HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >


First Time at Langer's

Planning on going to Langer's for the first time soon. I had the best pastrami sandwich of my life at Katz Deli in NYC last summer. What's my ordering strategy here? Plain pastrami or should I try it with some toppings? I'm thinking of plain to keep the comparison pure and based on other posts will definitely ask for it hand cut. Probably will share 1/2 sandwich, what sides are especially good?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Keep it simple. Pastrami on rye hand cut and then add some deli mustard to your liking. No cheese, no coleslaw and no pastrami ruben. Skip the sides and go for a whole sandwich.

    1. Be aware that the pastrami sandwich at Langer's is not a monstrous, tall stuffed behemoth, but is actually somewhat modest. The twice-baked rye is an essential complement, soft in the middle and crisp at the crusts. Sides are pretty much your preference -- I like to start with a cup of their matzoh ball soup, and if I have companions we can share an order of their crinkly fries, ordered welldone. The slaw or potato salad are fair, nothing extraordinary. I always order the pastram handcut (though I'm not sure it makes any difference) but I am careful to specify "untrimmed" so they don't remove too much of the fat or spice -- the pastrami can be a bit lean. I'm a purist at Langer's -- no sauerkraut, no zippy cheese, and I don't even add mustard, which is another reason I insist on untrimmed.

      1. if you are going with someone...get one straight and get #19 and split the two...they come cut in half so...its easy to split them. also get french fries extra crispy :)

        1. I'm not a Langer's pastrami fan, so whenever I go with friends, I make sure to treat myself to a Egg Cream.

          3 Replies
          1. re: ipsedixit

            Hi ipsedixit,

            What's your recommendation / favorite Pastrami in LA? Thank you! :)

            1. re: exilekiss


              But please don't take my rec to heart as I am, admittedly, not a pastrami aficianado.

              1. re: ipsedixit

                Yeah... I didn't care for the Pastrami at Oinkster... but it's a completely different beast than Langers...


                It's more hat style... which I like better (But only because it's so much more salty...)



          2. The no. 19 is interesting but I find that it masks the flavor of the pastrami. I go for the simple pastrami on rye, hand cut, and add mustard. Their new pickles are more to my taste than the regular dills. Langer's is pretty much a one trick pony, so aside from the hand cut pastrami the food is simply ordinary deli. The egg creams are delicious, if a bit pricy.

            1. #19 all the way! You'll know when you walk in. I'd say that the pastrami is not masked by the slaw, mustard, or great rye. Rather's they help to cut the SUPER-richness of the pastrami and make a balanced sandwich. Sharing is definitely the way to go, not because that sandwich is that huge, more because the pastrami is just so ridiculously rich that you are satisfied with half. And get some cream soda.

              1. Another vote for #19. After one visit, you'll be back to try other combinations. On my first visit, I split a #19... and wished I had the whole thing to myself. ENJOY!

                1. I like the No. 1 which is pastrami and coleslaw on rye. I'm not a fan of No. 19 because I think the additional slice of cheese is just too much gilding on that lily. There is plenty of flavor there already. Crinkle cut fries are great too.

                  1 Reply
                  1. I love the No. 19 -- and I've learned to ask for "extra lean." Have tried others, but keep going back for that one. I'd get an egg cream and maybe a cup of matzo ball soup. I don't think the fries are that good.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: victoriashe

                      Holy cow guys! You and I must have completely different pleasure centers of the tongue and brain. My sister once made the mistake of ordering the pastrami "extra lean" and what she got were largely flavorless and excessively dry (if you can believe it) strips of meat... AND she paid an extra few bucks for the privelege. She couldn't understand why I raved about the pastrami until she took a bite of my sandwich.

                      Jewish soul food was never meant to drown in heaps of cheese and russian dressing, any more than Chinese food was meant to be slathered in orange marmalade and eaten with forks. If you're going to kaibosh the culinary efforts of hundreds of years of Eastern European immigrants, why not just slather the pastrami with salsa and mayonnaise and serve it up on Wonder Bread and be done with it.

                      Langer's pastrami sandwiches really are divine. They stand on their own and need no embellishment, save a tiny dab of Gulden's deli mustard. Anything else is gilding the lily.

                      Mr Taster

                    2. Just get a plain hot pastrami on rye, hand cut and untrimmed. If you must have coleslaw, order it on the side and try it for yourself. It's my strong opinion that everything in the #19 other than the pastrami interferes. Also try their french fries, well done. Make sure to add the mustard which is at the tableside to your liking. The softness of the bread interior, contrasting the super crunchy crust, mixed with the fattiness of the pastrami which is cut slightly by the mustard is a great eating experience.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: taiwanesesmalleats

                        I agree - if you want to experience Langer's pastrami, skip the #19 and get pastrami on rye with mustard.

