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Art's Deli -- Anyone Been Recently?

I'll likely be in the Studio City area next week and wondered how the chow at Art's rates these days, especially the pastrami and corned beef sandwiches and sides?

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  1. Overrated and overpriced

    1. Yet, the consolation prize of being much better than Jerry's not too far away.
      If you are going for either lunch or breakfast, go to Hugo's on Riverside Drive just 200 feet east of Coldwater Canyon unless the jones of a sandwich proves too overwhelming.

      1. I eat at Art’s Deli at least 3 times a week for business lunches. I find their food and service to be fabulous. I try to mix it up and depending on my mood, I eat either sandwiches, or soup or a large salad. The corned beef and pastrami sandwiches are huge and delicious. I am a big coleslaw fan and it goes with the sandwiches perfectly.

        On Sunday’s after going to the farmer’s market we go as a family and my husband swears by their combo fish plate. I usually get one variety or another of an egg dish. On the way out we split a black and white cookie that’s from Bea’s Bakery.

        1. It's your typical "let's pretend we're a Jewish deli, but serve ham and cheese sandwiches and charge people $15 for one of them" delis. If you like that sort of thing -- and honestly, sometimes I just want a chicken in the pot -- go for it.

          Marv's Deli on Magnolia and Whitsett, though, is far, far superior sandwich-wise... and Brent's Deli in Northridge, though further away, blows both of them out of the water.

          For pastrami, of course, hand-cut at Langer's is the way to go, but come heavy because it's a crappy neighbourhood.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Das Ubergeek

            Ended up going to Marv's and must say quite retro and if you will downscale which suits me just fine. Very nice deli sandwiches at reasonable prices, good corned beef, brisket & rye bread, sides (pickles, slaw) rather blah, Dr Brown sodas offer partial redemption. Anyways, recommended if you happen to be in the area.

            1. re: Das Ubergeek

              When I lived in the valley, 20 years ago, Marv's used to carry a unique hot dog that no one else had. I can't even describe what was so differently delicious; maybe the spices, maybe the snap, the fact that they weren't as salty as other dogs, but they were always the hot dog of choice on our grill. If Marv's still carries them, it would be worth a try.

              1. re: Das Ubergeek

                news for everyone.
                Langers also serves ham and cheese. I don't think brent's ha a hekhsher. don't know about Marv's.

                1. re: Jerome

                  Marv's is not kosher, either. Most of the delis discussed on this board are kosher style, not kosher.

                  1. re: Jerome

                    I don't know too many actual kosher delis here -- there aren't any delis that I know of in our various Koshervilles, and none of the goyisha delis are kosher.

                  2. I beg to differ. I have been to Brent's numerous times recently as well. Both Art's And Brent's menu items and prices are almost identical. I find the food at both to be excellent. My husband's fish plate at Brent's costs more than at Art's, by the way. I also get Art's chicken in the pot once in a while and it is wonderful.

                    1. Last time I went, the corned beef sandwich was absolutely tasteless.

                      I've never been impressed with their food, which is too bad, since I live close by and I like the low-key ambience of the place.

                      1. We've lived in the Valley for about four years now and I want to like Art's. The food is average and I've determined the only people who get good service there are regulars. The people on this board who sing its praises tend to be either regulars or people who grew up on it. Unfortunely, there aren't many better choices for deli in the immediate area. The trip to Brents is well worth it IMO.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Muhlyssa

                          With your close proximity, you should at least try Marv's - it is better than the location might indicate.
                          I still miss Rena's place on Burbank Blvd. just west of Whitsett, which was totally kosher, wonderful, and downright affordable. Too bad she and Harry closed the place when his health failed him and he ultimately died.

