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Nov 10, 2010 12:17 PM

Jeff's Gourmet Sausage Factory by Thi

On tomorrow's LA Times:

"The kosherizations range from the charmingly bizarre and pungent beef and chicken chorizo to the brilliant nondairy version of ranch sauce (for the chicken wings), a delightfully creamy fresh aioli."

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  1. It's easy to overlook the photo montage that goes along with the story:

    1. I was delighted to see the writer give due credit to Jeff's superb, melt-in-your-mouth pastrami sandwich. It's been my second favorite in LA (after Langer's) since I first tried it a couple of years ago.

      11 Replies
      1. re: Arthur

        For those that don't know, the writer is a long time LA Chowhound board contributor who got noticed via this site and his blog and hired by the LA Times. A good writer and a great Chowhound.

          1. re: RicRios

            I try not to admit to things (they seem to come back to bite you in the...well never mind where) but I was WLA in those days and in that thread. Thi is/was an original of rare and valued ability.

            1. re: Servorg

              Someone should move this to the Kosher Board.

              1. re: SIMIHOUND

                The linked review was geared to all LA Times readers, not just kosher ones. IMO there is likewise no reason to limit this thread's audience to followers of the Kosher Board. If someone wants to copy it there, fine. But Jeff's has developed a large non-kosher following and many of us would agree that it transcends the traditional limits of kosher cuisine, so this particular discussion most certainly deserves to remain here.

                1. re: Arthur

                  As someone who keeps it is my experience that the best kosher restaurants are ones that market to and attract the non-market customers - like Jeff's

        1. re: Arthur

          A brief note on this issue: this may be heresy, but I'm starting to think I actually (barely) prefer the Jeff's old-fashioned special pastrami (the non-daily one) to Langer's. But they're very, very different. It's probably just a matter of mood. They're both holy, anyway, and since this isn't a monotheistic pastrami church, we don't actually have to choose.

          Langer's is more carefully spiced, a little more evenly cut. Their bread is better, more profoundly crunchy, and as a gestalt, it's probably the better sandwich, by a narrow margin.

          But the Jeff's version is... god... it's *so* good, it's actually hard to describe. The two paragraphs in the article took me about half a day to write and I still feel that I basically failed the glory of this sandwich. First of all, the hunks are huge - weirdly shaped, chunky, deep pink *slabs*. They're *ribboned* with beautiful, dripping fat hunks. And they're more deeply meaty... they have a touch of that wild gamey tang of animal, animal, animal. It soaks in animal perfume.

          Langer's is more of a... finished cooked meat product, more about spicing wizardry. The Jeff's version is more about the intensification of the wild spirit of hoofy animal.

          I know I'm hyperbolic, but I took my very hyperbole-skpetical girlfriend and my very stoic, unhyperbolic math buddy there, and, well, I believe I caught my math buddy softly wiping tears out of his eyes.

          I love Jeff's when it's crowded.... it's such a Pico-Robertson *scene*. Reminds me that my favorite thing about Los Angeles is that it's basically 15 countries squeezed together, and you can go world-travelling in your car.

          Please: do not go and get the regular menu pastrami. It is no substitute. They are entirely different beasts. Different meat, different prep, different everything. If you are on a regular day, and you want some spice intensity, get the boerewors sausage. But it is worth tracking down. I am completely sure that half the people who read this will wait, make the trip, then be disappointed and call it inauthentic, they will complain about the crowds (massive) the seating (not much) and the service (punk, and friendly in a weirdly hyper-aggressive way), they will accuse me of overhyping and overselling, and I know that, on some level, I shouldn't talk this way, because people are always disappointed when they go and they don't have some auto-religious experience and I know I should qualify my excitement, but I am telling you now: it made me shiver with meaty joy, and it made me mumble and moan into my sandwich.

          Oh: don't get it to-go. They wrap it in aluminum foil and the rye bread loses it's crisp.

          1. re: Thi N.

            Oh: one way to put it is: Jeff's version really reminds me of really, really good barbecue - the kind that's so meat-purified that you don't want sauce - in a way that Langer's doesn't. And, in talking to Jeff in the interview, he mentioned that he had an intense love for Southern barbecue.

            You know, I typically have so much material from interviews that couldn't possibly fit in the article (I had 9 pages of eating notes and 7 pages of interview notes to squeeze into a 1 page article) that I wonder if I should, like, do a Commentary Track on the articles or something, somewhere on the internet. Would anybody read that, or is that just self-indulgent? I'd probably have to wrangle out legal details with my boss or something.

            But anyway: Langer's: gorgeous, glorious spicing, perfect sandwich gestalt. Jeff's: essence of meat, amplified. Both: wondrous.

            1. re: Thi N.

              wow, must try this out now. Call first to find out when they have it?

              Also, find out what's going on with Pho Minh! Don't you have Eric's contact info!?

              Pho Minh
              9646 Garvey Ave, South El Monte, CA 91733

              1. re: Thi N.

                i think that was one of your great tip-offs. been going to jeff's for years but never knew they could serve up such amazing pastrami, i also think it's as good as langer's and i like that the rye bread is grilled here at jeff's. but most will probably think it heresy to say that any other place in town makes a pastrami sandwich as good as langer's, much less a kosher joint (which most connotate with not the most tasty food), but jeff's is good.

                i also like jeff's very weird and uniquely spiced chili fries.

              2. re: Thi N.

                No disappointment here! I had it on Sunday and it was excellent--it has replaced Brent's as my second favorite pastrami in L.A. and has the advantage of being much closer. Langer's, however, remains my favorite (for me it wins on more than just the rye). I am eager to try some of Jeff's sausages next but, if the special pastrami is on the menu again, I fear I will be detoured. I just wish Jeff's had Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray Tonic to go with that wonderful pastrami.

            2. I actually like everything there except the sausages. : /

              4 Replies
              1. re: A5 KOBE

                Point made. I just wanted the kosher crowd to see the article. Can we double post?

                1. re: SIMIHOUND

                  You're welcome to start a new, heads-up post on the Kosher board with a link back to this discussion.

                  1. re: The Chowhound Team

                    No need. weinstein5 has already started a thread on the Kosher board about the article:

                    1. re: Arthur

                      I figured I would share the news -

              2. I like Jeff's a lot. I read in the article that they had a special pastrami that they only serve at special times. We have tried the regular pastrami, but it still wasn't like a good non-kosher one. Has anyone tried it?

                4 Replies
                1. re: paprkutr

                  They had it as a special maybe 3-4 weeks ago. I signed up for twitter just so I can be updated when they have it again. As I was eating it I called my brother and told him I was eating the second best kosher sandwich I'd ever had.
                  I don't particularly like the regular pastrami from them, I prefer the pastrami at Pico Kosher Deli down the block, but it's not close to the "sign-up-for-twitter-good" standard set by the Jeff's speciall.

                  Pico Kosher Deli
                  8826 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035

                    1. re: Thi N.

                      I agree with Thi I had the old fashioned yesterday and I told my friend at least ten times "best f'ing pastrami ever!"

                      1. re: Thi N.

                        Schwarma / falafel from Max's just outside D.C. Check the D.C. board for more info. Best middle eastern I've had period, kosher or non-kosher. In any case, both Max's and the Jeff's force a level of awareness where I think to myself while in the act of eating that "this is a special experience". Wrapped between some bread is the same kind of zen moment generally reserved for things like watching an all-time great athlete in their prime or interacting with an Einstein-like mind. Your appreciation for the moment requires no hindsight nor effort, simply existence because it comes to you. There just are no words better to describe the moment than "a special experience".
                        Now if I only I could find a top of the line kosher burger...

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