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Jun 26, 2008 06:29 PM


I just finished some research that I thought I'd pass along. I find general agreement that the best pastrami sandwich in L.A. is at Langer's on Alvarado. It is worth the rather risky trip (I wouldn't suggest it after dark, though you can order by phone and they'll take it to your car when you drive up). But we all wonder where they get their meat. Found it it is from R C Provisions in North Hollywood or Burbank. There was a recent pastrami tasting in Berkeley and the winning pastrami was from that provider. They don't sell direct to the public but one source is Niman Ranch where it is $8 a pound and can be ordered through their website. When steamed for two hours there is no equal in the world. Enjoy!

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  1. You don't have to worry about making the "rather risky trip" after dark as Langer's closes at 4 PM, (not that it is really at all risky).

    1. Believe the Oinkster in Eagle Rock gets its pastrami from there as well.

      5 Replies
      1. re: carter

        I believe not. Go about 12 posts down:

        If you like Jewish deli-style you'll like Langer's. If you prefer fast food style you'll like Oinkster. While both types have their virtues, Langer's & Oinkster are NOTHING alike.

        1. re: Briggs

          Oinkster did most of its homework with Norm Langer. Getting the pastrami from the same source does NOT mean the pastrami tastes the same. All it means is it has a common source.
          Every seller of quality pastrami offers its own take on the discussion by what it does with the pastrami in the form of brining, spices and flavorings, for how many days, etc. This is where the differences occur.
          I am not positive as to the source for Oinkster pastrami, yet do know that Norm offered the info, and what Andre did thereafter is up to him.

          1. re: carter

            Oinkster cures their pastrami from scratch. Langer's buys their cured pastrami from an outside source but (like any good deli) they steam and slice it on-site.

            These same arguments arise whenever pastrami is discussed among Hounds. A Langer's pastrami sandwich is as different from Oinkster or the Hat as a Father's Office burger is from the Bucket or In-N-Out.

            I would hate to have to choose amongst them -- there's room for them all.

            2005 Colorado Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90041

            Langer's Delicatessen
            704 S Alvarado St, Los Angeles, CA 90057

            The Hat
            491 N Lake Ave, Pasadena, CA 91101

        2. re: carter

          If they get their meat from the same place, boy do they finish it very differently. I would never guess that they use the same meat.

          1. re: Burger Boy

            There was an article in the LA Times years ago that said, as I recall, that nearly all delis in LA get their pastrami from the same supplier. The difference with Langer's was that they steam it for much, much longer than the others.

        3. Are you positively sure? The best pastrami I've ever had has been from The Hat (locations throughout L.A. and O.C.). When I crave pastrami, that's where I go to get my pastrami fix. The meat is perfectly spiced and sliced thin. The bread's been spread with musturd, but soaks up the juices from the pastrami, and the pickles are spaces perfectly throughout so that you get all the flavors in each bite. They also serve monstrous-sized portions of some of the best chili cheese fries and "wet" fries (the wet comes from gravy made from the juices of their roast beef that is awesome with the fries) you'll ever have. Their onion rings are great, too!

          10 Replies
          1. re: attran99

            hat and langers are on entirely different playing fields.

            Not saying there isn't a place for the hat, it's just on a different field :)

            1. re: ns1

              The field where the scrubs and the JV team plays. ;-D

              1. re: ns1

                Agreed. I've been trying to come up with an example of another food item that can be good in more than one style of finished preparation, both having begun with the exact same basic item. It's hard to suggest an example that doesn't result in sounding negative about one or the other. Maybe..... two people could each start with one half of the same head of cabbage and one would end up with sauerkraut and the other with KimChee.

                There are days when I'm in a Hat pastrami mood but more days when Langer's style is it for me. It's hard to imagine that the two preparations could start with the same exact piece of meat and end up so differently. I've never been to OInkster, but I take it that it's similar to The Hat, so the analogy would hold.

              2. re: attran99

                Was just at the Hat in Brea on the way to class. I agree with ns1, no fair comparing the two. Hat's got huge portions and gotta love the price ($7 a sandwich!)

                1. re: attran99

                  have you even had a pastrami sandiwch at langers? as mentioned by a plethora of other CH"s, it's comparing apples to durian.

                  that being said, langers does not serve up the best pastrami....but it serves up the best pastrami i have had thus far in LA.

