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Any recommendations for NY-esque establishments in LA?

adrouault Jan 2, 2012 08:16 AM

I'm from NY, and I am pretty new to Los Angeles.
Does anyone know of any markets that can compare to Fairway, out here in LA?
Also, best deli on the west side?

  1. f
    Fru Jan 4, 2012 09:58 AM

    I know many people think Jr's is meh but it certainly has the atmosphere and variety. Plus, you get pickles, tomatoes and sauerkraut. This is the only deli I have ever gone to on the west side as that area is just too overwhelming for me, a SGV and SFV girl. What is it about Label's Table that is so much better to convince me to drive there rather than to Brent's?

    29 Replies
    1. re: Fru
      ellaystingray Jan 4, 2012 05:09 PM

      Fru, no need to drive over the hill for Label's, the OP wanted Westside rec's and they have a good pastrami. I noted above, I don't think Junior's is bad, just not New York-esque/New York quality. But totally serviceable and I do love the pickled goodies.

      1. re: ellaystingray
        Fru Jan 5, 2012 10:01 AM

        Don't get me wrong. I Just like to have a destination when I'm outside of my neighborhood. What is it about Label's that makes it "New York-esque/New York quality"?

        1. re: Fru
          ellaystingray Jan 5, 2012 01:34 PM

          I don't really think Label's is. I think we are trying to be very careful in our recs because New York has the best New York Deli's in the world and while there are things that get close here, it isn't the same. I mentioned Juniors in my original response as "not bad" (meaning I'll still go there sometimes) just help calibrate the OP for what she'll find. If you are comfortble with Junior's, no need to hunt down Label's unless you really love Pastrami which is what I think they do really well. Otherwise, you'll just be eating at another deli which does just fine food.

          1. re: ellaystingray
            Fru Jan 5, 2012 03:53 PM

            Well, being a lifelong eater of ok deli ( family originally from NY, me-I'm a California native) I've never had my socks knocked off until I went this summer to NY and had Katz's pastrami. I'm going to have to make the effort and try Langer's now. For me, their hours are a bit inconvenient...too bad they aren't open on Sunday!

            1. re: Fru
              wienermobile Jan 5, 2012 04:00 PM

              Langer's is a 10 out of 10. Worth the trip downtown. Many of my NYC friends think it's better than Katz's. For me Langer's never ever disappoints. Pastrami on rye heaven.

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

              1. re: wienermobile
                ellaystingray Jan 5, 2012 04:13 PM

                And to be clear, the OP asked for Westside recs. I do believe Langer's holds up to the best in country for Pastrami but not as a "New York" deli overall. And is also about a bazillion times better than Label's. Just to make sure everything is kosher. Hehe.

                1. re: wienermobile
                  wienermobile Jan 5, 2012 04:25 PM

                  A Langer's #19....

                  1. re: wienermobile
                    Servorg Jan 5, 2012 04:39 PM

                    I wonder if anyone here on the LA CH board ever ordered one of their Fresser's Specials? Someday when I'm feeling lucky I may give it a whirl and see how it is...

                    1. re: Servorg
                      wienermobile Jan 5, 2012 07:47 PM

                      FYI: Langer's #28 - FRESSER'S SPECIAL SANDWICH $25.95 Pastrami, Corned Beef, Tongue, Swiss Cheese and Turkey, Lettuce, Tomato and Russian Style Dressing. I've never had one, I'm just a pastrami guy.

                      1. re: wienermobile
                        Jase Jan 5, 2012 08:03 PM

                        I remember someone mentioning they get the special platter of pastrami that comes with chopped liver, swiss cheese and several sides. Has anyone gotten that lately? How big is it? Good deal? I like a liver pastrami combo once in a while.

                        1. re: Jase
                          wienermobile Jan 5, 2012 08:15 PM

                          This is what my son likes at Langer's-#6 - CHOPPED LIVER and PASTRAMI Russian Style Dressing on rye.

