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Requesting opinions on delis

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I'm thinking of giving my boyfriend a year of deli trips, my treat, for Hanukkah. (Don't worry, I have another present to deploy tonight.) But I'm not much of a deli person myself, so I'm interested in educated opinions about which greater LA-area delis should be on the must-visit list. The only limitation is that we're NOT going to Jerry's.

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  1. Langer's for the pastrami on rye but not much else. I'm partial to Brent's, the original location, for most everything else. And for the atmosphere more than the food - Nate 'n Al's in Beverly Hills and Canter's on Fairfax. A lot of people like Art's on Ventura Blvd. but I don't think it's very good. Billy's in Glendale is awful, but it does have one really great waitress who is a repository of terrible jokes.

    1 Reply
    1. re: estone888

      We went to Brent's last night after the DSW sale. Here's the scorecard:

      1. Kreplach Soup: Huge Kreplach, meat a bit underspiced, great dough. Soup was rich but not as good as the best. Give it a 7.5

      2. Chopped Herring: Mmmmmm.Marinated in wine, sweet, spread on bread. Great texture and flavor. A 9.

      3. Rye Bread: Warm, crusty, soft, flavorful. 9.

      4. Pastrami Dip: Great pastrami, great flavor, superb texture. Next to Langer's, the best. 8.

      5. Sides: All good, none great, except the pickle slices I could love on.

      Great Saturday night oldster mayhem at 7pm. Love the vibe, love the food.

    2. For the deli aficionados out there, I believe everything starts and ends with LANGERS and the No. 19.

      www.langersdeli.com

      1 Reply
      1. re: ipsedixit

        I'm just OK on the #19, I like the pastrami sandwich unadorned except with a bit of deli mustard.

      2. Agree that the pastrami at Langer's is the best in town (if not the nation). Also agree that, leaving pastrami aside, Brent's (in the Northridge location) is the best deli in town.

        1. Greenblatt's on Sunset and Laurel (next to the Laugh Factory) is a classic, traditional deli. Sandwiches are delicious. Desserts are yummy. Everything else is excellent!

          1 Reply
          1. re: chocolatelover

            If you go to greenblatts be sure to get the brisket sandwich with coleslaw and russian dressing. It's one of the best around. Also, another idea is to order him something from zingerman's deli in ann arbor, MI (www.zingermansdeli.com) their stuff is really special and in my opinion worth the extra money for shipping, especially the breads. they also have monthly clubs where they'll send you a different loaf of bread or a box of cheese every month. you could make your own sandwiches...

            you should also try brent's deli in northridge (www.brentsdeli.com) they always have great stuff.

          2. This topic has come up very often on the board. To sum it up some folks around here like Langers which is downtown, some like Brent's which is in Northridge and now in Westlake Village. These both seem to be the top two deli's on the board. IMO if you speak of Hanukkah you must speak about the latkas (potato pancakes) a traditional dish for Hanukkah. I am a Brent's fan and also love their latkas. I vote for Brent's.

            1. This is not the board to ask for variety or fun. This is, for the most part, a board that is going to give you a decided opinion on which is the BEST. On traditional delis, this board is particularly harsh and there are only a few contenders that even get a nod.

              I think your gift idea sounds like fun, and if I were you, I'd go with Brent's (Northridge -- probably the best all'round deli in the metropolis), Art's (off Coldwater at Ventura -- people on Chowhound seem to not like it as much as Brent''s, but Art's has its followers and I think they have great rye bread and cold cuts), Langer's (in the middle of the city -- contender for best pastrami anywhere in the Country), Nate 'N Al's (in Beverly Hills, for old-time ambiance), and maybe somewhere like Barney Greengrass (the restaurant at Barney's Dept. Store in BH), for expensive, yet very high-quality fish. I'd avoid places like Junior's, Factor's, Izzy's and Cantor's (or, need I say it, Jerry's) -- while they serve their purpose, are not the "best-in-breed" in town. I grew up on Junior's, and would go there anytime for a toasted salt bagel with cream cheese, but if I was looking for the *best* in town, I'd travel the distance and go elsewhere.

              http://brentsdeli.com/

              http://www.artsdeli.com/

              http://www.natenal.com/

              Langer's Deli
              (213) 483-8050
              704 S Alvarado St
              Los Angeles, CA 90057

              Barney Greengrass
              (310) 777-5877
              9570 Wilshire Blvd
              Beverly Hills, CA 90212

              1. Here are some others that I like:

                Weiler's Deli - Victory Blvd. Woodland Hills. Jewish Style Deli. Killer brisket, soups, great corned beef reubens.

                Marv's Deli - Nothing fancy, simple tables but really good solid deli. Magnolia Blvd,Sherman Oaks

                Labels Table - Valley Circle, Woodland Hills/Calabasas

                One More.... Chatsworth Country Deli - Great Corned Beef

                1. barney greengrass is amazing. they have incredible food and it doesn't smell like my grandmother's old age home.

                  1. is factor's basically the same as jerry's? i live nearby but have never tried it.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: kotter

                      I would put Factor's on par with Junior's. Certainly decent, but not outstanding. Better than Jerry's, though.

                    2. Bay Cities Deli in Santa Monica. It's Italian, not Jewish, but if it's great sandwiches you want to give your boyfriend, Bay Cities is the best.

                      1. it's been a bit of a tradition for me and a friend to go to Nate'n Al's in Beverly Hills on Christmas day for lox, eggs, and onions. their rendition is very delicious, and the place is kind of a crazy scene on christmas -- sweet but harried waitresses, lots of fun peoplewatching.

                        http://www.natenal.com/

                        1. I know Jerry's gets slammed all the time, but am I the only one who likes their matzo ball soup? (I've never had anything else there that I thought was great, but for some reason, their chicken soup really does it for me.)

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: David Kahn

                            Jerry's has very good soup. Their mushroom barley is good, too.

                            If Jerry's wasn't a deli, it might actually be a good diner. Their hamburgers and turkey burgers are pretty good, too, as are the onion rings and fries aren't bad. Their lox, eggs and onions is pretty good. Jerry's is not great at "deli food" like pastrami and corned beef. (And I'm not a decor guy, but I think they've done a good job with the remodels they've done.)

                            1. re: PaulF

                              I knew Jerry's wasn't good at deli stuff the time I ordered an egg cream at the one in Westwood and the UCLA student behind the counter had to go in the back and get the corporate recipe book. Even Canter's makes a decent egg cream.

                          2. I like the pastrami at COLES in Downtown. Only thing hold your nose around the Homeless and the Stench of Urine...

                            1. had brent's last night--very satisfying chicken soup, with some chicken pieces. the kreplach, though, was made with ground beef, whereas i thought it's made with flanken. a bit underspiced, but still hit the spot. had a pastrami sandwich, the number 12? 13?, with cole slaw, swiss and russian dressing on rye. very good flavor, but next time i'll skip the cole slaw involved so as not to take away from the meat.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Rosiepigs

                                Don't forget that Brent's has a lean and a Juicy cut pastrami. The juicy is moist yet not really fatty.