HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >

Discussion

Review: Langer's Delicatessan - Los Angeles

Pictures can be viewed at:

http://tnt-adventures.blogspot.com/

Situated across the street from MacArthur Park, you don't really want to cruise the streets at night or hang out here too long. But step inside and it's a whole different world with a nostalgic feel of a mom and pop coffeeshop back in the 60s, but more on a larger scale with about 7-8 cooks behind the counter, piling on the meat on top of the sliced breads. And many, many waiters and waitresses running around the restaurant to serve the hungry customers.

Langer's is always crowded, especially during lunch time. Lines out the door is pretty common. The huge menu could get overwhelming with different selections of sandwiches, steaks, and salads. Even grilled liver is on the menu if you dare try. But whenever I come here, I just order their most popular item: #19.

Pastrami sandwich with swiss cheese, cole slaw, and Russian style dressing served on rye bread (14.95
)The outer crust of the rye bread is crispy while the inner part of the bread is quite soft. I love sinking my teeth into the generous portion of the smokey flavored pastrami and swiss cheese. I would think the cole slaw would come as a side, but piled atop of the pastrami just completes this delicious sandwich altogether. Every bite is scrumptious!

The famous #19 pastrami sandwich is a pricey $14.95 but really worth it for the hefty pile of meat. I wouldn't share this sandwich with anyone, don't want to be giving death stares at each other. This delicatessen is a place worth coming back to over and over again. Langer's is notably THE place for the pastrami sandwich in the West Coast; Katz's being THE place in the East. I would say that Langer's beats Katz's in the battle of East coast and West coast. (The parking lot is on 7th Street and Westlake. Get your parking ticket stamped for a 1 hour validation).

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
Posting Guidelines | FAQs | Feedback
Cancel
  1. Now, now, Langer's may be good, but not the only great corned beef and pastrami in the LA area. Have you ever had a pastrami sandwich at Tommy Pastrami's? I ate at the Huntington Beach location and the meat was delicious, the bread freshly baked, and the prices reasonable. Trust me on this, my grandfather ran a Bronx eatery.

    10 Replies
    1. re: Discerning1

      Discerning1 - I have been to Tommy Pastrami's in HB and other locations. I'll agree with you that Tommy Pastrami's is good, but doesn't compare to Langer's.

      1. re: Discerning1

        It's an apples-and-oranges comparison that has tied Chowhounds into knots.

        There are two kinds of pastrami: the (relatively) lean, dense, dry Jewish deli pastrami of which Langer's is the master, and the fatty, chewy, moist pastrami served on hoagie rolls at places like Johnnie's and the Hat. IMHO, the best of the latter can be found at the Oinkster in Eagle Rock.

        The two styles are very different, each is very good in its own way. I consider myself fortunate to live in a city that has both.

        -----
        Oinkster
        2005 Colorado Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90041

        The Hat
        491 N Lake Ave, Pasadena, CA 91101

        Johnnie's Pastrami
        4017 Sepulveda Blvd, Culver City, CA 90230

        The Hat
        5505 Rosemead Blvd, Temple City, CA 91780

        1. re: maxzook

          Linking ...

          -----
          Oinkster
          2005 Colorado Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90041

          The Hat
          491 N Lake Ave, Pasadena, CA 91101

          The Hat
          5505 Rosemead Blvd, Temple City, CA 91780

          1. re: maxzook

            I love Oinkster's pastrami (though not as much as Langer's), but recently Oinkster seems to be in a downward spiral. The last time I was there (in June) the pastrami was less that stellar and the roll had a flavor and texture that could be confused with post-consumer waste.

            1. re: Peripatetic

              Funny, but I had the opposite Oinkster experience this past Friday - and I'm no Oinkster fan.

              But for the first time, everything came together. Place was packed, nice vibe throughout, the line moved quickly, and the order takers had their act down. Sandwiches arrived without much delay.

              It's still not Langer's by any means, but for the FIRST time I thought the Pastrami at Oinkster was pretty good. Fries were great and son loved his burger.

              I wouldn't say I'm a fan, but I guess I'm not as much of a detractor. At least for now.

              -----
              Oinkster
              2005 Colorado Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90041

              1. re: Briggs

                I'm still an Oinkster fan, but a disillusioned one. I used to go at least once a month. Your report doesn't surprise me -- their problem seems to be consistency, not quality, so they still have good days. It's just that recently the good days have been fewer and the off-days have been really off.

            2. re: maxzook

              Two other major differences, Max. The corn rye bread used at Langers, and the dipping of the french roll in juices at The Hat, Johnnie's, etc.

              1. re: maxzook

                Actually, Oinksters pastrami (the meat) is modeled after Langer's, not Tommys, The Hat, Johnnie's, ad nauseum...

                -----
                Oinkster
                2005 Colorado Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90041

                1. re: PommeDeGuerre

                  A swing and a miss.

                  1. re: JAB

                    For some of us, yes.

            3. Katz's rye bread is not even close to that of Langers'. Katz's rye is almost a Wonder Bread, pasturized rye. The pastrami, however, is comparable.

              2 Replies
              1. re: BigGreener

                Agreed. The pastrami is equal although I prefer the dimensions at Langers. But the bread at Langers is far, far superior.

                1. re: JudiAU

                  I suggest trying Katz's Russian dressing. It destroys that nasty 1000 Island they have at Langer's. All in all, the meat is very close. I would give a slight edge to Katz's because of the other delicious options such as the Brisket, Corned Beef and Hot Dogs are also top notch. Also the mustard at Katz is far superior as well for the pastrami purists.