                          1. re: Jase
                            Melanie Wong Jan 6, 2012 11:54 PM

                            I have to say that Langer's chopped liver is awful. We couldn't eat it and our waiter was kind to take it off the bill.

                            The chocolate phosphate is also quite weak, won't order that again.

                            That said, can't say enough about the rye bread and the pastrami. We shared the #1, pastrami with coleslaw and Russian dressing. We got some extra dressing on the side too. After gulping one down, we got another.

                            My most frequently requested food item from anyone coming from LA has been Langer's pastrami and rye. But after finally eating it there in the restaurant itself, I didn't buy any to take home. I knew it could never compare to the peak experience of enjoying it on the spot with the fresh rye and hand-sliced (ask for it) pastrami.

                            I've always been a Katz's gal. But I've changed sides to the Langer's pastrami team.

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

                          2. re: wienermobile
                            westsidegal Jan 5, 2012 08:43 PM

                            swiss cheese on a deli meat sandwich?
                            definitely california not new york.

                            1. re: westsidegal
                              Arthur Jan 5, 2012 08:49 PM

                              "swiss cheese on a deli meat sandwich? definitely california not new york."

                              westsidegal, c'mon, you've never heard of a Reuben?


                              1. re: Arthur
                                westsidegal Jan 6, 2012 05:20 PM

                                i've heard of a Reuben.
                                something that is NOT classicnew york JEWISH deli food.

                                the first time i moved to california from new york, i met a CALIFORNIA jewish woman who professed to be "going kosher for passover."
                                she and her husband were making pastrami and cheese "sandwiches" on matzo.
                                i immediately called all my NY jewish friends and they thought that it was a hilarious example of how californians, even jewish californians, can't really understand Jewish food.

                                1. re: westsidegal
                                  Porthos Jan 6, 2012 08:24 PM

                                  Even in NY you have Jews who don't eat pork but have no problems with lobster...

                                  1. re: westsidegal
                                    Arthur Jan 7, 2012 12:59 AM

                                    westsidegal, sorry but that's just factually wrong. A Reuben most certainly falls within the ranks of classic New York Jewish deli food.

                                    I grew up in New York, and since my childhood in the 1960s I've seen Reubens at every single Jewish deli there except for those that are not just Jewish but kosher as well. I think it's safe to assume they were probably serving Reubens (as well as other cheese-topped sandwiches) at New York Jewish delis long before a single Jewish deli ever opened in California. The link I provided above even has a picture of a Reuben from NY's Katz's Delicatessen, universally regarded as one of the all-time standard bearers for Jewish delis worldwide.

                                    For better or worse, the vast majority of Jewish delis in this country are not kosher. That has been the case for a VERY long time, certainly my entire lifetime. Sheesh, you can even get BLTs and ham-and-cheese sandwiches at almost all of them. So the notion that cheese is taboo on NY Jewish deli-meat sandwiches is completely baseless.

                                    And if you are want to start comparing LA delis to NY kosher establishments, then not a single LA deli mentioned on this page so far qualifies, including Nate 'n Al's, which you recommended on top - and which serves a great Reuben.

                                    1. re: Arthur
                                      westsidegal Jan 7, 2012 03:18 PM

                                      the deli's that i grew up with (i'm older than you are) would not have served cheese and meat in the same sandwich.
                                      maybe it's the time thing.
                                      cheese on a meat sandwich was looked at as something one served to tourists.

                                      not because of kosher rules (i was not raised kosher), but the combination was never served at my home nor at the homes of any of my other jewish, non-kosher, neighbors. nor was this combination served at any of the neighborhood delis (i.e. delis that didn't have any tourist crowd at all).

                                      the luncheonettes, on the other hand, did serve meat and cheese together, but not the delis.

