Weck up and smell the horseradish


About a week ago, it caught my eye as I was headed east on 11th, just east of Harvard: A portable sign with just three words on it: BEEF ON WECK. It was in front of The Right Wing, a restaurant that specializes in Buffalo-style hot wings.

Those three words won't mean much to most Tulsans, but I took a number of lengthy trips to Erie County, New York, a couple of years ago, where beef on weck is the true local specialty, more so than spicy chicken wings.

Beef on weck is thin-sliced roast beef, served on a kummelweck roll -- a bun encrusted with coarse salt and caraway seeds, with a bit of a glaze to it -- with a bit of juice either on the sandwich or on the side. In a fine Buffalo-area tavern (like the Bar-Bill Tavern in East Aurora) you'll find a pot of prepared horseradish at the table for your sandwich.

I had seen beef on weck on only one other Tulsa menu: that of the ultra-elegant, whiter-than-white Table Ten in Brookside. It was $10, if I recall correctly. (It no longer seems to be on the menu.)

This Monday I saw the doctor for the bronchitis that had been dogging me for several days. His office was near 11th and Utica, just a couple of miles from The Right Wing. It was a perfect opportunity and a perfect reason to have my first beef on weck in two long years -- nothing like a sandwich piled high with horseradish to cut through all the gunk.

It took a while, but it was worth the wait. My only complaint -- I was given a very small cup of horseradish -- nowhere near enough to get some with every bite. I'll remember to ask for more next time.

There is something about the blending of the flavors and textures. I think that coarse salt on the bun is the key.

Here's a recipe for converting kaiser rolls to kummelweck. And here's a paean I wrote to beef on weck back in February '04.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on May 17, 2006 10:09 PM.

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