There's no doubt that Slyman's Restaurant holds the region's imagination for Corned Beef. From being "the place the president visited" (President Bush dropped by in 2007) to serving the "biggest" Corned Beef, nothing about Slyman's is disappointing.
My colleague and I chose a Friday during Lent to avoid the massive crowds that on a normal day threaten to swamp this little "hole in the wall". The takeout line (call, don't email) was long but running quickly and yet there were a few tables to spare at 12:30 when we arrived.
If you're here for the Corned Beef (and who isn't!), a quick glance at the menu should be all that's needed. My friend chose his traditional Reuben (hold the Sauerkraut) and I got the Corned Beef.
We guessed about the weight, figuring about eight or nine ounces. Our waitress (she was friendly, attentive and yes, very busy) shattered our estimate by telling us that each one is eleven-point-five ounces.
No matter how you slice it, stack it or compress it, that's an awful lot of sandwich.
I'm not going to get into "size matters" arguments mostly because no matter how big you make your sandwich, someone else can always add another ounce. You may be trying to lift a slice of rye bread the size of a hubcap, but the place down the road will trot out one the size of a spare tire.
On a personal note, a Corned Beef sandwich needs to have at least a 2:1 Corned Beef-to-bread ratio in order to be truly enjoyable. Less than that and you'd be better off eating tuna fish. On the upper side, there's something about 16 ounces—an entire pound—that sounds like a good place to stop. As it is, one calorie calculator I visited put that 11.5 oz sandwich at 980 calories (sans pickle)!
Get on with it!
How was it? It was truly great. A real Cleveland classic. Without a doubt, a great Corned Beef sandwich. My friend would argue that it is Cleveland's Best Corned Beef. As for me, I'm a bit more empirical: ask me when I've tried them all.
Until then, when I'm tired of sampling sub-Best fare, I'll come back to Slyman's to reset my expectations.
Yes, it was that good.