                        I'm from NY, have been to Katz's, and to me Langer's beats it. Only drawback is, Russ & Daughters and Yonah Shimmel are not down the street.

                        1. re: lad1818

                          Now, I'm an absolute lover of the #19... I sit and doodle sketches of it all the time in anticipation of getting it (well, not really)... but lad's point is definitely what I recommend to Langer's newbies. Gotta get the pastrami without any distractions (except for mustard, of course) the first time to really appreciate Langer's. Then give the #19 or ruben a shot and see how far down the Langer's rabbit hole you're willing to go:)

                          1. re: mrshankly

                            For those who were following the scintillating cheese:pastami::corn:pizza discussion and wondered where it went, fret not. Your prayers have been answered.


                            Mr Taster

                      2. Only visited Langer's once, on a working trip to the left coast...but it was great. Go for the hand cut, untrimmed pastrami on rye. It's as good as anything I've ever had anywhere in NY.
                        By the way...cheese has no business being on a pastrami sandwich. And make sure you request un-trimmed. Lean pastrami is not good pastrami.

                        1. On your second trip you might want to try the number 44, their pastrami Ruben. Boy is that a good sandwich.

                          1. The #19 is one of the greatest sandwiches (or any food for that matter) on this entire earth.

                            1. I get the 19. I love it. I don't think anything is masked. I like the sum of the flavors. Its delish.

                              1. I was at Langers recently with some of the members of my foodie group. The No. 19 is the sandwich they're famous for and I thought it was heavenly. Very rich, lots of fat in the incredibly tender pastrami. Here's a photo of the plate. We left stuffed and happy!

                                1. Just go for the plain pastrami. I can't stand coleslaw so I never order #19.

                                  1. For a first timer, yeah, I'd probably suggest getting just the straight up pastrami on rye. I tend not to order the #19 because, while delicious, it's just a bit overwhelming. Personally, I like to split the difference, and get the #1, which adds cole slaw and Russian dressing, but does not include cheese. I happen to prefer the tang and creaminess of these additions to the sharper astringency of mustard when it comes to pastrami accoutrement.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Jack Flash

                                      my sentiments exactly. #1 all the way.

                                      1. re: felicia d.

                                        Probably will do the plain to get a fair comparison with Katz. The cheese and dressing sounds a bit much for me. I like a textural and flavor contrast so maybe the coleslaw to cut the richness, but I'll just order a side of it. Thanks for all the great debate! I'm so excited to go in a few weeks!

                                    2. be aware that you can take-out the pastrami to go in cryovac with sides plus the bread. you'll be able to steam it lightly and enjoy seven ways to sunday all through the week! we take out for parties; it's the greatest. enjoy!

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: revets2

                                        There's a trick to getting the double baked rye to go if Norm is there and hears you ask for it (at least in my experience). The first time I ordered to go he asked me when I was going to eat the bread. I told him the truth - later that night for dinner. He refused to sell me any double baked because he said that it must be eaten within 20 minutes of being sliced. Now, if I'm asked, I say we'll eat it just as soon as I can get back to my office downtown. This seems to satisfy him. He's right, the bread does get cooler, even room temp, but the contrast between the chewy interior and that great crust is still there.

                                        1. re: TomSwift

                                          Apologies in advance for the silly question but I am a novice when it comes to Jewish deli food and Langers for that matter, but what is the double baked rye like and are there different rye breads they offer? I plan on hitting Langers soon and want to make sure I order the right thing. I will be ordering the sandwich to go most likely. Is the bread on the sandwich served warm? Thank you!

                                          1. re: bruinike

                                            The "double-baked" rye at Langer's is the default bread that you will get if you order the pastrami on rye. It is sliced thicker than the usual rye bread you might be used to from most Jewish-style delis, and is softer. Ideally it will be a bit warm from the oven, but not hot or crisp all over like toast. The first time at Langer's, I'd strongly advise eating there to maximize the freshness of your sandwich and get a true taste -- this will also permit you to add mustard or cole slaw as you wish.

                                            1. re: nosh

                                              Slightly warm is great. Thicker bread sounds divine!! Thank you so much for the breakdown

                                            2. re: bruinike

                                              Nosh is correct and you should eat there for the first time. The double baked means that the crust is crisp and crunchy but the inside is soft but still with texture and character.

                                        2. Is it just the pastrami or is the corned beef as good?

                                          3 Replies
                                            1. re: outshined

                                              I personally find their corned beef to be good but unremarkable. Unlike the pastrami, there are others which are as good and others which I've found superior. Nothing, however, can touch the pastrami.