                  I am dreaming about that Russian dressing at Katz's though. : (

              2. Oy, your review give me mishigas!

                1) Langer's closes at 4pm so even in the bleakest of dreary winter afternoons there's no nighttime pastrami.
                2) The meat at Langer's is generally considered to be adequately portioned, not generously portioned. "Hefty pile of meat" is more evocative of the Carnegie behemoth than the much more demure Langers sandwich.
                3) In the two dozen or so times I've eaten there, I have never seen a line out the door.
                4) #19 is blasphemous! Milchig on your fleishig? What's to stop the mayo and white bread from coming next? Oy gevalt! :)

                Mr Taster

                43 Replies
                1. re: Mr Taster

                  "3) In the two dozen or so times I've eaten there, I have never seen a line out the door."

                  Try coming between 11:30 and 1. You'll see the line with velvet rope now. (No arguments with your other points)

                  1. re: Briggs

                    I've only been there for a weekday lunch twice, and both times there was no line, no velvet rope... (velvet rope? really?)

                    Also, if I may make a point on my own point, mayo in the cole slaw means that technically the #19 is implicitly violating another one of the Hallowed Hallmarks of Ashkenazic Cured Deli Meats.

                    By the way, I am saying this tongue-in-cheek, but I do wish that Langer's would pimp their awesome, plain pastrami sandwich first, and allow people to come to the #19 (or other modifications, blasphemous or not) only after they've learned to appreciate the pastrami minimally adorned. Diving into the #19 without first having a regular pastrami sandwich the way our New York Jewish forebears intended (with just a dab of Gulden) diminishes one's capacity to appreciate the perfection of the pastrami itself.

                    So please, Langer's newbies, eat the plain pastrami sandwich first. Love it. Appreciate it. Then move on to the #19 (or don't, if you prefer, as I do as well as generations of eastern European Jews who died to bring you such deliciousness. A shonda it is!)

                    How's that for a schmear of Jewish guilt?

                    Mr Taster

                    1. re: Mr Taster

                      Thank God I'm an Atheist...

                      1. re: Servorg

                        Oy gevalt, me too, Servorg!

                      2. re: Mr Taster

                        If it makes you feel better, I eat all the pastrami that falls out of the sandwich first, so technically it's unadorned...

                        1. re: Mr Taster

                          "mayo in the cole slaw means that technically the #19 is implicitly violating another one of the Hallowed Hallmarks of Ashkenazic Cured Deli Meats." Yes, but not the dietary laws, since mayonnaise has no dairy in it, IF it's properly made - Hellman's did after all originate in a NY deli. As the only Jews in my family are ancestral to the women I've married (Yes! All of them!) I can't speak of guilt or innocence, at least along those lines, but I would not object to a dab of mayonnaise on my otherwise pure pastrami sandwich. And yet although I've been known to put mayo on any sandwich that didn't feature peanut butter, I don't feel my usual NEED for it on Langer's pastrami. The meat itself is so succulent, so rich, so tender yet assertive, that anything but a stoutly garlicked homemade mayonnaise would just get lost in the shuffle. For once, mustard is enough.

                          1. re: Will Owen

                            >> Yes, but not the dietary laws, since mayonnaise has no dairy in it,

                            Ah, I am glad that you noticed how I crafted that sentence to evoke the spirit of My People's Dietary Customs without invoking any laws :)

                            Mr Taster

                            1. re: Mr Taster

                              Who cares, eat a sandwich anyway you desire.

                              1. re: reality check

                                Indeed, my tongue is beholden to nothing but what it finds delicious.

                                1. re: PommeDeGuerre

                                  Agreed. But there are historic, cultural and religious reasons why food customs develop in a particular manner, whether it's pastrami or Irish soda bread or stinky tofu. My point was to emphasize the understanding of what makes Langer's pastrami itself so great. (You're there first and foremost for the pastrami, right? Not the swiss cheese, the thousand island dressing or the cole slaw? Because if you are there for those things, my point is not valid). If after trying the pastrami sandwich in its purest form you prefer to gild the lily, then that's certainly your perogative. I just think that Norm Langer is doing a disservice to pastrami newbies by pimping the tarted up #19 concoction to people with no real understanding of what makes his pastrami better than virtually anywhere else.

                                  Mr Taster

                                  1. re: Mr Taster

                                    "But there are historic, cultural and religious reasons that food customs developed in a certain way..."

                                    All of which are deserving of less than a moments notice and consideration on the local board of a site devoted to delicious food and personal taste.

                                    1. re: Servorg

                                      What's irrelevant is that I horribly misspelled prerogative. Food and culture go hand in hand... "personal taste" is not an island. Unless you're developing completely new flavor compounds in a space lab somewhere, you have developed your personal tastes based on the options that have been presented to you, and those options have been determined entirely by the culture, history and religions of the people who developed them.

                                      Mr Taster

                                      1. re: Mr Taster

                                        I try not to let superstition and ignorance rule my personal taste.

                                        1. re: Servorg

                                          OK, now THAT statement is irrelevant! :)

                                          Mr Taster

                                          1. re: Mr Taster

                                            No more irrelevant than letting 2000 year old religious dietary "laws" influence ones taste in food.

                                            1. re: Servorg

                                              Jesus likely followed those dietary laws, so I think they're a little older than 2000 years! But that, as you say, is irrelevant.

                                              Like it or not, you can't separate the religion from the culture and the resulting food... they are inexorably intertwined. Whether you accept it not, that pastrami is the end result of a long storied history of Jewish (and non-Jewish) culture in which ancient dietary customs and laws contributed, in some part, to mold that very thing you enjoy. It doesn't mean you can't enjoy a Langer's pastrami sandwich slathered with Russian dressing, cream cheese, halvah, chocolate sauce or whatever you choose to schmear all over it. And I'm not saying that you shouldn't (I might have before, but not anymore).

                                              What I am saying is that appreciation of sublime simplicity is a lost art and I encourage people to tread these waters gingerly before diving head first into a pool of Russian dressing, cheese and coleslaw. If nothing else, it will give newbies a frame of reference as to why the pastrami is so divine, other than "everyone on Yelp says so."

                                              Mr Taster

                                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                                As also a Jew I agree with you Mr Taster. With pastrami the simpler the better. I like my cole slaw on the side as a side munch to contrast the saltiness of the pastrami. Also for the record Kosher Laws go back more like 3,000 years not 2,000.

