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Nov 2, 2007 10:53 AM

Pastrami in LA [split from California]

(Note: This thread was split from the California board at: -- The Chowhound Team).

The sad fact is.. you can't get a decent pastrami sandwich in Fresno.. You have to go to LA(Canter's or Jerry's) of even East meets West in SF... which is marginal but still good.. Now the big question is............where do we find chopped liver ???

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    1. Sorry Ron but if you are in L.A. and go to Canter's or Jerry's you won't get decent pastrami. The great (not decent) pastrami in L.A. is at Langer's. I know people who drive 500 miles for a lunch at Langers.

      1 Reply
      1. re: hungerpains

        The great pastrami in LA can be found at Johnnie's Pastrami on Adams just east of Crenshaw. It has been family operated for at least 50 years. I know people who have driven from Phoenix and flown from Denver to grab one of these. It is in a suitably dodgey neighbor hood.

        Now there, so much for argument by assertion. In reality who knows which of these is best, but they both have legions of fans and I doubt if you can go wrong with either. I think Johnnie's is open a lot later than Langers if that matters, and it might be cheaper. On the other hand I've never seen Larry King at Johnnie's.

        The Johnnie's on Sepulveda is said to be noticably inferior (though not bad).

        Me, I don't like Pastrami. But I hear enough opinions on it to make it a coin flip as far as I'm concerned.

      2. Have you ever tried this place called Johnny Pastrami's in LA? The meat was piled high and it was delicious. Although, I haven't tried Canter's or Jerry's to compare to it.
        Sorry... can't help you with chopped liver.

        6 Replies
        1. re: lewdude26

          lewdude--Check out the L.A. board with a seach for Langer's Deli. It was been operating for many years by the Langer family. The owner is now in his 90's but evidently still makes his appearances. His son runs the day to day operations. The agreement of the Chowhounders is that it has the best pastrami on the West Coast and has won the James Beard Award. I have eaten there every time I get to L.A. and my favorite is the pastrami (ask for it hand cut), coleslaw, and thousand island sandwich. The bread is baked there and is soft on the inside and has a incredible crispy crust.

          Since it is across the street from MacArthur Park they close before dark for security reasons. I have never had a problem in the neighborhood in the 25 years I have been going there. You can take the subway which stops less than 1/2 a block away or park in their validated lot a block east. They even have curb service if you order ahead. Any other place in L.A. isn't worthwhile for pastrami and I think it is better than the now closed 2nd Ave. Deli in New York City. By the way I once had the pastrami and chopped liver sandwich. It was fantastic but a cardiologist's nightmare.

          1. re: hungerpains

            hungerpains - thanks a bunch for the next place I'm going for pastrami sandwiches. Yeah... daytime is the safest for me. 8^P

            1. re: hungerpains

              I am dying to try Langer's. I have heard nothing but wonderful things about their pastrami. Although last time I was in LA (July/August), Cantor's pastrami was to die for. I am going down there this weekend. Unfortunately, they are not open on Sunday (but open on Saturday--different for a Jewish Deli).

              We are in Orange County on Saturday to see to see the Cirque show and won't be anywhere near them. The only Jewish deli I know of in Orange County is Jerry's, so I guess we will go there for sour tomatoes and black and white cookies (plus pastrami and corned beef).

              I was so sorry to hear that the 2nd Ave Deli closed. As a Valentine's Day gift for my sweetie (a couple of years ago), I ordered pastrami, corned beef and black and white cookies from them as a surprise. They sent along a jar of their mustard. Now that was mustard and I am a TOTAL mustard snob!

              Now I am thinking of ordering H and H bagels as a surprise for him for the holidays. He claims that no one has good bagels in Fresno. I like Uncle Harry's--so sue me! Although I haven't been there for a couple of years. He claims they are not "New York" bagels. I think Giada said on TV her favorite bagels were H and H in New York. Anyone try them?

              1. re: Gypsy1228

                The best deli in Orange County is the Katella Deli in Los Alamitos. Check the Los Angeles Board for a search of the Katella. It is pretty good and much better than Jerry's.

              2. re: hungerpains

                i'm pretty sure that the owner of langer's passed away a month or so ago.

              3. re: lewdude26

                I love Johnny's... its certainly not New York style (cheap crusty roll instead of sliced rye etc.,)... but then again I like much better than the various famous places I tried it in New York. The meat is tender & exquisitely spiced. The brain freezing horseradish mustard is great... as are the pickles. Also the sandwich has great balance... its piled high... but you can still bite into it (unlike the ridiculous... obviously created by someone with small man syndrom style sandwiches of NYC).

                Johnny's has the turnover & consistency to earn any Pastrami lovers respect... even if it doesn't fit a NYC person's definition.

                1. Langer's is unique and superior. Thick-cut, unctuous, on that perfect twice-baked rye. Not a monster of a sandwich, but amazing and satisfying. I order mine untrimmed so it is especially moist.

                  Johnnie's on Sepulveda and Washington Place is good and their sandwich is big, but it is also about as expensive as Langer's. The thin-shaved, kept warm in the juices variety. Similar to The Hat on the eastside. To be honest, for that kind of hot pastrami sandwich I prefer Togo's on their onion roll -- choice of toppings, generous portion, barely half the price.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: nosh

                    So much for the inferior Johnnie's, what about the other place?