Dining options on a Sunday evening in a quiet Midwest downtown can be quite limited. Which is why I was pleasantly surprised to find Ontario Street Cafe in Cleveland stashed in the ground floor of a parking garage. Open late, and reviews claim it to be one of the best sandwiches in Cleveland; why not give it a whirl?. $2.50 for a bottle of Bud ($1.50 for the generic on tap) and a $7 hot pastrami. Top-shelf Jonnie Walker Black at $4.50. Hard to argue with those prices. Not everything needs to be haute cuisine.
A dark wood interior makes this place a clear watering hole with locals. This is the kind of cash-only place where regulars have tabs pinned up over the register. Late on a Sunday night, patrons filter out chatting with the bartenders about what days or shifts they’ll see them next. Everyone’s decked out in Cleveland Cavaliers gear and discussing the game.
The pastrami is nice and peppery, with a great smokey char and piping hot. The grilled onions greatly enhance the savory. The lettuce and tomato add a simple freshness that make this sandwich simultaneously rich and light.
This sandwich is so good, I’ll forgive the beer. And that’s saying a lot for an admitted beer snob.