                                      1. re: westsidegal
                                        Servorg Jan 7, 2012 03:27 PM

                                        Non kosher deli's that didn't serve ham and swiss on rye in the 1950's? Even in NY I feel certain that combo would have been readily available.

                                        1. re: westsidegal
                                          Arthur Jan 7, 2012 03:49 PM

                                          westsidegal, if your childhood neighborhood delis did not serve cheese on sandwiches, then they were to some extent keeping kosher, or at least respecting some kind of now-antiquated community standard regarding traditional lines that ought not be crossed.

                                          But nostalgia and kosher issues aside, there is no reason to for you to conclude all these decades later that a Jewish deli serving swiss cheese on a deli meat sandwich is more of a California phenomenon than a New York one. That claim simply has no foundation in the annals of regional dining.

                                          1. re: Arthur
                                            Fru Jan 7, 2012 07:02 PM

                                            Agree with Arthur's assessment. I had to ask my father about this since I'm sure he is older than westsidegal, he is 78...He used to get his Reubin at Tip Toe Inn on Broadway at 86th in the 40s and early 50s. Not Kosher, not touristy, no longer around:) To keep this post relevant to the OP's question, I've got to get to Langer's!

                      2. re: ellaystingray
                        Jase Jan 5, 2012 07:58 PM

                        What's good to get at Junior's if in a deli mood? We've only gone a few times and gone with the pastrami each time. We really should save our pastrami meals for Langer's. Curious what else to try at Junior's.

                        1. re: Jase
                          Servorg Jan 6, 2012 03:27 AM

                          If not getting a pastrami sandwich I find myself ordering their matzoh ball soup or even a lox platter with a toasted onion or garlic bagel (note: that is NOT their bagel sandwich with lox and cream cheese already assembled, but rather a small lox platter with tomatoes, onion and cucumber - plus one measly olive - and cream cheese in a little separate container). Or I get breakfast. I like their breakfast burrito "Dave's Burrito" if I am recalling correctly and I ask for the eggs to be cooked easy and I add avocado or their breakfast steak and eggs which is on a separate menu that they give you. Finally, if in the sweet mood I get their pound cake sundae with regular pound cake and I substitute hot fudge for the chocolate sauce and make sure they give plenty of whipped cream and nuts. Damn good sundae!

                          1. re: Servorg
                            Jase Jan 6, 2012 09:14 AM

                            Thanks. I'll have to check out the Lox platter. Appreciate you pointing out the difference. I'm not a big matzoh ball fan. But I do have a particular weakness for lox. If there was Russ and Daughter's LA equivalent, I'd be in serious trouble. That's one of those places we stop in a couple of times in our New York visits.

                            How's their hot fudge? Hard to find a good hot fudge these days. Heck hard to find a good hot fudge sundae with high quality vanilla and the fudge.

                            1. re: Jase
                              Servorg Jan 6, 2012 09:17 AM

                              You know, I've never actually had their regular hot fudge sundae...I am so in love with their pound cake as an adder to what other wise would be a regular hot fudge sundae I never think about trying the original...I think that their hot fudge is fine without being great. It's the sum total of the parts that makes my taste buds swoon.

                              1. re: Jase
                                wienermobile Jan 6, 2012 09:23 AM

                                "Hard to find a good hot fudge these days"
                                Lawry's Prime Rib still serves C.C.Browns hot fudge sundaes. A true LA classic.

                                Lawry's Prime Rib
                                100 N La Cienega Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211

                                1. re: wienermobile
                                  Jase Jan 6, 2012 09:28 AM

                                  Yeah, the problem with that is I'm not going to make a trek to Lawry's when I have a hot fudge sundae craving. I was thinking more along the lines of a diner or old fashioned ice cream shop.

                                  Better for me anyway. I don't need to be eating a hot fudge sundae regularly.

                                  1. re: Jase
                                    wienermobile Jan 6, 2012 09:32 AM

                                    Then you might try Sweet Rose Creamery in brentwood. They make their own fudge sauce to top their wonderful homemade flavors.

