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Langer's. So I finally tried it and...........

I FINALLY was able to try out Langer's yesterday and to be honest, I wasn't blown away. Langer's has been on my list forEVER, having heard so much about it here on chowhound. I SO wanted to love it and be wowed, but I just wasn't.

Let me start off by saying a few things. First, I can't do rye bread. The taste is just off-putting to me. Sometimes I'll sit and pick out EVERY single seed and I still won't be able to handle the taste. Second, I don't like coleslaw. I used to think I was traumatized by my childhood Sunday picnics, with my dad buying the biggest tub of KFC coleslaw he could buy. But at every deli, I always give it a try. And I still don't like it.

So here's what I ordered. A #44 on white, with swiss. Oh, I LOVE their curbside delivery service. The guy on the phone was great, and I barely even waited 10 seconds before he popped up at my car window. Not wanting the sandwich to get soggy, I drove over to a nearby friend's house, not more than 10 minutes away. There, I ripped open the bag and dove right in. I loved the bread, toasted and grilled like a crouton. I pulled the sandwich apart and was excited to see that gooey string of swiss cheese. I noticed that the pastrami wasn't piled "miles high" as they do at other delis, but hey, I was looking for quality, not quantity, right? I took a bite and all that came to me was, 'eh, it's a pastrami sandwich'. THAT'S SO NOT WHAT I WANTED TO THINK! I wanted to ooh and ahh and moan over the sheer pleasure of finally having THE Langer's pastrami sandwich! So what made me not like the sandwich. There seemed to be a little tooo much sauerkraut on my sandwich. So I took some off and tried it again. I typically like my pastrami sandwich with swiss and mustard and realized there was no mustard. So I grabbed some brown mustard and dabbed it on my sandwich and took another bite. It still didn't feel right. So then I tried eating the pastrami alone. The taste was "eh okay" and the texture was a bit on the "softer" side than I prefer.

Perhaps rye bread and coleslaw is what MAKES Langer's the best pastrami sandwich. If that’s the case, I guess I’ll never appreciate Langer’s. Which kind of sucks......

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  1. Yeah, I'm not a big Langer's fan either.

    But I can see where it can have its definite appeal for those who like the place.

    1. When I'm not in the mood for rye, Langer's has fantastic Kaiser rolls too. They work well with the pastrami.

      1. So let me get this straight, you were having a Reuben (with pastrami rather than corned beef) - not a simple pastrami sandwich - and you were having it on toasted white bread. Seems to me that what makes a great sandwich is the combination of the flavors of the ingredients that go into it. The bread is as vital to a Langer's pastrami sandwich as the pastrami is. One reason it's a great pastrami sandwich is that it isn't overstuffed like so many others - so the balance of flavors is better. You obviously had some kind of sandwich, but it sure wasn't a "Langer's pastrami sandwich." If you don't like rye bread, so be it, but then there's no way you'd ever have any hope of liking a Langer's pastrami sandwich.

        1 Reply
        1. re: estone888

          Is the pastrami so bad that it MUST have the exact accompaniment? If a person really likes pastrami a certain way then good pastrami should be just fine.

          I do like the flavor of Langer's pastrami O.K.. Does not blow my socks off though. The size and price are my mail complaints.

        2. The thing is, it's not a LANGER'S pastrami on rye if you don't have it served on rye bread.

          It's much more than the sum of its parts. That's true of lots of foods. Particularly a sandwich. You could each ingredient separately for any sandwich, but it's obviously not the same thing as eating the sandwich.

          The warmed rye bread is an intergral part of a pastrami on rye at Langer's.

          I could also see how a couple of slices of white bread could ruin any pastrami sandwich.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Jack Flash

            Yup... the bread is in it's own league themselves...

            To the OP... don't feel too bad though, there are serveral foods that I'll never really 'enjoy' either because I just don't have the taste for them... You gave it shot... now you can move on and explore for something you know you'll really like. :)


          2. I was introduced Langer’s pastrami sandwich thru office BD lunches (I’ve been at this job for almost 18 years). Through the years, IMO, Langer’s has had a very good pastrami sandwich and, occasionally, THE BEST pastrami sandwich. The only times I’ve had an “eh” pastrami sandwich was when I let my co-workers talk me into getting something other than hot pastrami on rye with mustard. For me, Langer’s has a pretty good track record. I would suggest going back to Langer’s several more times before passing final judgment. fwiw, I, too, used to not like rye bread until that one day when I forgot to ask for an onion roll ... In fact, Langer’s is the only place that I will order rye bread. Yum!

            1. I also think it's important to eat the sandwich there. In my opinion, having it all wrapped up changes the texture.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ostudio

                Bingo! It must be HOT. Once the juices cool and solidify it is no longer succulent or tender. Without the juicy hot flavor rising from the plate and into your nose you loose more then half of the taste, smell and texture experience. If the rye bread is also fresh and hot-out-of-the-oven – OMG!, OMG!

                Think of Elvis,
                "It's now or never,
                come hold me tight
                Kiss me my darling,
                be mine tonight
                Tomorrow will be too late,
                it's now or never..."

                Maybe he was singing about "HOT pastrami sandwich." Fer sure he was singing about something hot and not singing about "pastrami sandwich" as described in the OP.

              2. just get the peppersteak at Giamela's.

                1. First of all go inside, since you really don't like a pastrami on rye with coleslaw and order something that suits you. It was stupid for such a picky person to do a drive by. Second go the to the Hat and get one of their greasy pastramis that need to be smoothered in mustard to taste edible. Which kind of sucks but will match up with your needs...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: dsake

                    You do realize you are responding to a 1 1/2 year old post?