                        2. D. Ubergeek,
                          my above comment was regarding the dismissal of Art's as a place that serves ham and cheese when almost any deli mentioned on this board serves treyf and meat and dairy together.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Jerome

                            Oh, I think maybe you took my post differently than I intended. I'm not singling out Art's as a place that serves treyfa or gemishta food, it's just an example of such a place. The "kosher-style" delis tend to have gigantic menus, and tend to want to try and recreate the feel of a New York deli. Art's, Billy's, Brent's, Canter's, Fromin's, Izzy's, Nate and Al's...they're all cut from the same mold, just some (Brent's and Nate and Al's) are more successful at it than others (Izzy's). The difference is that the big New York delis they're imitating ARE kosher, hence my statement.

                            I don't care if the deli is actually kosher or not, since I'm Roman Catholic.

                            I can see where you would have interpreted my post as distinguishing Brent's as a kosher deli (which they aren't)... my bad!

                            1. re: Das Ubergeek

                              For what it's worth, I totally understood what you meant initially.

                              Mr Taster

                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                Delifoodia losangelense omnia in tres partes dividaris est -- giant delis attempting to be New York delis (Art's), fancy places with incredibly expensive appetizing (Barney Greengrass), or little sandwich shops that aren't really "delis" per se (Suzanne's).

                          2. To follow-up on Jerome's point, most of the delis discussed in this context are what I term "Jewish Style" deli's, there are very few Kosher Jewish Style deli's in the L.A. area. Never assume a Jewish Style deli is Kosher, but don't let that stop you from enjoying the food, unless you, yourself keep Kosher, then you might want to check this out: http://www.lajewishguide.com/html/din...

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: ChinoWayne

                              I've eaten at Pico Kosher Deli a few times and it has always been intensely mediocre. In particular I remember the chopped liver being utterly bland paste.

                              You would think that since this is the representative food of an entire ethnic and religious group (that group being eastern european Jews) that they more than anyone would do it right-- but the bacon and ham guys at Langer's and Brent's consistently do it better! (Note that I am leaving Art's out of the eqation)

                              Ironically, Jeff's Kosher Sausages are excellent.


                              Mr Taster

                            2. I guess I am what you would call an Art's regular. Both me and my wife like the food a great deal there and think it is much better than Jerry's and in most instances cheaper than Jerry's. One hidden surprise on the menu is the Monte Cristo. It almost approximates the one they used to make at the Tail O The Cock. Give it a try.

                              1. Oddly enough, despite my negative post, I tried Art's again last night. My friend and I were both in the mood for soup, and they do have a good vegetarian bean and barley there. So I thought I'd give it another chance.

                                The bean and barley soup was delicious.

                                I got the chopped liver sandwich on rye. The chopped liver was strangely sweet. The accompanying potato salad was tasteless.

                                Even the pickle spears were tasteless - no taste at all. How do they do that? It was like they had been soaked in water until all the flavor leached out.

                                I don't think I could have created as bad a meal if I had deliberately tried to.

                                Soup A+. The rest - failing.

                                The service was warm and friendly - the place was homey and comfortable. Which makes the lousy food even all the more disappointing.

                                Too bad. I'll go for soup, and maybe a grilled cheese, but that's about it.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: lad1818

                                  Sorry also to hear about the chopped liver at Art's. There seem to be two camps of chopped liver, one savory and one sweet. Brent's is also sweet, and I can't stand sweet chopped liver. I haven't been to Canter's in years, but I used to bring home their chopped liver four pounds at a time, I liked it so much.

                                  1. re: ChinoWayne

                                    Langer's chopped liver is decidedly savory and I highly recommend it. (a little schmear on the pastami sandwich is pure decadence)

                                    Mr Taster

                                    1. re: Mr Taster

                                      Gotta disagree with you on this, I was NOT impressed with Langers pastrami and chopped liver on my last visit. What you really need to try, is pick-up some chopped liver from Canter's, bring it with you to Langers, then order a virgin pastrami sandwich, put the chopped liver on it, and THEN you got a SANDWICH.

                                      1. re: ChinoWayne

                                        I live around the corner from Canter's and never eat there unless I'm totally stuck with the flu and need some matzo ball soup therapy. Nearly everything I've had there has been mediocre... even the baked goods (like the Jewish cookies, cakes) are far superior at Diamond Bakery down Fairfax. But I have not ever tried the chopped liver... maybe I'll go there for a taste and let you know what I think.