                                    Sweet Rose Creamery
                                    225 26th St #51, Los Angeles, CA 90049

                                    1. re: wienermobile
                                      Jase Jan 6, 2012 09:50 AM

                                      Thanks. I keep forgetting about that place and have yet to get around to trying it. I wish I had remembered over the holiday break and going there on a weekday. Looks like they're closed through this Sunday the 8th. Will have to remember to give them a shot soon. So much for working off that holiday weight. If I like the ice cream and fudge, you won't mind if I curse you when I get on the scale will you?

                                      Meanwhile, although they're not traditional, I have liked Coolhaus's retail store near Helm's Bakery area the two times we've gone. I like the creaminess of their ice cream and their flavors.

                  2. r
                    rock76 Jan 3, 2012 04:34 PM

                    Like a previous poster said, Brent's Deli in Northridge is tops along with Langer's Deli downtown. However, you are looking for something on the westside and the best deli there is Label's Table hands down! Get the pastrami and order it sky-high.


                    1 Reply
                    1. re: rock76
                      ellaystingray Jan 4, 2012 09:19 AM

                      Oh! That is a good call on Label's and also right in that area (literally like two blocks away) is Factor's Famous Deli. Another worth trying out.

                    2. Porthos Jan 2, 2012 06:34 PM

                      Agree with the above Bristol and Whole Foods recommendations.

                      The only caveat is to avoid the bread. It'll be a huge letdown compared to the bread that you can get at Fairway or NYC in general.

                      The bread at Bay Cities will more than make up for it though. The Italian cured meat, cheese, canned, and dried goods selection is as good as anything you'll find in NYC.

                      1. b
                        bulavinaka Jan 2, 2012 05:49 PM

                        It appears Fairway is an awesome place for one-stop shopping. I don't know if the OP will find that kind of convenience, breadth and quality all under one roof around here. The Whole Foods in El Segundo - technically in the South Bay - is huge and offers tons of good to great things. I don't think it will compare to Fairway though. I'm sure like many, I'm just used to finding various consumables at various places. The OP might want to emphasize what foods/departments at Fairway are the most important and maybe this board can make recs from there?

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: bulavinaka
                          Fru Jan 3, 2012 09:20 AM

                          We stayed at the Beacon (across the street from Fairway) OMG! I don't know that anything could compare with Fairway. You would have to put Cost Plus, Whole Foods and Trader Joe's together. And then, there is the terrific cafe upstairs...The trade off is, we have space and NYC doesn't.

                          1. re: Fru
                            bulavinaka Jan 3, 2012 06:08 PM

                            >>The trade off is, we have space and NYC doesn't.<<

                            Yup, and this is one reason why the two cities have evolved in different ways - NYC is a vertically oriented town, while LA is sprawl.

                            1. re: bulavinaka
                              Peripatetic Jan 3, 2012 06:51 PM

                              >>The trade off is, we have space and NYC doesn't.<<

                              And we spend much of our time criss-crossing it in crazy traffic. :(

                              1. re: Peripatetic
                                bulavinaka Jan 3, 2012 08:33 PM

                                I've lived in both types of environments and I prefer elbow room at the cost of criss-crossing, but that's because I just don't know better...

                        2. goodhealthgourmet Jan 2, 2012 12:14 PM

                          i can't believe no one has mentioned this yet - there's a Barney Greengrass in Beverly Hills on the top floor of Saks. different atmosphere than the UWS location, but the food (and prices!) just might make you think for a moment that you're back in NY ;)

                          Barney Greengrass Restaurant
                          9570 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90212

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                            Fru Jan 3, 2012 09:24 AM

                            It is ridiculously overpriced for what you get served by wannabees that don't know what deli is.

                            1. re: Fru
                              goodhealthgourmet Jan 3, 2012 05:25 PM

                              the OP asked for "NY-esque" establishments. the original Barney Greengrass is *in* NYC, and the Beverly Hills location offers the same menu. sounds pretty NY-esque to me.