                                                1. re: Mr Taster

                                                  When one invokes superstition (and the contrived attempt to control others using mythology and words like "culture") to convince me that one taste is better than another, I recall why my food selection is informed by my own taste buds, and not the meaningless stories that surround and flow from religious dogma.

                                                  1. re: Servorg

                                                    From one atheist to another, I think you've entirely missed the point.

                                                    Mr Taster

                                      2. re: Mr Taster

                                        Culture is being recrafted every day. Los Angeles is a primary example of that.

                              2. re: Mr Taster

                                We're, historically, always up for a good debate but I know many an Ashkenazic who would NEVER think of having a pastrami sandwich without coleslaw and russian dressing...forget the cheese.
                                Me included.

                              3. re: Briggs

                                For what it's worth, my dad and I were there for lunch this past Saturday a little before noon and we got a seat right away. When we left about 40 minutes later there were only two parties waiting but room at the counter and some tables were being cleared.

                                Bread, meat and some mustard is all I need on my sandwich. Well maybe a few bites of pickle and wash it down with some soda.

                                1. re: Jase

                                  "Saturday a little before noon and we got a seat right away"

                                  Try during a weekday after 12 noon or so and see if this holds true.

                                  1. re: Briggs

                                    *shrug* just a data point I was throwing out since you didn't specify day of the week. I almost can never make it over there during the weekday. So good to know if I am in the area during the week that the window you specified is bad.

                                    Now that I think about it though, I must have gotten lucky a couple of months back. I was there on a weekday and walked in about 11:30 and got seated no problem at the counter. When I left at noon there were plenty of tables, counter seats and no lines.

                              4. re: Mr Taster

                                "Milchig on your fleishig? What's to stop the mayo and white bread from coming next?"

                                I agree! As far as I'm concerned Russian dressing IS mayonnaise!!

                                1. re: Mr Taster

                                  Mr Taster, you gave me my first laugh of the day. I really enjoyed your comments.........

                                  1. re: Mr Taster

                                    Mr Taster: Why is the #19 blasphemous? It's a Reuben?
                                    I was in LA for the weekend but too busy to try Langers or The Hat ( I was in Altadena)
                                    I am a NYC boy and a big fan of Katz's, 2nd Ave Deli and Sarge's in that order. Next time I am in LA I am taking a pastrami tour.

                                    1. re: Motosport

                                      I think it's because it has meat and dairy together, which I believe is against Jewish law/tradition. And I also think because some people believe a pure pastrami sandwich should just be pastrami on rye with a bit of mustard.

                                      I think.

                                      1. re: Motosport

                                        I don't believe that the #19 is a Reuben since it has coleslaw and not sauerkraut.

                                        1. re: Servorg

                                          The #44 is their Reuben, HOT PASTRAMI, Sauerkraut and Nippy Cheese Grilled on Rye

                                          1. re: wienermobile

                                            Which of course, is not a Reuben (corned beef); it's a Rachel:

                                            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reuben_s...

                                            1. re: maxzook

                                              Which goes to show you that the #19 is blasphemous not only to pastrami, but to reubens as well :)

                                              Mr Taster

                                              1. re: maxzook

                                                Maybe we can call it a Rucchel?

                                            2. re: Servorg

                                              I stand corrected. Many times I put just a bit of cole slaw and Russian dressing on my hot pastrami on Rye. Slathered in deli mustard of course.
                                              I'll pass on the swiss cheese. 2nd Av Deli is Kosher thus no swiss cheese or egg cream. I just get a nice chocolate soda.

                                              1. re: Motosport

                                                I like mine the same way. At Junior's Deli on Westwood Blvd. in WLA I think they call that one the "Emmy" and it is delicious. If you ever make it out to the SFV to Brent's Deli they have a fantastic Reuben with their "black pastrami" and great rye bread.

                                                1. re: Motosport

                                                  One other thought. In Santa Monica on Montana is a place called R+D Kitchen (which is one of the Hillstone Group's places who brought us Houston's and Bandera as well). They have sandwich called a "Reubenesque" which has some of the most tender and delicious corned beef I've ever had with cole slaw on a great thin corn rye. It's a great sandwich.

                                                  -----
                                                  R+D Kitchen
                                                  1323 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403

                                            3. re: Mr Taster

                                              "What's to stop the mayo and white bread from coming next?"

                                              My late friend Joe Hacker (may he rest in peace), as good a Jew as any and probably better than most, once surprised me -- you might say shocked me -- by putting mayo and sliced tomatoes on a pastrami sandwich he made. But in the pilpul following the shock, he explained it this way: "Look," he said, "you love a nice BLT, right?" No question, of course, who doesn't? "And a BLT is made with smoked meat, with mayo and sliced tomato, right?" Who could disagree? "And so," he concluded, "What could be bad about mayo and sliced tomatoes with another kind of smoked meat?" And you know what? He was absolutely right. (He drew the line at Wonder Bread, through -- he made his PLT with mayo on a good sourdough, the way God commanded on Mt. Sinai.)

                                              This is not to say that in Joe's memory I ALWAYS eat my pastrami with mayo and sliced tomatoes -- but I do sometimes, without shame and without worrying about the traditions of my people. Joe WAS my people.

                                              Which brings us back to Langer's, where I would never order pastrami with mayo or sliced tomatoes. Like many here I go the pure route: pastrami. rye. Gulden's. BUT! BUT! I order slaw with it, and a little bowl of the Russian dressing on the side, and sometimes I'll put a little slaw on a bite, and sometimes I'll dip a bite into the Russian, and sometimes I'll take a bite pure, and sometimes I'll mix 'n' match. Trust me: Joe approves.

                                              1. re: ozhead

                                                OY!!!

                                                1. re: Motosport

                                                  Gevalt!!!

                                                2. re: ozhead

                                                  Dear Ozhead, would you call yourself a trifle self-indulgent??

