General Muir
Photograph ©2021 by Brian Cohen.

Revisited: Pastrami and Corned Beef at The General Muir in Atlanta — and The Verdict Is…

Did it cut the mustard the second time around?

Still hungering for a decent pastrami or corned beef sandwich within 100 miles of the city of Atlanta during my ever-elusive search — and ranging from being somewhat satiated to being disappointed — I decided to revisit The General Muir, which is located around the corner and across the street from the headquarters of The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Emory University.

Revisited: Pastrami and Corned Beef at The General Muir in Atlanta — and The Verdict Is…

General Muir
Photograph ©2021 by Brian Cohen.

The only other time I visited The General Muir — which “is a modern American restaurant inspired by classic New York Jewish deli, returning it to its hand-crafted roots” — was back in the spring of 2015 when I dined with Michael W of Michael W Travels, his brother, and his friend; and my review on its pastrami sandwich back in 2015 was not exactly glowing.

General Muir
Photograph ©2021 by Brian Cohen.

I actually resorted to recently sampling a corned beef sandwich from Arby’s — of all places — and the experience of eating what was actually a modified Reuben sandwich was so awful that I deemed it the worst corned beef sandwich which I have ever eaten. I needed some semblance of the real thing which is found at an authentic Kosher delicatessen in New York.

General Muir
Photograph ©2021 by Brian Cohen.

Other than requiring all customers to wear masks — which is pursuant to an ordinance from the city of Atlanta on Wednesday, July 28, 2021 — little has changed upon walking into The General Muir. The white subway tile still adorns its interior walls — but few photographs were taken by me last time primarily because the mobile telephone which I had then was not capable of taking good pictures. For example, I did not have a photograph of the appetizing area where one can pick up a bagel with a spread — or “schmear” — or fish, cake, or a beverage which includes the classic flavors of Dr. Brown’s sodas…

General Muir
Photograph ©2021 by Brian Cohen.

…but for this round, I decided to skip on purchasing any of the offerings at this counter, as I was craving both a corned beef sandwich and a pastrami sandwich.

General Muir
Photograph ©2021 by Brian Cohen.

The table at which Michael W., his brother, his friend, and I sat in 2015 in the main dining area was at the table where the couple is seated behind the booth in the left central portion of the photograph. For this round, my seat is at the table next to the windows with the disturbed napkin and the carafe of water at the lower right corner of the above photograph.

General Muir
Photograph ©2021 by Brian Cohen.

This view of the remainder of the main dining room shows the patio where outdoor seating is available. I did not get to sit out there this time or last time.

General Muir
Photograph ©2021 by Brian Cohen.

Back in 2015, The General Muir was chosen as one of the 21 essential hamburgers in North America. Michael W. would probably be disappointed to learn that the menu no longer offers a hamburger with gruyere cheese, caramelized onions, crispy pastrami, Russian dressing, pickles, and French fries for $14.00; but for $14.75, you can get a double stack burger with American cheese, pickles, and mayonnaise on a toasted bun with French fries — but the good news is that I did ask about the hamburger with crispy pastrami; and I was told that I could still order it. I assume an extra charge would apply; but I did not specifically ask. Todd Ginsburg is still the chef and one of the partners of The General Muir; so I have no reason to imagine that the quality of the hamburgers would be inferior to the one I had back in 2015, when I wrote that “it is a very good hamburger on its own accord which any burger aficionado should enjoy, as chef Todd Ginsburg cooks up a winner here”.

General Muir
Photograph ©2021 by Brian Cohen.

Noticing that a Reuben sandwich was offered on the menu but not a corned beef sandwich, I asked the server if I could simply have a corned beef sandwich with mustard. When she responded in the affirmative, I specifically asked for a corned beef sandwich and a pastrami sandwich — both of them extra lean.

General Muir pastrami
Photograph ©2021 by Brian Cohen.

Fewer than 15 minutes later, both sandwiches arrived. The pastrami sandwich is the one shown in the above photograph whose meat is a deeper shade of red with darker edges…

General Muir
Photograph ©2021 by Brian Cohen.

…whereas the corned beef sandwich is the one shown in the above photograph. Instead of a typical Kosher dill pickle one can find at virtually any sandwich shop in the United States — which I received last time — each sandwich came with an authentic half-sour pickle, which was a significant improvement. I would have preferred a full-sour pickle — or one of each, better yet — but I was happy with the halt-sour pickle nonetheless.