                  2. That does suck! I LOVE Langer's pastrami. I could eat it plain off of a paper plate and I couldn't complain so it is most defintely NOT the condiments that make this pastrami great. The rye bread is an excellent one so it's a bonus for me. I can't comprehend the love of the #19 as I think it's just gilding the lily, but everyone has a favorite I suppose.

                    There's nothing wrong with not liking Langer's but I hope you give it another chance. Personally, I was not initially blow away by the pastrami. I knew how much I loved it only after I started getting absurd and regular cravings for the very specific taste and texture of Langer's pastrami. It's precisely that soft texture that I find puts Langer's into another category of good. It's also moist without tasting like you're just getting a lot of brine.

                    It's funny. The seeds you don't like are actually carroway seeds and have nothing to do with rye flour used to make the bread. It's just traditional to put them in. If Langer's doesn't put carroway seeds in their pumpernickel then I'd give that a try next time.

                    Glad you gave it a shot, though.

                    1. Pastrami without rye is just sort of odd sounding.

                      1. I'm sorry. For a first timer, this is the drill. Order very simply. no cheese. no white bread no toast.

                        Simple - order pastrami on rye. no cheese. no dressing, russian, thousand island, ketchup nothing. Simple. hand cut if you like. Get mustard on the side. If you like it spicy, get a bit of horseradish on the side as well. Apply sparingly. eat. If you need more, get a half sandwich and a cup of soap. fries are fine.

                        No cheese. No sauerkraut. no white bread. no mayonnaise. no ketchup. No extra silly stuff.

                        No mile hiigh. No need. You get all the flavor you need for the appropriate amount of meat served. this isn't cheap meat. And it isn't an exercise in excess. Plenty of other places can accomodate that sandwich as potlatch experience.


                        Eat it there. If you must do TAKE OUT - then have the meat wrapped SEPARATELY from the bread so that the bread doesn't get soggy and assemble it on arrival. NO CHEESE. not for your first time. once you've tasted it, go ahead and tart it up all you want - jalapenos and whipped cream if you like. But to really taste it, leave off the extras.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Jerome

                          Exactly, Jerome... I'm been waving my "Boycott Langer's #19 sandwich" flag for years here, but I'm not sure how many people have listened.

                          I realize the original post is super old, but MeowMixx, if you're reading this, go to Ralphs deli counter and ask for a sample of whatever pastrami they have behind the counter. Notice the thickness, the seasoning and texture. Now with that memory fresh in your mind, go immediately to Langer's and order a plain pastrami sandwich. Notice the thickness the flavor. Let the texture of the stuff roll around on your tongue. Then come back and report your findings.

                          The deal with Langer's is that 95% of the pastrami that you find if the super chewy cheap variety. In LA the ultra cheap goyim variety is everywhere (e.g. The Hat, Johnnie's, virtually every burger stand that tops with pastrami.) Even otherwise reputable Jewish delis (Brent's, for example) serve up cheap, chewy stuff. Langer's just melts in your mouth. There's not a whole lot of pastrami in this country that can lay stake to that claim.

                          Mr Taster

                          1. re: Mr Taster

                            Honestly, if a reuben just weren't so damn good I wouldn't put a thing on a jewish deli sandwich of any kind. It's rye, meat, and whatever deli mustard you feel like on that day.

                        2. It's called a pastrami on rye with mustard for a reason. If you do it on white bread, toasted, why not add mayonnaise?
                          You're at Langer's, so try it a little bit Jewish.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: peterboy

                            Hey, now you are making me hungry. At least once a week I have a pastrami and egg breakfast sandwich on white bread toasted dark, with mayo lettuce and tomato. Actually I ask them to hold the lettuce and tomato. IMO, it is the best breakfast in town. The pastrami and egg are griddled in a combined pile as the bread is toasted. Hot and perfect every time. The key is to eat it hot when they give it to you and do not travel with it as the toast will loose the crunch and the pastrami and egg will cool. The mayo is a must!

                            Tops (Kobe Bistro burger, deep fried zucchini, pastrami on a french roll, asada or chicken totasda, Kobe beef dip and pastrami and egg breakfast sandwich)
                            3838 E Colorado Blvd (Between Rosemead Blvd. And Michillinda)
                            Pasadena, CA 91107-3940
                            (626) 449-4412

                            1. re: Servorg

                              You know, that's an excellent point and one that has puzzled me for years.

                              The Langer's #19 conondrum,

                              No self-respecting Jewish deli in New York would dream of serving up the monstrosity known as #19, and Langer's certainly does come from that tradition of Jewish New York delicatessens. My only suggestion is that Jews from NY have a stronger ethnic food roots and identity.

                              For example, I have a Jewish friend who grew up in Agoura. A few months ago, we bought some Hebrew National salami, Gulden's, and a couple of onion rolls to go from Canter's.

                              This simple sandwich, which my mom packed for me in countless elementary school lunches (and her mom packed for her), was a revelation to my friend... she had never eaten kosher salami before! But at the deli when I asked her about which bread she wanted, she said "white bread". And yes, she even suggested the ultimate goyische blaspheme-- mayo. My immediate reaction-- why even bother with kosher salami? Just buy some oscar mayer if you want it on white bread with mayo?

                              But ultimately, it was simply that despite her being Jewish, out here in LA apparently these very strong Jewish food identities don't exist-- at least not to the same degree of intensity as they do back home. Really, for any Jew from anywhere back home to suggest mayo and white bread for any kind of Jewish sandwich is akin to converting to Christianity... it just isn't done. And when it is, it is met with by utter horror from other Jews. (and these are non-religious Jews-- we're talking strictly in terms of a common culture and tradition)

                              Maybe you've just gotta be from there to understand. Das Ubergeek, Prof Salt, can you back me up?

                              Mr Taster