Everybody knows pastrami. Everybody knows lox. But Lisa Giannopoulos, owner of Gio's Café, a new deli in North Dallas, reports even customers who cut their teeth on knishes are baffled by pastrami lox.
"It's new to them," Giannopoulos says of the Nova-style salmon that's prepared like pastrami.
Rarely seen outside New York -- and considered esoteric there -- the fish is rubbed with sugar, salt and lots of pepper, creating a peppery crust. Giannopoulos' husband learned the recipe from a Russian Jewish caterer.
"I was hesitant to put it on the menu, but it's going over like crazy," Giannopoulos says.
Fearing that customers might be shy about ordering an unfamiliar lox, Giannopoulos drew on her background at Lawry's to fashion an informal marketing strategy.
"I was like, 'Guys, let's do an amuse bouche,'" recalls Giannopoulos.
Customers adored the complimentary sample, says Giannopoulos, who reports the restaurant ran out of pastrami lox this weekend.
"I don't know if it's ever going to replace Nova, but people are loving it," Giannopoulos says.