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Langer's vs. Oinkster (vs. Katz's)

I tried Langer's pastrami again last week for the first time since right when I moved here back in September. The sandwich looked divine. Like a perfect specimen of the NYC deli classic. Ordered it straight up on rye with mustard and nothing else. If put side by side next to Katz's (who imo makes the finest Pastrami in the world), they look very very similar...

Unfortunately, having recently visited NYC, the taste of Katz's was still fresh in mind. Honestly, Langer's is sorta bland in comparison. The rye bread was fantastic. The meat had a nice amount of fattiness to it... However, the flavor of the meat was lacking the complex, smokey characteristic that really makes Katz's sing. I still think it's a good sandwich, but to be honest, I think the flavor of Oinkster's pastrami is better than Langer's. Of course, Oinkster is far from traditional. It's not even served on Rye. And the bread it came upon fell apart half way through, but the meat itself has much more pronounced pastrami flavor that comes closer to pastrami bliss.

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Oinkster
2005 Colorado Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90041

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  1. I've had Katz and Langers pastrami on consecutive days and prefer Langers by a wide margin. If you factor in the atmosphere, it's Langers by a mile. I cant stand Katz's ordering system or service. I don't care for Oinkster at all.

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    Oinkster
    2005 Colorado Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90041

    2 Replies
    1. re: rednyellow

      I consider Langer's and Katz 1A & 1B, so I can see how one might slightly favor one than the other, but to say it isn't close pastrami wise, I don't agree with. The bread however at Langer's blows away the kind they use at Katz. And Carnegie Deli is a tourist trap, terrible pastrami.
      I go to Langers about 1x a month for my pastrami fix, and whenever I'm in NY I always make a stop at Katz. So enjoy both! And the ordering ticket system at Katz does suck. lol

      1. re: LakerFan

        "And the ordering ticket system at Katz does suck."

        It only sucks if you don't know how to work the system ;-)

    2. You will probably start another flame war here, as there are many, many threads on the pastrami at Langers and in LA in general. But finally, someone I agree with.

      I like Langer's pastrami, but it doesn't have the right texture to me. I grew up on Carnegie Deli in NYC and other delis in CT, and I prefer pastrami to not have the same texture as brisket.

      The Oinkster, however, does have the texture I crave, and it had delicious flavor. I found the cut to be a little too thick, though, making it harder to eat. My bread did not fall apart halfway through, but I would prefer Langers rye any day over a white roll. I did like the warm red cabbage and caramelized onions Oinkster put on it though, nice touch.

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      Oinkster
      2005 Colorado Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90041

       
      1. can we stop with the langers comparisons to katz or any other place? tons of threads about it already. we all know Langers is good. to some the best, to others 2nd best or 3rd best. but overall its a great sandwich and we need to stop with the debate. it will never end and there is no definitive winner. lets just be glad we have langers or oinkers here in LA to enjoy that can be compared to the famous Katz's...

        2 Replies
        1. re: samtron608

          I agree that we should just put a hold on this "vs" matter until a significant change has been reported.
          As far as I am concerned, in L A, pastrami fans are blessed to have Langers. If you go or are in the NY area, then Katz is it.

          1. re: selfportrait93

            Oh My Goodness. Who is this "we" you speak about? Will they let those of us that aren't "we" know when a significant change has been reported?

            I do not like the search engine here. I do like everything pastrami. Even if it makes me salivate reading about it.

            TC, Robin

        2. Here's my side by side comparison of Langers vs. Katz's from back in 2005. I also gave the edge to Katz's for flavor, but Langer's for the whole sandwich experience.

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

          Mr Taster

          1. FYI Chef Guerrero of the Oinkster apprenticed with Norm Langer at Langer's a few years ago in order to come up with his pastrami recipe.

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            Oinkster
            2005 Colorado Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90041

            7 Replies
            1. re: wienermobile

              just as an fyi, chef guerrero did NOT apprentice with Norm Langer. in fact, he has never worked at Langer's - but he has his own impressive resume nonetheless!

              1. re: seventycharger

                Are you sure? This is from the J. Gold's review of The Oinkster a few years ago "nobody thinks it odd that a famous chef might seek an apprenticeship with a revered deli counterman, in {Chef Guerrero} this case Norm Langer." and this from LA Foodie.com "And if you’re wondering why the pastrami is so good, consider that Guerrero interned with Al Langer solely to learn how to make the stuff as good as it can be made. "

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                Oinkster
                2005 Colorado Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90041

                1. re: wienermobile

                  I suspect that Jonathan G. stretched the definition of the word "apprenticeship" here. My guess is Guerrero showed up one afternoon and got permission to watch the counterman work the steamer and slice the pastrami. A true "apprentice" would have been washing the kitchen floors.

                  Langer's is a restaurant, not a medieval craftsmans' guild ;)

                  1. re: maxzook

                    It's pretty common to stage in a kitchen for a day or a week. The restaurant industry is pretty medieval that way. It's a great way to keep fresh and inspired.

                    1. re: AAQjr

                      True of a restaurant like MAX ... less true of a restaurant like Langer's (or for that matter, the Oinkster) where they would likely be seen as nuisances getting in the way of the kitchen line.

                      1. re: maxzook

                        True, but curing and cooking/steaming the pastrami won't be done during service. It'll be done during prep time, when ever that is for Langer's

                  2. re: wienermobile

                    Yes - I asked norm about this and he does recall him eating there a few times but never working there. I think Jonathan Gold was being metaphorical! The LAfoodie piece may have accidentally expanded on this errata.