                                                  1. re: buhhh

                                                    Well sure. Wouldn't you?

                                                    1. re: ozhead

                                                      No one enjoys my self- indulgences more than I do...(and I hardly thought your post was even close to being overly self-indulgent when it comes to this board) ;-D>

                                                      1. re: ozhead

                                                        Ozhead, indubidably(sic)!!! I was just being mock prim.

                                                3. FYI. The drive-up service works well. Order by phone/fax then drive-up. They look for your car & bring out food & settle bill. They instructed us to call 20mins for a 10+ sandwich order.

                                                  1. As a Bronxite visiting family in LA I had to try Langer's pastrami. I figured there is no way any place in LA could possibly have a better more iconic pastrami sandwich than Katz's,. I've eaten at Katz's many dozens of times. Here's my verdict. The level of spicing and the strength of the flavor is very different than Katz's. Katz's has a stronger flavored rub. I did enjoy the sandwich a lot. I should also note that for the sake of purity I did have it sans coleslaw, NY style, on rye with a nice slather of brown mustard. Because of the very different flavors I can't say one is better. I'll just say that as far a quality, tenderness, curing, sufficient/insufficient level of fat and preparation Langer's pastrami is very, very good and on these measures the equal of Katz's. The bread however is unique and extremely good. It adds a great deal to the sandwich. It would be awesome indeed if Katz's had bread that good.

                                                    20 Replies
                                                    1. re: johnindabronx

                                                      Your experience almost exactly parallels mine from nearly six years ago.

                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/65903

                                                      Mr Taster

                                                      1. re: johnindabronx

                                                        Mad props to a New Yorker on extolling the virtues of a West Coast pastrami!

                                                        1. re: johnindabronx

                                                          You ordered it the right way. Weird signage and menu prompting aside, few people on chowhound promote "the 19."

                                                          1. re: JudiAU

                                                            JudiAU, I must respectfully disagree... as one in this forum who has been relentlessly defending the honor of the pure, unadorned (i.e. Guldens-only) Langers pastrami sandwich against the torrential downpour of swiss cheese, coleslaw and Russian dressing for perhaps 7-8 years, from my perspective the default sandwich for LA Chowhounds has always been the #19.

                                                            However, I do see positive changes in the last 8 years in that there do seem to be more people these days trying and subsequently espousing the virtues of the unadorned sandwich... whereas 8 years ago, it was me screaming into the void.

                                                            So, progress.

                                                            Mr Taster

                                                            1. re: Mr Taster

                                                              The plain hot pastrami on rye is all I've ever ordered, and will continue that way unless something compels me otherwise.

                                                              1. re: taiwanesesmalleats

                                                                Ha, great to know, taiwanxiaochi! Including you and my wife, that makes 2 on the Taiwanese team for the unadorned pastrami sandwich :)

                                                                Mr Taster

                                                                1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                  I will confess I once ordered the coleslaw on the side. Just didn't do it for me. Fool me once...

                                                                  1. re: taiwanesesmalleats

                                                                    Why eat it on the side? The point of the coleslaw is to add this refreshing textural contrast to the pastrami IMHO

                                                                    #19 = synergistic sandwich, whole > sum of parts

                                                                    1. re: ns1

                                                                      Funny, ns1. I am not anti-coleslaw, and I can absolutely see how one could enjoy a refreshing contrast to the richness of the pastrami... in moderation (i.e. on the side). Not in every. single. bite. The whole reason the pastrami is so great is precisely because of the richness and texture. Why mitigate the very characteristics that make the pastrami so unique and desirable in the first place?

                                                                      1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                        cuz for me the pastrami is rich and hearty enough to cut through EVERYTHING so every single bite is glorious perfection with a little bit of rye, pastrami, cole slaw, and russian dressing. This is what I like MOST about langers, that everything is done so evenly and perfect (WRT the #19). Also, I get enough plain bits when they drop out of the sandwich :)

                                                                        I want a #19 now.

                                                                        1. re: ns1

                                                                          Too much of the same thing can diminish the taste of anything, no matter how good. So a little variety really is the spice of life. A 19 and a plain split between two people (or "split" between one in my case...lol) is never a bad way to go.

                                                                          1. re: Servorg

                                                                            the irony is that I'm usually a purist WRT food.

                                                                          2. re: ns1

                                                                            Servorg, agreed re: too much of a good thing. However, your argument presupposes that a full plain Langer's sandwich is too much of said good thing. I emphatically disagree!

                                                                            Since the sandwich is actually quite modest in proportion (particularly when compared to comparable NYC behemoths), I certainly do not find that a Langer's pastrami-only sandwich is excessive in any regard. In fact, it's the #19 that's excessive, by its very "gilded lily" nature!

                                                                            Mr Taster

                                                                2. re: Mr Taster

                                                                  Nora Ephron, writing in The New Yorker, about the plain pastrami sandwich at Langer's:

                                                                  "The hot pastrami sandwich served at Langer's Delicatessen in downtown Los Angeles is the finest hot pastrami sandwich in the world. This is not just my opinion, although most people who know about Langer's will simply say it's the finest hot pastrami sandwich in Los Angeles because they don't dare to claim that something like a hot pastrami sandwich could possibly be the best version of itself in a city where until recently you couldn't get anything resembling a New York bagel, and the only reason you can get one now is that New York bagels have deteriorated.
                                                                  . . . .
                                                                  The resulting sandwich, slathered with Gulden's mustard, is an exquisite combination of textures and tastes. It's soft but crispy, tender but chewy, peppery but sour, smoky but tangy. It's a symphony orchestra, different instruments brought together to play one perfect chord. It ... is, in short, a work of art"

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

                                                                  1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                    Sorry Mr. Taster. I should have said "the people on chowhound I listen to" =)

                                                                    The first time I went to Langer's I KNEW not to get the #19 and I've never looked back.

