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Pastrami - Thick, Spiced, Buttery Fat

I'm a Chicago native who lived in L.A. for the past 4 years. Thankfully, I have returned back home.

Now all I need is a fantastic Pastrami sandwich comparable to Langer's in L.A. If anyone has had it, you know what I'm talking about

I've been to Manny's, Eleven City Diner, etc. They don't make me happy. I've read all the posts, but figured I'd throw the question out there, and start a Pastrami-specific thread.

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  1. I've been very happy with the hot pastrami sandwiches at Kaufman's in Skokie (carry-out only).

    Sounds like you've read the two topics at www.chowhound.com/topics/307862 and www.chowhound.com/topics/457889 . The latter topic mentions Steve's Deli, which appears to have opened in River North; I haven't been there yet, but I've been very impressed with other Jewish delis in the Detroit area, so I have high hopes and am looking forward to trying it.

    Never heard of Langer's...

    1. Forget the pastrami, have you tried the Roast Beef sandwich at Manny's? It's pretty unbelievable!!

      1. I enjoy the pastrami at Romanian Kosher Suasage in Rogers Park -- IMHO the best pastrami in the city - like Kaufmans no table seating but will make a sandwich to go -

        Also while there pick up some of their hot dogs - also the best in the city IMHO

        Romanian Kosher Sausage Co
        7200 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60626

        1. I don't think you'll find anything comparable to Langer's in the area, but if you're ever up in the Milwaukee region, you might want to give Jake's a try. Their pastrami is still a Vienna product, but they take good care of it and, yes, it's hand-carved!

          1634 W North Avenue,

          1. What about Perry's on Franklin between Randolph and Lake? HUGE sammies, and pretty great.

            1. I too am still searching for great pastrami or corned beef. It is hard to find a place that has the proper ratio of meat to fat. The places that are always recommended usually trim too much of the fat off, which tends to leave a dry piece of meat. I just shake my head when I hear people asking for the meat to be leaner.

              2 Replies
              1. re: rorkesdrift

                I agre - the trend to be health conciousness and a move to lean corned beef/pastrami just ruins it - romainian kosher sausage's regular corned beef has the righ mix of fat to beef as does there regular pastrami - -

                1. re: weinstein5

                  Kaufman's offer a choices of their regular corned beef and pastrami, or extra lean versions of both. Perfect for Mr. and Mrs. J. Sprat!

              2. You are so "right" about Langer's (8th & Alvarado I believe). I also lived in LA for 15 years. Travelled to get Langer's hand slice hot and juicy pastrami sandwichs many times. It was much better than the fashionable Nate n' Al's.

                Also if you're in Chicago your're not far from Milwaukee which also has excellent deli and Jewish delicatessens.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Discerning Tastes

                  The Bagel in Lakeview (I'm pretty sure) has a delicious pastrami sandwich. I insisted on getting a bagel and lox for brunch recently, but I kept stealing bites from my boyfriend's pastrami. Won't make that mistake again - the pastrami is not to be missed!

                  1. re: Discerning Tastes

                    Thanks guys for the suggestion. I just moved to L.A. from Chicago (oh how I miss home). I must try Langer's....hearing good things.

                  2. Lean and fatty alike are feasted on at Max & Benny's Restaurant & Deli
                    There's fierce debate among pastrami-lovers over how much fat is too much fat, but Max & Benny's settles all disputes by letting hungry diners choose for themselves. Opt for the leaner (dryer) version of the pastrami sandwich, a toothsome mix of belly and brisket cuts, or indulge in the knock-your-socks-off flavor of the full-fat pastrami. (Trust us and go with the fattier fare: Your belly will thank you, even if your waist line won't.) A smear of bright yellow mustard is all that separates this slightly spicy meat from two thick cuts of soft, parbaked rye bread.

                    Choose the size of your pastrami love at Finkl's World Famous Deli
                    What this no-frills deli lacks in personality it makes up for in pastrami: peppery, briny bits of super-thick meat layered between two hearty wedges of warm, caraway-studded rye. A fast slice of Swiss and an almost overwhelming amount of mustard set this sandwich apart. For those seeking an even heartier feast, they can opt for Finkl's double-stack that packs in twice as much taste, or pair the skinnier sammie with a cup of matzoh ball soup for a complete meal.

                    Purists need not venture to Ashkenaz Deli
                    Ok, let's clear up any confusion upfront: This is not a kosher deli. Need proof? The mouthwatering pastrami sandwich that draws diners from across the city comes slathered with cream cheese and chives. But if you’re seeking more delicious than diehard authentic, Ashkenaz is worth a visit. The pastrami, for all its cream-cheese heresy, is wonderfully flavorful, the chewy bits of fatty meat mixing with a creamy smidge of cheese and caraway-flecked bread. Want to stray even further from the tried-and-true? While we’d never go so far as turkey pastrami, there is a mighty popular one on the menu here.

                    Visit a lunchtime institution Manny's Coffee Shop & Deli
                    Considered by many to be the hands-down best Jewish deli in the city, Manny's is a lunchtime institution. If you can fight your way through the maddening crowds, you'll be rewarded with a pastrami sandwich that balances soft, flavorful rye bread with thick, briny slices of super-seasoned pastrami. Bonus: This cafeteria-style eatery is one of the few delis in the city that offers sit-down seating, so after you've polished off your first mammoth, messy sandwich, you can always sidle back up for another. For round two, try its legendary corned beef and a potato pancake.

                    An upscale upstart at Eleven City Diner
                    This sunny, spacious storefront loft may not exactly scream classic deli, but don't let the decor fool you: Eleven City Diner serves up one of the best pastrami sandwiches (and accompanying pickles) in the city. Thin-cut, peppery pastrami comes slathered with a thick squirt of bright yellow mustard, all piled atop old-school rye bread. The wonderfully fatty meat boasts an addictive hint of salty brine, while the bread is chewy yet soft. Top it all off with a creamy side of crispy coleslaw, and this loft has earned its diner moniker.

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                    1. Thanks for starting a Pastrami specific thread, I know it gets confusing trying to read through a multiple paragraph computer screen(had enough of that in college!). Anywhoo if its Langers youre craving I suggest making a stop to the local deli and pile up your cart with C. Buddig. That and some wonder white and you should be set. On a side note where did you get that draw string tux?

                      1. This may seem obvious but have you tried Panera?

                        1. Perry's is excellent pastrami. Not too spiced, and not at all lean. I would defintely recommend giving it a try....

                          1. Man - after seeing Katz's deli in NYC on both No Reservations and Man Vs. Food I so want a Pastrami sandwich. I have to find one this weekend and this thread will help.