Best Hunter Beef Sandwich

Spinzer Restaurant

Critics' Picks

Hunter beef is the Pakistani version of corned beef, a brisket cured in a masala that—depending on the recipe—may include salt, saltpeter, sodium nitrite, red chile, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, garlic, cumin, mace, coriander, and other south Asian spices. It usually takes on the pinkish hue of the familiar Jewish or Irish-American versions, but with a complex subcontinental spice profile. It's a rare treat in the U.S. that, prompted by a recent wistful LTHForum post, led esteemed investigator of culinary oddities Dr. Peter Engler to mount a expedition that identified a handful of hunter beef options on Devon Avenue. At the excellent, 24-hour Ghareeb Nawaz, it's mildly cured and spiced, more like pot roast, and an excellent deal at $2.99 for a nice portion with paratha and yogurt, or $4.99 for a big bowl. At Ghareeb's sister restaurant, Pista House, it's spicier and tangier and a bit more juicy. But it's the Pakistani snack shop Spinzer Restaurant, home of the painfully sweet ice treat dhoraji ka mashoor gola ganda, that does the most remarkable job. Shreds of chewy, tender brisket are griddled and bedded on a soft toasted bun—perhaps an Iraqi samoon—sprinkled with onions and jalapeños, and drizzled with soothing mayo. It's one of those symphonies of flavor, temperature, and texture that makes a sandwich for the ages.