                                                                  2. re: JudiAU

                                                                    the #19 is awesome.

                                                                  3. re: johnindabronx

                                                                    I lived in NYC for over a decade and I think your verdict is spot on. The only place I remember that gave either Langer's or Katz a run for their money was Pastrami King when it was still in Kew Gardens.

                                                                    1. re: johnindabronx

                                                                      Agree. NYer here, been to both Katz's and Langer's, and Langer's wins by more than a nose. (So does their never-mentioned stuffed derma, a treat). But can't abide the Russian dressing on the meat. Feh!

                                                                      1. re: addictedtolunch

                                                                        Really, you liked their Kishka? I remember it as being dry as if it had been over microwaved.

                                                                        1. re: JAB

                                                                          Maybe yours was from "the end of the tray".Mine was pretty juicy. More importantly, nowadays everywhere you go it is almost a paste-no texture at all. The kishka at Langer's felt right in the mouth.

                                                                    2. I wish I ate pastrami so I could understand why this seemingly mediocre restaurant is so esteemed.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: sushigirlie

                                                                        So eat pastrami then and find out :-)

                                                                      2. There is no line out the door at Langer's because the line is a block away at the parking lot.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: lad1818

                                                                          ... or you could call ahead and order, then get your sandwich via their curbside service...

                                                                          1. re: J.L.

                                                                            I haven't been inside Langer's for years, because I get curbside pickup and eat the pastrami with my fingers, curbside, a few blocks away. I carry napkins and wet wipes in the car for cleanup, although a working hose would do more to qualify me for an "A" card in the front window. Langer's juicy, luscious pastrami is better than any I knew when I lived in Chicago and Miami -- better, in fact, than any in my experience except at the defunct Pastrami King on Queens Boulevard in Kew Gardens.

                                                                            -Harry

                                                                        2. This is written with a huge IMHO in front of. l am an east coast guy, having my pastrami habit formed in New York, New Jersey, and Philadelphia. One of my major life missions was to eat the best pastrami at the best places l could ever find. Again please note the previous disclaimer.
                                                                          Last weekend while visiting my daughter in Los Angeles, we made sure we tried Langer's. As always in my evaluations ordered a basic hot pastrami , cole slaw and Russian dressing on the side, well here goes.
                                                                          Bread, always lauded in reviews, was puffy non sourdough, non jewish rye, not what l like
                                                                          Meat, Wow, how brutal, very small cold slices from the small end, dry as stone, almost all
                                                                          was left by me. Either they had a bad day with me or you guys have a different way
                                                                          of gauging quality. Thank God they gave a portion that was less than half a Katz's sandwich or more would have been chucked.
                                                                          Egg cream, weak not enough syrup or milk.
                                                                          Service, perfect, very nice, helpful, and competent

                                                                          l rest my case, for your comparison of what l enjoyed, the perfect two were Pastrami King in midtown NY a few decades ago, and Schwartz's smoked meats in Montreal everytime

                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                            "Meat, Wow, how brutal, very small cold slices from the small end, dry as stone, almost all
                                                                            was left by me. Either they had a bad day with me or you guys have a different way
                                                                            of gauging quality"

                                                                            i think the pictures are pretty self explanatory. did it look like the pictures? if not you got hosed. i've never had cold dry pastrami from Langers.

                                                                            Not saying your review aint justified but you probably got hosed.

                                                                            1. re: ns1

                                                                              I've gotten luke warm pastrami at Langers before. It wouldn't surprise me if they did serve up a cold sandwich once in awhile.

                                                                              1. re: ns1

                                                                                However: "Bread, always lauded in reviews, was puffy non sourdough, non jewish rye, not what l like" What? I cannot relate to that at all. Weird.

                                                                                1. re: Servorg

                                                                                  Puffy crumb, yes, almost cake-like, but in tandem with the crunchy crust it's rye-bread heaven, even for those of us who are generally lukewarm to rye bread. Poor Delucacheesemonger had the disastrous luck to be the one guy in maybe thousands to get a lousy sandwich from Langer's … and to come all the way from NY for it. I'm sure a properly-voiced complaint would have gotten him an improved sandwich, though if he doesn't like the bread I'm not sure what would please him.

                                                                                  1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                    You can buy the rye by the loaf at Langers -- but if you're smart you'll go to the source, where it's considerably cheaper: Bea's Bakery, near the intersection of Reseda Bv. and Ventura Bv.

                                                                                    -----
                                                                                    Bea's Bakery
                                                                                    18450 Clark St, Tarzana, CA 91356

                                                                                    1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                      I had a bad Langer's sandwich last week. The bread was fantastic as always but the pastrami was not. It was dry and lean. I always order the plain pastrami on rye. The meat was bad enough that I took some of my brother's coleslaw and put it in the sandwich. We do curbside pickup from Langers about once every 2 months. The sandwiches are usually very good but there is more variation in meat quality the past couple years than there was before. I never know if I'm going to get a good sandwich or a great sandwich. I would like to expect great pastrami every time. Now I can only count on the bread being great.

                                                                                      1. re: Wolfgang

                                                                                        The only time I've ever tasted bad pastrami at Langer's is when my sister specifically requested her pastrami lean (at a surcharge of a few extra dollars). It was dry and so much less flavorful than the rest of our sandwiches.

                                                                                        Mr Taster

                                                                                2. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                                  I am sorry to hear your experience was less than stellar. I was just there today with a client from out-of-town. His first visit and he had the #19, while I had my usual #1. Both were outstanding melds of meat and bread. While Schwartz's smoked meat is wonderful for what it is, it is not what I (or most people in Montreal, for that matter) would call "pastrami."

                                                                                3. Was there today for a company lunch.

                                                                                  I ordered the straight pastrami on rye, my bosses ordered the #19, and our secretary ordered a green salad and a baked potato. (Vegetarian/gluten intolerant.)