General Muir
Photograph ©2021 by Brian Cohen.

In the last review, I wrote that “at $13.00, you get seven ounces of pastrami on an unusual ‘double-baked’ rye bread with seeds; some mustard and a ‘full sour’ pickle. By delicatessen standards, this is a wimpy sandwich on all accounts; and because it was not extra lean — which is what I prefer — it was too fatty for me. However, the flavor of the pastrami was somewhat reminiscent of its brethren found in authentic delicatessens in New York; and that is what saved this sandwich from being not recommended by me at all — even though it easily surpasses the cold and salty luncheon meat they have the nerve to call pastrami at Goldberg Bagel Company and Deli…”

General Muir
Photograph ©2021 by Brian Cohen.

…but I am glad I returned to try the pastrami again. It was leaner but definitely not dry, warm, and far more reminiscent of its brethren found in authentic delicatessens in New York than the one last time. The mustard may not have been a true delicatessen mustard; but it was a whole-grain variety which was spicy and full of flavor which complemented the ‘double-baked’ rye bread and the pastrami itself.

General Muir
Photograph ©2021 by Brian Cohen.

As for the corned beef sandwich, I think that The General Muir should consider offering it on the menu instead of having only a Reuben sandwich. As with the pastrami sandwich, the corned beef with the whole grain mustard on ‘double-baked’ rye bread was lean and not dry; and it was full of flavor. On both sandwiches, the rye bread had a proper crispy and chewy crust.

General Muir
Photograph ©2021 by Brian Cohen.

Both sandwiches were demolished, and they both hit the spot. My only criticism at this point is that I could have eaten more — but at the price points of $12.75 for the pastrami sandwich and $12.00 for the corned beef sandwich, I really cannot complain. Think more than double for the cost of a sandwich at Katz’s Delicatessen in New York, which typically contains more than double the meat.

General Muir
Photograph ©2021 by Brian Cohen.

Final Boarding Call

Since my last visit, The General Muir has opened a second location in Sandy Springs — which is located just north of Atlanta — which I may try at a future date for a future article. This article only concentrates on its original location.

I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised with my experience the second time I dined at The General Muir — and knowing that the pastrami was significantly better than my first visit, I will likely be inclined to spend $22.00 to order the “piled high” version of each sandwich. If — or likely, when — that happens, I intend to review it.

That the pastrami is cured and smoked in house is unusual for a restaurant or delicatessen — I could tell that the pastrami was not simply purchased in some vacuum-sealed plastic bag, opened, and then sliced — and although the bagels are hand rolled and kettle boiled, The General Muir does not indicate that the bagels are prepared on premises. If they are, I would like to try them hot.

The restaurant is named for the refugee transport ship which brought the mother and grandparents of Jennifer Johnson — who co-owns The General Muir — to New York in 1949, as they survived the Holocaust. You can read more about the origin of the name of the restaurant in this Portable Document Format file.

Although you can pay as much as $6.75 for metered parking on the street, you are better off using the parking garage down the block and across the street, where you may park free of charge for up to two hours — as long as you have the parking officially validated at The General Muir — but the time limit was up to three hours back in 2015.

The bottom line is that I changed my mind: the pastrami sandwich experience was far superior to the one I had in 2015; and the corned beef sandwich definitely holds its own as well. If you are in Atlanta and want something reminiscent to the sandwiches which you would find in an authentic Kosher delicatessen in New York, The General Muir comes the closest of any other dining establishment in Atlanta, in my opinion.

Ess gazinta heit…

The General Muir
Emory Point
1540 Avenue Place, Suite B-230
Atlanta, Georgia 30329
678-927-9131

Hours

Dine In and Take Out

Wednesday through Sunday
8:00 in the morning – 8:30 in the evening

Delivery
Wednesday through Sunday
8:30 in the morning – 8:00 in the evening

Take Out Only
Saturday and Sunday
3:00 in the afternoon – 5:00 in the afternoon
No dine in or delivery during these hours

Closed
Monday and Tuesday
Until they have the staff for more hours

Other articles at The Gate whose topic is pastrami, corned beef, or Kosher delicatessen or food includes:

All photographs ©2021 by Brian Cohen.

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