a crowd of regulars working on their computers and enjoying lunch under shelves lined with jars of pickled things.
The first order of business is The Messy, which features thick slices of pastrami on a crunchy grilled rye with sauerkraut, comte cheese, and 1000 Islands. The French cheese makes it different than an average Reuben, with a mild, sightly sweet bite that binds the sauerkraut and bread together. The pastrami is thick, salty, and absolutely delicious.
Next is the Chicky Chick, a sandwich of smoked chicken, “LTO,” and mayo. The LTO stands for lettuce, tomato, and onion, and the ingredients are piled between house milk bread, which is fluffy and light. The only problem is that the slightly thinner bottom half succumbs to the juice of the chicken, which is super tender and juicy.
There are also a few breakfast sandwiches available until 11, including a number with hot pepper jelly that has my name on it. Though the menu is meat-heavy, there is gluten-free bread, and you can also build your own sandwich. We saw quite a few order a smoked half chicken or sliced brisket to go, accompanied by such sides as cole slaw, tabouli, mixed greens, and bagged chips.
Before heading out into the sunshine, we get a strong cup of to-go coffee, made with beans by Vigilante coffee, just across town.