                                                                                  The sandwiches were outstanding on all counts. Perhaps the pastrami wasn't quite hot, but it was warm, juicy and succulent. One of my bosses grew up in LA and had never even heard of Langer's. He didn't like the neighborhood. He balked at the short line out the door. But by the end of the meal, he was talking about taking his kids and 90 year old mother there this weekend.

                                                                                  And while I would never recommend getting a salad at a Jewish deli, this one was actually surprisingly good looking... iceberg with a ton of brightly colored veggies (and a poorly garnished radish) decoratively layered on top. Cucumbers sliced on the bias lining one part of the bowl on the side.

                                                                                  Mr Taster

                                                                                  10 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                    OK,OK, l will give it another shot on my next trip

                                                                                    1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                                      We're not saying that your review was unjustified, it's just NOT the norm and incredibly unfortunate that you traveled so far to experience failure.

                                                                                      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                                        Did your sandwich look like this?

                                                                                        http://i364.photobucket.com/albums/oo...

                                                                                        http://i364.photobucket.com/albums/oo...

                                                                                        Those are both typical Langer's pastrami sandwiches, and are clearly not dried out end pieces-- and is very representative of the sandwich I got today, and have gotten many times in the past.. Don't hesitate to send it back next time if it's not up to snuff.

                                                                                        As for the bread, it's a corn rye which is more popular in these parts than it is back home. It's different for sure but I would never dream of classifying it as "puffy non Jewish/non-sourdough" (the sourdough comment came way out of left field for me... still not sure what you meant by that.)

                                                                                        From my perspective (also having grown up an east coast secular Jew with lots of pastrami notches on my belt) it's quite clearly identifiable as a nice rustic Jewish rye. It's leagues better than the stuff that Katz's uses, which is much more in the vein of what Jewish delis use... which is to say rye out of a plastic bag with a chewy, not crispy crust.

                                                                                        Mr Taster

                                                                                        1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                          Just to set the record straight (as they say), the rye that Langers uses for its sandwiches doesn't arrive at the deli with that crispy crust. Rather, they re-bake it briefly to crisp the crust -- a great move, if you ask me. As noted above, you can buy the same bread from Langers's purveyor, Bea's Bakery in Reseda, and crisp the crust in your own oven.

                                                                                          -----
                                                                                          Bea's Bakery
                                                                                          18450 Clark St, Tarzana, CA 91356

                                                                                          1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                            Foul play, MrTaster! The pictures are scrumptious. It's dinnertime. And I am 400 miles from that sandwich.

                                                                                            1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                              Those pictures remind it's been way too long since I last went for some hot pastrami on rye, with some hot mustard...

                                                                                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                If my sandwich was that picture, l highly doubt l would have posted anything other than delight. As l described it was as far from that px as a sandwich could get.. What l was trying to say regarding the bread, was the rye l got in the east where l was brought up , by numerous bakers was chewy, very firm crust that split rather than be bitten into more times than not, it was a very firm sourdough base, not SF sourdough but simply the bread was sour. The bread at Langers was, forgive the expression, a gentile or even German rye, nothing wrong with it, and for that style a good one, but not what l was raised on or what l like.

                                                                                                1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                                                  Now that you mention it I do now understand what you mean by the rye having a sourness to it. I haven't lived in the east coast since 1992 so quite frankly, I'd forgotten about it... for me, it's not a make-or-break characteristic, but certainly a distinct one.

                                                                                                  As for the distinction between Jewish vs. "gentile" style rye, I wonder how much of the distinction comes from east vs. west coast variations on a theme? I'd be very curious to hear your impressions of an LA vs NY best-of rye bread crawl.

                                                                                                  Mr Taster

                                                                                                  1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                    Frankly l have not had a rye l liked since three bakeries closed in early 90's, to me they are all meh now

                                                                                                2. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                  Pics are about how I remember it too.

                                                                                            2. News alert!

                                                                                              For discussion of best deli rye see Jane and Michael Stern's article in the latest April Saveur, page 34. They love Langer's, which is made by Bea's Bakery in Tarzana.

                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: Discerning1

                                                                                                If you ask Bea if they sell to Langer's - yes is the answer.

                                                                                                Oddly enough, if you call Fred's Bakery they all give the same answer.

                                                                                                Hmm...

                                                                                                1. re: foodiemahoodie

                                                                                                  (Also noted in another Langer's thread): I was there last weekend and asked the manager this specific question. He told me that Fred's is their current rye-bread purveyor, having replaced Bea's.

                                                                                              2. Here goes yet again. Went to Langer's again after prodding from this board as to very rare to get a bad #1 at Langers. Went with three other people, two from east coast, one from Los Angeles. We went on a weekday at 12:30 when the place was a zoo, so hoped and expected to see them at their game-on best. Sorry, the meat was warm this time but again quite dry and lean, as though it had never been steamed. From the looks it seemed to be made from single deckle brisket, not with double deckle and its wonderful fat layer in the center. It had a thin edge of fat on one side but looked like it tasted, lean. All with me agreed and again left most of the sandwich. Again the bread, condiments, and staff were the same as last year. Must be my bad, l have to give up.

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                                                  You've had a string of very bad luck! I've been to Langer's a dozen times now since moving here in 2007, and have yet to experience an off day. Always better than Katz or Pastrami King (when it was still in Kew Gardens).

                                                                                                  1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                                                    Did you send it back?

                                                                                                    On the one occasion that I was served a dry pastrami sandwich, I told the floor manager and he quickly and cheerfully replaced it for a perfect sandwich.

                                                                                                    Mr Taster

                                                                                                  2. I finally got to Langer's and understand the controversy on this discussion about the merits. As maxzook said a couple of years back, the kind of pastrami at Langer's is completely different than other pastrami.

                                                                                                    Having grown up on the kind of pastrami served at Junior's, I was surprised by the denser pastrami at Langer's. Not to say it wasn't good; it was just different.

                                                                                                    And I understand the discussion of the rye bread now too. I've never had a bread that was so crispy on the outside and, as another poster said, almost cake-like on the inside. I liked that too and it is just different.

