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Oct 4, 2000 12:06 AM

Hot Pastrami sandwiches--where's the best?

  • r

There's nothing better than a not pastrami sandwich on crusty rye bread with Russian dressing. My favorite so far is at Langer's in MacArthur Park. Everyone raves about Brent's Deli in the north Valley. Any thoughts?

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  1. Langer's actually is the best. You can get pastrami that's as good -or maybe a little better-elsewhere but I haven't been able to find bread that's quite as good. Billy's in Glendale is a close runner up but I haven't come across anything on the Westside that's in the same class. Langer's is also the only place I ever heard of anyone ordering lean pastrami and not getting laughed out of the restaurant. If you have kids, take them there on the Red Line (if/when the strike's over) and let them order the root beer float - it's gigantic and inexpensive. They'll not forget the float, the train ride and the amazing short walk down Alvarado (a visit to Central America) anytime soon.

    5 Replies
    1. re: J Wagner
      Gretchen Ehrenberg

      Since no one mentioned a price limit, why not Jerry's Deli (various locations)?

      1. re: Gretchen Ehrenberg
        Richard Foss

        Langer's is different from most other places in that they continue curing their pastrami after they buy it. The process of curing pastrami makes it more tender but reduces it in volume, so the more the pastrami is cured the less the restaurant has to sell. Most places sell it straight from the package, but Langer's cures theirs for two days, reducing it in volume by a quarter in the process. As a result it can be hand-cut easily, which you won't see them doing anywhere else in town.

        The other great thing about Langer's is the corn rye bread, which has been baked to their recipe for something like fifty years. It's the best of its kind I have found in LA, crusty and very flavorful. I stop in and buy a loaf any time I'm in the area.

        An added bonus to going to Langer's is the chance to chat with Art Langer, who has run the place since the 40's... I interviewed him for the Downtown News back in '91, and he was quite a character.

        1. re: Richard Foss
          Tom Armitage

          Great post, Richard. I'm really enjoying your contributions to Chowhound. Keep them coming! And, BTW, I agree 100% about Langer's, one of Los Angeles's real treasures.

          1. re: Richard Foss
            Richard Abrams

            I always knew that Langer's hand-cut their pastrami, but I never knew why. Thanx for the insight. And you're right on--the rye bread is the greatest: soft on the inside and crusty on the outside. Several years ago, my wife and I went on a cruise, and ate fine cuisine for 10 days, but when we got back to L.A., the first thing we wanted was a pastrami sandwich (actually a #1--Russian dressing and coleslaw) from Langer's. We went straight from the ship in San Pedro right to Langer's, not even bothering to stop at home. I look forward to more of your postings.

            1. re: Richard Foss

              Glad to see this post up here. Thanx for all the tips. I'm a transplanted Jersey boy and have been in painful withdrawl from Katz's in NYC. Still, for me, the definitive heaping pastrami sandwich. I will eagerly check out Langer's.

        2. haven't eaten at langer's in a while, but I like label's table for a decent pastrami sandwich at a good price. it's on pico.

          1. Aftr shopping in the Jewelry District a few months a go, I finally stopped into Langer's to try their famous pastrami. With all the favorable reviews in Zagat's, New Times and LA Weekly, I had very high expectations. Sadly, I was a little disappointed with Langer's pastrami sandwich. I thought the pastrami was good but not great. Their rye bread was great. In addition, I thought they were skippy with the amount of pastrami in the sandwich. Did I catch Langer's on a bad day? After reading all the favorable comments here, I am thinking of giving Langer's another visit.

            I lived in New York City from 1988 to 1992 and I still dream of pastrami sandwiches from the Carnegie Deli and Second Avenue Deli with about a pound of meat in each sandwich.

            I have also heard Brent's Deli and Art's Deli are pretty good. Any comments on these places?

            1 Reply
            1. re: Norm

              I lived in the valley near Art's for years, and always got a great sandwich (and if you have a taste for chopped liver, Art's was great - it was his wife's recipe). Now that my family has migrated north, closer to Brent's, I think that Brent's is even better.

              I'm surprised no one has even mentioned Nate'N'Al's in Beverly Hills. They make a sandwich with pastrami, swiss cheese, cole slaw, and thousand island dressing on it, on rye. Pure decadence, cholesterol and calories. It was always drippy and delicious, and enough for a meal or two or three.

            2. My new favorite pastrami place is the Roll and Rye Deli. It's in Culver City on Jefferson Blvd. in the Toys are Us / Bookstar shopping center. Pastrami has that certain wet flavor; and while not Kosher, it is most definitely Kosher style. I'm from N.J. myself, so I'm very fussy , too!! It does'nt attract all of the celebrities like Nate n Al's, but I think it is even better. The brisket is delicious , too. Prices are not cheap; even the turkey sandwich will set you back $9.00. But well worth it.... Enjoy!!
              I've been to Langer's once myself, and I too had expected more from the pastrami. It just did'nt too anything special for me....

              the roll and rye is also right down the street from the Target Dept. Store, so you can get some holiday shopping done while you are at it....

              1. I think The Hat is the best Pastrami place around. They have one in Upland and one in Pasadena.Perhaps you've already tried it.