                                        Mr Taster

                                2. I go to Art's maybe once every week and a half or so. It's well above average. The sandwiches, soups and egg dishes are good, the salads are less so. I far prefer it to Canter's, and I will not eat at Jerry's.

                                  Yes, Brent's is much better, but I can only do the drive once in a while, as deli food isn't to me a destination meal. Langer's is my favorite, but it's a one trick pony. Anything other than pastrami is terrible, but the pastrami is worth whatever it takes to get there.

                                  I don't think the cost of Art's is significantly different than Jerry's, Canter's, Fromin's or Brent's.

                                  1. I find Art's rather hit or miss. Sometimes, the corned beef on rye is a joy and other times, it's like something they shipped in from Nebraska.

                                    My last few visits to Jerry's have become my last few visits to Jerry's. I won't be going back. I did a few times because I loved their chicken soup but it has gotten quite mediocre. Also, the service at two different locations (Studio City and Encino) has deteriotated greatly.

                                    I have not been impressed with Brent's the few times I've been there. So many of my friends rave about the place that I'm not giving up yet on it. I just haven't seen any greatness yet.

                                    Junior's has also become something of a disappointment. And Factor's was never very good.

                                    The most consistent, pleasing deli in my recent experience has been Canter's. FWIW.

                                    1. I wonder how many people, that complain of bland or tasteless food are smokers. I never take a smokers and/or boozers' recommendation for restaurants because of their bad taste buds. They are usually found at BBQ's with strong flavors, that I consider unacceptable as food.

                                      I started eating at Art's 40 years ago, and always enjoyed the roast beef sandwiches. It was just a little place at that time and you can see it on the right hand side as you walk in.

                                      As for Jerry's down the street, ONCE was more then enough. Lousy food and dirty. But it was a hangout for the late nite recreational party crowd, so it had a following and even got good press, many years ago.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: nutrition

                                        I have fond memories of going to work with my father 50 years ago and bringing in corned beef sandwiches from Art's and sucking down some 7-Up's from the classic old green bottle (work was a drug store and there was always of case of 7-Up in the fridge). Of course I have not partaken of Art's food in about 45 years, so I am a little leary of trying Art's now and possibly destroying a good childhood food memory.

                                      2. For the record, NOT a smoker.

                                        And, in fairness, I've only ordered a fraction of the menu items at Art's. But those things I order are the things I typically get in a deli. (Never tried the roast beef, for example.) And those things I've tried at Art's have been consistently mediocre.

                                        I'm not a fan of the Jerry's "scene," yet I have liked the pastrami and the matzo ball soup. My favorite pastrami in town at Langers. Have yet to try it at Nate 'n' Al. It's only okay at Canter's, but I love their chopped liver.

                                        If there's one thing I draw from all this, food preferences are truly a subjective thing.

                                        But back to the topic - I wish I liked Art's better. Or that Langer's were closer.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: lad1818

                                          The only thing I can say for Jerry's is this -- when you're bowling at that stuck-up, trendy, attitude-out-the-wazoo bowling alley adjacent to the Studio City branch, Jerry's offers a better option for food than your typical bowling-alley fare.

                                          I can't imagine actually wanting to go there as a destination, "let's go to Jerry's Deli tonight". Ugggggggggggggh.

                                          1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                            Having spent plenty of my childhood Saturday afternoons at that bowling alley (which used to be called Kirkwood's), I can honestly say I'm not sure Jerry's is an improvement on the greasy spoon cafe that used to be there.

                                        2. Arts Deli is a rip off, I dont see the point in spending that type of money for a sandwich and soup which isn't that great to begin with. As for as Jerry's goes that a "trendy" deli for those that know about other authentic jewish food. Since these are both at the beginning part of the Valley, I would suggest driving an extra 15 minutes to Brent's or Weilers since these two serve up delicious food at a fair price.