                                                                                                    The coleslaw was good...not sweet. It was a nice accompaniment to the meat and bread.

                                                                                                    My server Ari was fabulous. He was helpful and wry and I loved his hipster retro deli-man look.

                                                                                                    9 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: Discerning1

                                                                                                      I believe Juniors and Langer's source their pastrami from the same place.

                                                                                                      1. re: foodiemahoodie

                                                                                                        Ahhhh, interesting. It must have been that the cut at Langer's was so thick and lean. What is the source of the pastrami?

                                                                                                        1. re: Discerning1

                                                                                                          RC Provisions supplies Langer's

                                                                                                          1. re: stuffed

                                                                                                            Thank you, stuffed. I have a theory to float:

                                                                                                            Take a look at the RC Provisions pastrami product list: rcprovision.com/products/pastrami. They make 5 kinds of pastrami, which sound distinct. Could it be that Langer's and other delis carry different RC pastrami products?

                                                                                                        2. re: foodiemahoodie

                                                                                                          Proving the importance of both nature and nurture.

                                                                                                          1. re: New Trial

                                                                                                            Langers was really disappointing. Schwartz in Montreal blows it away.

                                                                                                            1. re: quddous

                                                                                                              I am sorry you were disappointed in Langer's but, presuming you had the pastrami, the comparison to Schwartz's is not entirely apt. Montreal smoked meat is a different, albeit related, preparation than pastrami, often involving a different, albeit related, cut. Having tried both pastrami and smoked meat at numerous places, including Schwartz's, I can see the appeal to both but the bottom line for me is that I enjoy Schwart'z's but I crave Langer's [No. 1, no Russian dressing, on their fantastic rye bread with brown mustard].

                                                                                                              1. re: New Trial

                                                                                                                It might have been the sandwich I had - whichever is the most popular (#19? Not really sure). I am not talking about the taste of the meat but just the overall taste and texture of the sandwich. I just wasn't too impressed. I remember the sandwich being overly greasy too.

                                                                                                                1. re: quddous

                                                                                                                  I like the simpler No. 1 vs. No. 19 too. Langer's pastrami meat is so good and rich, it does not need the extra layer of fat, i.e., Swiss cheese, on it

                                                                                                      2. It is touching that we are still discussing Langer's after Nora Ephron's passing. I think she would be happy about it.

                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: Discerning1

                                                                                                          Was she a Langer's lover?

                                                                                                          1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                                                            She wrote a lovely piece for the New Yorker on Langer's: http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2010/0...

                                                                                                            1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                              Thanks...wonderful!

                                                                                                        2. Nora Ephron, writing in The New Yorker on Langer's Pastrami:

                                                                                                          The hot pastrami sandwich served at Langer's Delicatessen in downtown Los Angeles is the finest hot pastrami sandwich in the world. This is not just my opinion, although most people who know about Langer's will simply say it's the finest hot pastrami sandwich in Los Angeles because they don't dare to claim that something like a hot pastrami sandwich could possibly be the best version of itself in a city where until recently you couldn't get anything resembling a New York bagel, and the only reason you can get one now is that New York bagels have deteriorated.
                                                                                                          . . . .
                                                                                                          The resulting sandwich, slathered with Gulden's mustard, is an exquisite combination of textures and tastes. It's soft but crispy, tender but chewy, peppery but sour, smoky but tangy. It's a symphony orchestra, different instruments brought together to play one perfect chord. It ... is, in short, a work of art.

                                                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: wienermobile

                                                                                                            I was in NYC this weekend and tried Katz's pastrami on rye for the first time. I have to say I definitely vote for Langer's due to the bread. Based on memory of the meat itself, I think I tip it slightly in favor of Katz's but the rye bread at Langer's is the defining memory of eating the pastrami sandwich. Although the bread at Katz's is fine, as a whole, I prefer the sandwich at Langer's.

                                                                                                            1. re: taiwanesesmalleats

                                                                                                              "Although the bread at Katz's is fine"

                                                                                                              You're quite generous.

                                                                                                              1. re: ns1

                                                                                                                Well, I think I call it "fine" because the bread itself was identifiable as rye, relatively fresh, and did not disintegrate as I ate my sandwich. If any of those conditions were not met, I would've likely called it "bad". I also spied Alton Brown (my food hero) two tables over enjoying his time there so the experience could just be better in my mind than what it actually was. :P

                                                                                                              2. re: taiwanesesmalleats

                                                                                                                I did a 24 hour taste comparison circa ~2005? (wrote about it here, somewhere...) and came to precisely the same conclusion. I gave the slightest edge to the flavor of Katz's meat, but victory to Langer's sandwich as a whole. Now imagine Katz's pastrami on Langer's rye.... good lord.

                                                                                                                Mr Taster

                                                                                                                1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                  Here's how you could try that without going all the way to NYC.
                                                                                                                  http://katzsdelicatessen.com/shop?cat=3

                                                                                                                  1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                    "I did a 24 hour taste comparison circa ~2005? (wrote about it here, somewhere...) and came to precisely the same conclusion. I gave the slightest edge to the flavor of Katz's meat, but victory to Langer's sandwich as a whole. Now imagine Katz's pastrami on Langer's rye.... good lord."

                                                                                                                    +2, agreed on all counts.

                                                                                                                    "Here's how you could try that without going all the way to NYC.
                                                                                                                    http://katzsdelicatessen.com/shop?cat=3"

                                                                                                                    What's really sad is that I'd probably spend less getting it ordered and shipped here vs what I actually spent to go to Katz when I was in NYC.

                                                                                                              3. I ate at Langer's a few weekends back. Everything was as good as it's ever been. I was wondering if anybody knows whether the cutters weigh out the meat for each sandwich or whether they eyeball. My sandwich seemed a little on the light side. It's really nitpicking because they was more than enough meat for one sandwich it just seemed a little lighter than I've had in the past. In my picture it was a uniform 2 to 3 slices at every part of the sandwich. I'm wondering if maybe it was just the illusion of a smaller sandwich by not packing in more meat in the middle and leaving a smaller layer at the edges.

