By Hope S. Philbrick
Buffalo made hot chicken wings famous, but the folks in western New York have managed to keep their better native dish mainly to themselves: beef on weck. For nearly 100 years this succulent sandwich has been readily available at delis, diners, restaurants and taverns in Buffalo, but drive an hour in any direction and you’ll be hard pressed to find one or even someone who knows what you’re talking about.
What the heck is ‘beef on weck’? It’s a tender roast beef sandwich topped with horseradish and served on a kummelweck roll.
The kummelweck or, more fondly, “weck” begins life as a plain, hard kaiser roll. But topped with a seductive mix of pretzel salt and caraway seeds and baked a bit longer it becomes something more tintilating and satisfying. According to Buffaloian food lore, the kummelweck was invented by a German tavern owner as a way to get his patrons to order more beer. It’s a heavenly pairing.
In the name of research I’ve chomped down a quantity of beef on weck and believe Charlie the Butcher’s Kitchen prepares it best. Charlie slow roasts choice grade top round overnight. Thin-slices of juicy meat are piled high inside a warm bun then topped with a generous dollop of horseradish. The cut top half of the bun is dipped into au jus before it’s settled into place. The result exceeds the taste and quality of any other roast beef sandwich.
Charlie The Butcher’s Kitchen
1065 Wehrle Drive at Cayuga — 1 mile from the Buffalo Airport
-Photo Courtesy Charlie The Butcher’s Kitchen
Read about New York’s Finger Lakes region.
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