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Aug 28, 2006 12:14 AM

I really don't get Langer's Deli ...

I know that Langer's holds a special place in many a Chowhound's heart, but yesterday for a late lunch I tried the place another time and it still failed to rattle my culinary soul.

Got the 19. It was ok, pastrami a little rubbery, bread was nothing special, coleslaw a bit sweet, couldn't taste the swiss and the dressing had a rather overpowering effect on the whole combo.

Admittedly, I am DEFINITELY NO pastrami aficianado, so please do tell me where I went wrong, or is it just my expectations were off-target?

Is it some sort of birth defect that I have? Did my tongue fail to develop properly as a child because of all the shaved ice I ate???

By the way, the Egg Cream really hit the spot.



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  1. There was a reliable post recently that stated that Langers changed their bread supplier. I sure hope this didn't change the entire experience...

    Has someone that loves Langers been there very recently to respond?

    1 Reply
    1. re: liu

      I took my Mom,a recent NY transplant to Langers 2 weeks ago. It was my virgin poppin experience too. I ordered it hand-cut and lean..Very tasty...Cant disagree more with ipsedxit about the bread..It was perfectly crisp on the perimeter and fragrant and chewy inside..the pastrami was excellent..the fries awful, frozen crinkle cut..cole slaw better than in most LA area delis but definitely inferior to Brents on all counts except the bread...

    2. There was a report about Langer's changing its bread supplier from Fred's on Robertson to somewhere else (I think in the Valley), but that was at least a year ago, possibly longer.

      It's quite possible that you just don't really like deli-style pastrami sandwiches. I've been delighted each and every time I've had one there, and I cannot say the same for other pastrami sandwiches.

      So, who knows?

      One thought: you mentioned a "late lunch." The place only stays open until 3 or 4 o'clock; depending on how late it was, perhaps it just isn't as good near closing time. Have you tried it at, say, 11:30 a.m.?

      2 Replies
      1. re: Jack Flash

        Was there on Sat. at 1:30.

        Been several times for lunch during the weekday at more "normal" lunch hours, i.e. noon.

        Never been all that impressed. Not a bad sandwich, mind you, just not earth-shattering ... and really not worth the crowds, parking, and peddlers trying to get me to supplement my collection of green cards ...

        1. re: Jack Flash

          We asked several months ago, they told us the bread came from Bea's in Tarzana. We think it's good as ever. Might have to go this week....

        2. Funny, I was there Sat around 2, and yes, there was something a bit off about the pastrami yesterday. Not the etherial experience that it usually is. Was kind of rubbery in a way that it's usually not -- as if it needed a little more cooking for tenderness. Chalk it up to an anomaly -- it's the first time in dozens that it's disappointed.

          1. Hurray! Finally, someone who does not sing the praises of Langer's. I understand that everything is a matter of taste, but if you have never had a pastrami sandwich at Katz's deli. (or several others in New York), in my opinion at least, you don't have the standard with which to compare others. I have tried Langer's 3 or 4 times over the last 20 years or so, just to see whether I am missing something and I have been disappointed each time. I am not a New Yorker; I am a native of Los Angeles, but I have never had a pastrami sandwich anywhere in LA to compare with the New York product. I know many will disagree, but that is my take on it.

            10 Replies
            1. re: brwencino

              brwencino, I'm firmly in your camp.

              I've eaten at Langers 5 times and was never impressed -- good pastrami but skimpy servings. I'd rather have a pastrami sandwich at Katz's Deli -- huger serving of great pastami.

              1. re: Norm Man

                I was at Katz's last week. I must have eaten there thirty or forty times over the years and at Langer's two to three times as many (since I'm from Los Angeles.) In my mind there's no comparison. Langer's wins hands down. The pastrami is better, the bread is better and the sandwich is a near perfect balance of the two - not too much or too little pastrami. At Katz's I always end up taking out some of the pastrami and eating it separate from the sandwich.

                1. re: estone888

                  I happened to have my very first pastrami sandwich at Katz just last week also. Here's my take:

                  Katz's pastrami is a teeny bit better. It's a little thicker cut, with more of the good black crusty stuff. And the portion is a little bigger. (Maybe I gotta start specifying "hand cut" at Langers). But for me, it's a close call between the 2 for flavor and tenderness.

                  Now for the bread, Langers wins hands-down. That wonderful crusty warm bread makes the sandwich. Katz's bread is way too commercial. But I can see if you grew up in NYC, you'd be used to it and only "that bread" would do. But in my book its rather awful.

                  I did like Katz's potato salad a lot more than Langers though it doesn't look really appetizing--it's white and gloppy. It's got something in it--horseradish maybe?

                  1. re: tarabell

                    I always get NY deli sandwiches on a "bread" called 'club bread'...I haven't found it ANYWHERE on the West Coast.

                    1. re: tarabell

                      You definitely do want hand-cut.

                      I love Katz's, and I love Langer's. I don't feel the need to declare one the winner... it makes me happy that I can have Langer's when I'm in LA and Katz's when I'm in New York.

                      The shtick, though, is way better at Katz's -- the ticket and the tipping for a sample... and I agree, you can get the bread Katz's uses at any D'Ag's.

                      1. re: Das Ubergeek

                        Well since you've revived this old thread, let me say, I love Katz's and I love Langer's. I think Langer's pastrami sandwich is a bit better, but everything else at Katz's is superior. But honestly, these days when in New York, I really miss the old 2nd Avenue Deli. Haven't tried the new one on 33rd St. yet.

                        1. re: mcmal

                          since we're all jumping into an old post, I've got to say, I lived about 30 yards from Katz's on Ludlow a few years ago, and if Langer's is as close as you all seem to think, I'm on my way for some serious comfort eating nostalgia this week!

                          1. re: mcmal

                            I think Langers does a better Ruben than Katz's also.

                            1. re: rednyellow

                              If you like a good Ruben you should give the "Rubenesque" sandwich at R&D Kitchen on Montana just barely west of 14th Street a try. Stunningly delicious version.

                              R+D Kitchen
                              1323 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403

                              1. re: Servorg

                                Thanks, I'll check it out. Rubens are one of those cravings I get once in a while thats worth a drive.

                2. Hi... Sounds as if you've given Langer's a fair try after several visits. However, in your attempt to discover a quintessential *sandwich* experience there, I do believe you've set up several barriers between yourself and a primal *pastrami and rye* experience. Ordering the gussied up #19 with all the extraneous accoutrement (fine for those who are already on board with Langers) is akin to traveling to an exotic locale in search for a natural (dare I say, virginal) beauty, then taking said beauty to Rodeo Drive for a make-over. Stick to the NATURAL BEAUTY! Pastrami and Rye, mustard if you must, and a seltzer to sluice the tongue and free the gums of extraneous pepper. Focus just on the meat and bread, no distractions! Crunchy slaw, sweet dressings, gummy cheese, distractions all! Now, I'm not saying that some relationships (with sandwiches, as with women) don't eventually benefit from a bit of distraction such as 'make-overs' and add-ons afford. Sure, five years down the line, a bit of crunch and tang and innovation (toast the rye!) will spice up 'the usual'. But first, treat your pastrami and rye like the natural beauty that it is, an unpolished gem that your lips and teeth and taste buds can rhapsodise over, chew afterter toothsome chew...