                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Hypnotic23

                                            Well, I wouldn't call Brent's a Jewish deli either, but it is better. Definitely further than 15 minutes away, though -- I can't even get from my house in Van Nuys to Brent's in 15 minutes.

                                          2. By the way, who knew that Saully's Deli on Van Nuys Blvd is actually owned by Jerry's Deli?


                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: Hypnotic23

                                              Well, it's been years since Solley's was bought by Jerry's, and ever since it's been on a long, lamentable slide. Before it was Jerry-fied it was decent and we used to eat there regularly. No more.

                                              I didn't like Marv's the one time I tried it - didn't mind the atmosphere but didn't like the corned beef one bit - not much flavor.

                                              Never have been impressed with either the food or service at Art's, especially at their prices. Even Brent's doesn't really do it for me, although I do like their cabbage soup, but it's quite the drive even from Sherman Oaks.

                                              1. re: Hypnotic23

                                                "By the way, who knew that Saully's Deli on Van Nuys Blvd is actually owned by Jerry's Deli?"
                                                I think everyone, since they bought it 10 or 15 years ago...

                                              2. We would eat there all the time when we lived in L.A. I'm wondering if Art is still there?

                                                1. I'm surprised with all the Westside activity here that Roll n Rye gets so little play. I made a trip out there from the Northeast area just to get a whole Kosher hard salami. I haven't had their pastrami in awhile (it was pretty good), but their breakfasts are good, and their hard kosher salami is probably the best in L.A. - and yes, there is a drifference in how it's dried.

                                                  1. Deep down in the depths of my chowhound soul, I know Arts isn't very good, but its a place I connect to my childhood and I can't really let go of that fact. I do love a pastrami sandwhich and a black and white cookie there, even if they may be subpar. Memories make everything taste better.

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: Curiosa

                                                      I am not sure that this poster knows what they are talking about. Art's black and white cookies "subpar"???? Art's buys their Black and White Cookies from Bea's Bakery in Tarzana, which by the way the majority of opinions on this board seem to rave about.

                                                      1. re: GummyBear

                                                        I believe that was a misstype. I really do actually love the black and white cookies, but I know that their pastrami is not very good, at least not after you've had Langers.

                                                        1. re: Curiosa

                                                          went there last week for lunch after a funeral at nearby Mt. Sinai hoping for some good deli food. It was just ok, I had a tuna melt and fries which was fine but overpriced, husband's corned beef was AWFUL and overpriced. Cup of soup was more like a thimbleful. $35 for that lunch??? Please!

                                                        2. re: GummyBear

                                                          Bea's Bakery doesn't still have a B in the window, does it?

                                                      2. I spent my whole childhood going to Art's, when their matzo ball soup was around $4.50 and the corned beef sandwiches were something like $6.00. And there was no chinese chicken salad on the menu (feh!)

                                                        I've lived in the Bay Area for 12 years, and have just now returned to LA. I remember that the corned beef was always a tad dry and fatty, and the matzo ball soup was just a single huge matzo ball sitting in a pool of bland broth with tiny little noodles. Is that worth the nearly $8.00 they charge now? Frankly, my doctored soup from the Manischewitz mix tastes better to me!

                                                        So is there a good deli in Santa Monica or the Westside in general?


                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: CleverGrrl

                                                          While far from perfect, we do enjoy Nate N'Al's in downtown BH, not cheap but fair bang for buck IOHO.

                                                          1. re: CleverGrrl

                                                            Izzy's is ok.
                                                            1433 Wilshire Blvd
                                                            Santa Monica, CA 90403

                                                          2. I remember my grandfather taking me to his favorite pickle maker in far east Flatbush (almost Bushwick), so I'm not talking through my hat here. The sandwiches are as over priced as they are in any of the delis I've been to, but the quality is still good, and the potato pancakes at Art's are worth the price of admission (this is based on two visits over the past five weeks). We all have our priorities, I guess.