When you think "pastrami," you probably think "sandwich." But chefs across the nation are applying the pastrami process of brining, spicing, air drying, and smoking to all corners of their menus. At Mission Chinese  in San Francisco (and home of one of the best meals I've ever eaten), Danny Bowien  offers kung pao pastrami. At Alder  in New York, chef Wylie Dufresne serves rye pasta with shaved pastrami.
Denver menus reveal the same movement: When Beast & Bottle  opened in March, it did so with a foie gras-crusted pastrami on the menu. The dish, constructed somewhat like a haphazard sandwich, was served on pumpernickel with pear mostarda dolloped across the plate. Just recently, chef and co-owner Paul Reilly added lamb pastrami with Brussels sprouts slaw and harissa-pickle aïoli to Beast & Bottle's brunch menu.
In September, at an August Kessler  Riesling dinner at Bones , the dish of the night was chef John DePierro’s pastrami-cured steelhead with pickled mustard seeds and horseradish crème fraîche. And this week, DePierro added a duck ramen (pictured) to the menu that includes pastrami-style duck that’s brined with Szechwan peppercorns, garlic, ginger, sugar, salt, lemongrass, and dashi before the legs are cooked confit and cold-smoked.
Elsewhere, chef Scott Parker is serving pastrami-cured duck at newly debuted Session Kitchen  in Platt Park. Across town at Old Major , chef owner Justin Brunson’s smoked fish plate with smoked trout and mustard-smoked mussels has included salmon pastrami. Is it any wonder that Forbes named pastrami as one of 2013's top food trends ?
Bonus: A bit of research turned up this 1994 recipe  for pastrami salmon from the New York Times.  The recipe ran along this article  about chef David Burke , who recently competed alongside Rioja  chef and co-owner Jennifer Jasinski on Bravo’s Top Chef Masters . Burke is opening David Burke Kitchen  in Aspen  in early 2014.
Beast & Bottle, 719 E. 17th Ave., 303-623-3223
Bones, 701 Grant St., 303-860-2929
Old Major, 3316 Tejon St., 720-420-0622
Session Kitchen, 1518 S. Pearl St., 720-763-3387