Pastrami Pizza: It sounds like something I should have encountered while growing up in New York State. But, no. The first time I ever spotted pastrami and mustard listed as pizza toppings, I was in the heart of New England at an unassuming storefront restaurant in a Worcester, Massachusetts, suburb.
I was on my way back to Connecticut from Boston. My About.com colleague Bob Curley was driving up from Rhode Island to meet me for a quick lunch. And Pizza Chef in Milford, Massachusetts, seemed like an ideal location. I-495 runs right through Milford, and it was only about a 10-mile detour off the Mass Pike at Exit 11A for me to get to this meeting spot.
I stepped inside the door and honestly didn't expect much. But then, as I scanned the menu board high behind the counter, I nearly gasped. There it was: my favorite smoked, cured, salty meat! Pastrami was paired with mushrooms, peppers, mustard and mozzarella cheese on this no-sauce pie, and before Bob even arrived, I stepped up to the counter and said: "I have to try your Pastrami Pizza. Can you make it without peppers?"
The employee at the counter shouted to the chef: "I need a small Manhattan, no peppers." Manhattan: I knew the notion of pastrami on pizza reminded me of my home state. When Bob heard what I'd ordered, he was dubious and ordered a sandwich, but I didn't have to twist his arm very hard to get him to try a slice, especially once I pronounced it to be "heaven on a crust."
It was obvious that Pizza Chef has perfected this specialty pie. It's topped with perfectly cooked, lean pastrami and loaded with cheese. And the mustard--which is where this pizza could have veered horribly off-course--was incorporated sparingly to add just the right spice.
Milford may not be high on your list of places to visit in Massachusetts, but if you're traveling the Mass Pike (I-90) at meal time, Pizza Chef sure beats rest area food. And the leftover pastrami pizza heated up beautifully in my toaster oven, so don't hesitate to order this decadent combo to go. You'll find the pastrami pie listed under Gourmet Pizza on the restaurant's menu... definitely not under Diet Pizza.
Pizza Chef is located at 179 Main Street in Milford, MA. Call 508-473-1119 to order ahead. The restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner and accepts major credit cards.