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I love langer's pastrami but i have trouble thinking of the restaurant as an "ultimate" RESTAURANT...

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I love Langer's Pastrami. It's incredible. I take out of towners to langer's all the time. I even bought David Sax's new book "Save the deli" and skipped the intro and ny section to read his analysis of langer's first. But my question comes on the heals of the Ultimate LA restaurant poll which Langer's just won...the pastrami is amazing, of course, but why are people ranking the restaurant so high? from what i can tell, very few folks eat anything besides the pastrami. many chowhounders haven't even tried anything else on the menu. I guess in my book, an ultimate restaurant needs to have multiple food items that bring me in. I hope I'm being clear here. it's not that i dislike langer's. i love it, but i love it for the pastrami, not for anything else on the menu. So, for the people that ranked it so high...enlighten me: Did you cast your vote purely for the pastrami? are there other things you order but don't write about on this site? is it the curbside service? Thanks, in advance.

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  1. They have plenty of good food besides the immortal pastrami. Sometimes, I'll do the #19 with sliced turkey instead of pastrami. If you're really hungry, try their steak sandwich with fries. I can get two meals out of their club sandwich. Their apple pie and poppyseed strudel are wonderful too.

    1. At the very least, Pizzeria Mozza, Umami Burger, Father’s Office, Mastro's and Phillippe's are on the list for essentially one thing. And arguably some of the others, too. Not sure it's an issue, therefore.

      2 Replies
      1. re: la tache burger

        Umami, Father's office and Phillippe's are known for making ONE thing, rest of the menu are sides.
        Langer's has a HUGE menu, sure their pastrami is great, but i would never consider it Ultimate because i've never had anything else off their menu.
        It's like saying my husband is an amazing chef because he makes the perfect slice of toast. He isn't, he just makes great toast.

        1. re: GenevieveCa

          Actually, I like the beers at FO more than I am a fan of the burger. Granted, it is a fantastic burger, but I enjoy sampling their beers with suggestions from the bartenders much more. The other food they serve is actually pretty great too.

      2. It's ok to be a one trick pony, if that trick happens to be amazing.

        Proving the converse: Jerry's Deli, where nothing is decent, no matter how many things I've tried.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Professor Salt

          Agreed, Langer's is a one trick pony, but this is the Clydesdale of pastrami. IMO the rest of Langer's menu is sound and serviceable and the other items which I've tasted (but never ordered myself) are fine but I wouldn't go out of my way to 7th & Alvarado for them. I ranked Langer's highly because of the pastrami sandwich and because the rest of the menu isn't offensive.

          1. re: Professor Salt

            The Saturn V was a one-trick pony, but it's certainly an Ultimate Rocket.

          2. I did not vote, but I'm with you on this. For a restaurant to be "The Best", everything on one's plate should always be top-notch, and I frankly can do without Langer's potato salad (for instance). I think we are confusing "Best" with "Favorite" here; Pann's is just about my FAVORITE restaurant, but it's far from the BEST restaurant I've been to.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Will Owen

              Agreed, that's a very important distinction here: "best" (semi-objective) vs. "favorite" (completely subjective). But we have no objective criteria, plus the charm of the board is that it isn't pro critics, but everyday people sharing our impressions. So it's necessarily favorite not best. Taste is by definition subjective, so there's never going to be a "right" answer.

              It turns out that a bunch of people think that under $25, Langer's is the ultimate place to go eat. You and I disagree. But trying to pick their choice apart through argument won't change their opinion. I'd say Hide or Sea Harbour, but lots of people would disagree with me there. All it means is that we're not in tune with the average LA chowhound on this one.

            2. keep in mind that Langers is #1 overall due to the most votes....but this is due to the fact there were 2 categories (under and over $25). i am most positive that if there were not price category that Langers would be lucky to crack the top 15. but the fact we had an under $25 category, i can see why langers was tops on almost everyones list. what other under $25 place in LA gets as much recognition as Langers? being #1 on our list just says Langers is the most popular....and on chowhound thats a pretty big honor since "we" are foodies!

              1. I don't know how many voters take it into account, but the original criteria for the poll was for places that you could recommend to out-of-town friends. I could DEFINITELY see myself recommending Langer's to an out-of-town friend looking for the kind of deli experience that L.A. has to offer.

                And if menu size had anything to do with it, Jerry's Deli and Barney's Beanery would be at the top of the list.

                2 Replies
                1. re: maxzook

                  But by the same token, if someone does not like Deli fare, regardless of why, then is it truly the #1, except in the eyes of those who like deli fare? this poll was voted on by people who apparently like deli food, yet have never tried most of the rest of its competitors, ala Chente, for an example. Langers has been around forever, yet other competitors have not been around any more than maybe 1-2 years, maybe even less, and thus much of the voting audience has never even tried the food to make the comparison.
                  I like Langers, yet would hardly place it in the top 5 of any category, just because I will not travel out of my way to have ANY sandwich. Going out of my way for Mexican food, or Moroccan food, or Peruvian food, or ... well, maybe, but a sandwich, NO!!!
                  I have been to Santa Monica so many times yet have never been to Bay Cities, nor do I really care to go, regardless of how good, or not, that god-mutha may be. It just has no personal appeal.
                  And if menu size had anything to do with it, Cheesecake Factory would win in a landslide, yet probably got no votes, deservedly so, yet probably deserved more votes than some of the places that did get votes.

                  1. re: carter

                    I've been to 7 out of the top 10 under 25 dollar restaurants including Langers and Chente.

                    I do realize that any type of polling is not going to give me a decisive answer on such a subjective topic as food. I see this poll as a interesting statistic based on a percentage of the chowhound community. No more no less.

                    You could place any restaurant in that number one spot (lets say your own personal pick) and we could use the basis of your own argument as to why it shouldn't be there.

                    There simply is no decisive answer to it.
                    I think it was a interesting topic that I've taken lightly and kudos for the work done to accomplish it.

                2. I voted for Langer's because it has the best sandwich I've ever had. Reason enough.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: wienermobile

                    Agreed.

                    And I voted based on what places I would recommend to an out of towner.

                    1. re: wienermobile

                      Ding! Ding! Ding!! Every restaurant has it's strong and weak dishes... I LOVE Langer's Pastrami, Corned Beef and Fries... In fact, the day we returned from our honeymoon, after eating at fabulous places in Seattle, Portland and Vancouver... the first place we headed when we returned 'home' was Langers... For me, Langers is one of the things that exemplifies why I love the food in this city... The people at Langer give a damn... and have for GENERATIONS... not only when their are 'hot'...

                      --Dommy!

                    2. they make great chopped liver, too.

                      1. What three things do the following places have in common?

                        * Pizzeria Mozza
                        * Bay Cities Deli
                        * Umami Burger
                        * Father's Office
                        * Santouka
                        * Park's BBQ
                        * Mastro's
                        * Torihei

                        Answers:

                        a. They're all in the Chowhound Poll Top 25.
                        b. When they get mentioned on Chowhound, it's more than likely we're talking about one dish.
                        c. They all have smaller menus than Langer's.

                        So why not complain about them?

                        2 Replies
                          1. re: maxzook

                            But we are for example not talking about only one pizza at Pizzeria Mozza being good. When you read anything about Langers on this board it is always about just one sandwich and hardly anything else whereas Mozza gets good remarks for pretty much all of their different pizzas.

                          2. This year especially, going to a restaurant because you knew you wanted to eat a particular dish was WAY more relevant than going to a restaurant for some wholistically great experience. I think the way the survey ended up reflected that pretty nicely, a sign of the times.