                  1. re: wilafur

                    wow, if you had actually read my post, you would have noticed that I said that it was no fair comparing the in they're very different. You basically restated what I said.

                    I've been to langer's twice in the last month and I gotta say, there's a time and place for both. love langers but look forward to carnegie deli (and random brooklyn delis) on my trip to ny.

                    the key to the hat's pastrami sandwich is slathering on lots of their cheap mustard.

                    1. re: choctastic

                      if you follow the arrows you can see that i was replying to aatran99. ;-)

                      1. re: choctastic

                        Carnegie Deli, feh. OK pastrami -- I'll admit it -- but the awful-service-for-tourists shtick gets old fast. Go to Katz's instead.

                        1. re: Das Ubergeek

                          katz's deli ROCKS!! as a matter of fact, you can order from katz's and have it shipped overnight. i was amazed as to how well the pastrami heats back up in the microwave. mmm!

                          however, it's best to have it fresh in the lower eastside.

                          1. re: wilafur

                            When I'm in NYC, I make it a point to eat at Katz's. I love Katz's but I love Langers just a little bit more. I guess the best way to judge the two would be side by side, on neutral ground. Maybe have both shipped to Kansas and try them there.

                  2. totally agree on the different playing fields. the hat is excellent for drive through food, but is not even close to langers. while it is likely sacrelige to say this, after langer's i'll take canter's over the rest. have become disillusioned with brent's, and art's is just ok.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: jay 1

                      After many years of hearing how the pastrami at Langer's was THE BEST, I talked my husband into taking me there, despite his warnings about the neighborhood. He was right about the neighborhood. We saw a woman getting her purse stolen as we sat at our table (she was outside on the sidewalk). It wasn't THE BEST pastrami. It was good and certainly not worth the risk. Brent's used to be good, and the portions are still huge, but the last pastrami I had from Brent's was shiny and had no streaks of fat. It was weird. I like The Hat, but the pieces are so small they seem like leftover scraps. It is tasty though. The Country Deli in Chatsworth is pretty good.

                      1. re: cynder007

                        I can't imagine, all else being equal, choosing to go to the Hat over Langer's. Langer's is delicious and, well, everyplace in LA is dangerous. Langer's closes early so you're not there after dark.

                    2. For my money, Langer's is on a different playing field than ALL others mentioned. Brent's and Art's and many other Jewish delis in town serve a pretty decent New York style good pastrami sandwich. Langer's is completely different, and unique in my experience. It honestly took me 2 or 3 sandwiches at Langer's (spaced out over more than a year) to "get" Langer's. Now I think it's the best anywhere. Oinkster is different from both, and doesn't thrill me. I guess I feel like if I'm going to eat pastrami, which is SUCH an indulgence, it can't just be good, it's gotta be great.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: la tache burger

                        I have to say that Langer's has my favorite pastrami sandwich. I'm from NY and Langer's has any I've had there beat.

                        I grew up on Jewish-style pastrami. My few experiences with the other style sold around here have left me cold - I found the pastrami rubbery, fatty, chewy - not a pleasant experience.

                        That said, this thread has me intrigued as far as The Hat and Oinkster go. I may have to try them - obviously I'm missing something so far.

                        1. re: lad1818

                          I grew up eating pastrami at every Jewish deli in the Valley plus a few on the West Side. I look forward to eventually trying Langers although I cannot understand them being open on Saturday and not on Sunday. Until then, I'm quite happy with my occasional slumming at Tops. Without wanting to be purposely argumentative, I will say that I think The Hat is the worst for pastrami. Even their fries and chili are yuck. I've really, really tried to like it and have begrudgingly gone at the suggestion of others in group situations but I will never go against my better judgment again!!! It is definitely quantity vs quality and very salty as well.

                          1. re: Fru

                            I'm sorry but the only thing The Hat and Langer's pastrami have in common is the name of the type of meat. Per Merriam Webster Online: ":a highly seasoned smoked beef prepared especially from shoulder cuts.

                            They are two completely different preparations, in my opinion. I happen to enjoy both but for totally different reasons. (BTW-I need to be in the mood for The Hat, but I'll take Langer's any day.)

                            1. re: Midlife

                              The *may* get it from Russaks (local L.A. smokehouse)- they just started selling to the public via their website. 2 different types of cuts (I've only gone the navel route)