                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                9 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: js76wisco

                                                                                                                  That looks a bit anemic and dry. About 1/2 to 1/3 the size of a Katz's pastrami sandwich as long as we're comparing.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Porthos

                                                                                                                    Here is a Katz's pastrami photo from Yelp:

                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                    1. re: Porthos

                                                                                                                      That Katz's pastrami sandwich just doesn't look right without all the cole slaw, Russian dressing and Swiss cheese.

                                                                                                                      Mr Taster

                                                                                                                      1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                        I prefer it just pastrami, mustard, and rye anyways.

                                                                                                                        Plus, it has to be at least 3000 calories already. I have to always plan a later and lighter dinner when I have one of those things. Glutton that I am, I'm still full 7-8 hours later.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Porthos

                                                                                                                          Assuming you haven't read (or have forgotten) my 2010 comments on this very thread (and elsewhere on Chowhound, lo, these many years.

                                                                                                                          Mr Taster

                                                                                                                          1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                            What I do remember was more people saying Langers was flat out better and these days, even the die hards begrudgingly agree that the pastrami is "slightly" better at Katz's :)

                                                                                                                    2. re: Porthos

                                                                                                                      Yes you do get more meat at Katz's, but I find Langer's pastrami has a deeper, richer flavor and of course that amazing rye is on a whole other level. I have never had a dry sandwich at Langer's after 15+ years of eating there. I also found the coleslaw at Katz's to be watery and lifeless compared to Langer's.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Ernie

                                                                                                                        I never bought into the Langer's>Katz idea. I always thought the pastrami was easily superior at Katz's and that the bread was easily superior at Langer's. But then again, I only care about the pastrami with a nice swath of mustard. The rye at Katz's suffices for me and I even prefer it in a nostalgic sort of way.

                                                                                                                      2. re: Porthos

                                                                                                                        It did feel a bit anemic to me. The quality was excellent but still felt like I got a light sandwich. The picture below from Katz's looks like twice the meat.

                                                                                                                    3. Question - Has anyone here ever ordered it on a different bread? I love pastrami, but hate rye bread. At Brent's, I usually order mine on sourdough and I really like that. Would that work for Langer's? And please do not try to convince me to try the rye. I flat out hate the smell and taste of rye bread. And the seeds always look like bugs to me.

                                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: Jelly71

                                                                                                                        Yes, sometimes I get it on a Kaiser roll instead of rye and it is great that way too

                                                                                                                        1. re: Jelly71

                                                                                                                          One of my friends always gets the #1 on an onion roll at Langer's and is thrilled with the results. The rest of us just shake our heads in pity.

                                                                                                                          1. re: New Trial

                                                                                                                            Oooh, onion roll. I had never thought of that. It sounds delightful. I think I will make the trek over there at some point now to try this sandwich.

                                                                                                                          2. re: Jelly71

                                                                                                                            Sometimes at Langers, I ask them to do the #19 on an Onion Roll. Sinfully delicious. And when the Dr yells at my cholesterol, I ask them to do a #19 with turkey. Doesn't matter, it's still manna from heaven, especially with a dish of Langer's potato or macaroni salad! :-)

                                                                                                                            1. re: Jelly71

                                                                                                                              "And the seeds always look like bugs to me."
                                                                                                                              -------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                                              There are real bugs (microscopic) living in all of our eyebrows that are much scarier than the seeds in rye bread. Focus on that thought that for a moment, and suddenly rye seeds seem like superheroes...

                                                                                                                            2. There are only two delis in LA that have with very narrow half-Gaussian distributions of rating stars on an unnamed website, Langer's and Brent's (just the Northridge one). Interestingly, both distributions are uncannily similar! That's overall, of course, I'm guessing if they were stratified, Langer's would prevail in pastrami and rye bread categories. BTW, Katz's distribution is Gaussian too, but not nearly as narrow as Langer's & Brent's. So, who's king of delis? Assess the data & draw your own conclusions.......

                                                                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: bernardo

                                                                                                                                "Assess the data & draw your own conclusions......."

                                                                                                                                The only data assessment that counts for anything happens in my dental data processing intake center...the rest of it is just meaningless background noise.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                  1. So, among the three, what does your dental processing tell you?

                                                                                                                                  2. While undoubtedly effective, it's more efficient to decide a priori whether or not to bother performing dental processing. Sure, you can base your decision on hearsay, SIV or her ilk, or throw the dice. But in my experience, given a large enough sample size (>100 is optimum, 30 minimum), a narrow half Gaussian distribution is an extremely useful indicator of potential worthiness.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: bernardo

                                                                                                                                    Potential ain't nothing with out that first bite...and worthiness is definitely in the mouth of the bechewer...

                                                                                                                                    1. re: bernardo

                                                                                                                                      "1. So, among the three, what does your dental processing tell you?"

                                                                                                                                      Thanks to Langers I have no desire to go to Katz (again)

                                                                                                                                      1. re: ns1

                                                                                                                                        "I have no desire to go to Katz (again)"

                                                                                                                                        That line reminded me of this joke that has been making it's way around the net recently (again). Warning: Gentle (adult) humor ahead...

                                                                                                                                        http://www.ebaumsworld.com/jokes/read...

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                          Major LOL,thanks

                                                                                                                                2. To me, there is absolutely nothing complicated about the Katz-Langer's dichotomy.
                                                                                                                                  When in NY, go to Katz. When in LA, go to Langer's.
                                                                                                                                  It is great that both are on such a high level.

                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: Tripeler

                                                                                                                                    Truer words were never spoken - bi-coastal perfection.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Tripeler

                                                                                                                                      Ramen to that

                                                                                                                                      1. re: ns1

                                                                                                                                        Udon say... :)