                              i was simply providing what was requested. the issue of what constitutes "real deli" to different people isn't the point...but since you brought it up, Barney Greengrass is more known for their fish/appetizing selection, and they've been keeping New Yorkers happily sated with sturgeon, smoked fish, and all that other good stuff for nearly 100 years.

                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                Fru Jan 3, 2012 08:51 PM

                                No offense was meant. I didn't say that it wasn't real deli. I was simply pointing out that while the 2 establishments may share a name and a menu, the similarities end there. This is my opinion. I stick by it regarding the BH location-stingy portions, uninformed waitstaff. I was very disappointed. I wish we had a Zabar's!

                                1. re: Fru
                                  goodhealthgourmet Jan 4, 2012 06:40 AM

                                  my apologies - i mis-read your post and thought it said it was *for* wannabes who don't know what deli is! yes, the servers are a little clueless, but i eat small portions anyway so i didn't mind that so much, and when i absolutely HAD to have NY-style lox, eggs & onions, that was the only place that would do.

                                  re: Zabar's, i used to say that ALL the time. and like the OP i lamented the absence of Fairway or a comparable market. as much as i loved (and miss!) LA, i confess it's nice being back here with access to NY chow - the first time i walked back into Fairway i was in heaven :)

                            2. re: goodhealthgourmet
                              maudies5 Jan 3, 2012 10:30 AM

                              Barney Greengrass is on the top floor of Barney's, not the top floor of Saks.

                              1. re: maudies5
                                goodhealthgourmet Jan 3, 2012 05:15 PM

                                doh! i was *talking* to someone about Saks as i typed that earlier :) thanks for catching it!

                            3. ipsedixit Jan 2, 2012 11:51 AM

                              For the market, in addition to Whole Foods and Bristol Farms, might want to include Gelson's (there's one in MDR if I recall correctly).

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: ipsedixit
                                wienermobile Jan 2, 2012 12:00 PM

                                Yes Gelson's is in MDR off Lincoln at 13455 Maxella Ave. and also in Century City below the mall & Pacific Palisades.

                                Gelsons Markets
                                15424 W Sunset Blvd, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272

                                Gelson's Markets
                                10250 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

                                1. re: wienermobile
                                  Peripatetic Jan 2, 2012 12:40 PM

                                  For reference, Gelson's is like a slighly downmarket Food Emporium. Not quite as bad as a D'Agostinos, but no Fairway, either.

                                  BTW, you won't find any Balducci's/Grace's Marketplace equivalents, either, but it's worth checking out Bay Cities in Santa Monica.

                              2. Peripatetic Jan 2, 2012 11:03 AM

                                Unfortunately there's no one-stop shop like Fairway. The closest thing to Fairway for produce is probably the Wednesday Santa Monica Farmers Market and the Sunday Hollywood Farmers Market. Otherwise you're basically stuck with Whole Foods or Bristol Market. What were some of your regular purchases at Fairway? Maybe we can help you out there.

                                For delis, I'd be surprised if you're disappointed in Brent's or Langer's, though these aren't on the West Side. I prefer Langer's to Katz for pastrami. Be sure to buy a loaf of caraway rye bread from Langer's (actually baked by Bea's Bakery in Tarzana) . . . it's better than the rye bread anywhere in NYC.

                                1. ellaystingray Jan 2, 2012 10:58 AM

                                  Okay, so beware that certain things just aren't going to be the same. However, once you get your bearings you should be able to find things "close enough" to what you are looking for to not get too homesick. Unfortunately, they just won't be on every street corner.

                                  Now, deli. For as many deli's as there are on the Westside: Izzy's (just don't), Fromin's (serviceable if you order the right things), Junior's (not bad), Nate n' Al's (agreed it is probably the best), Jerry's (chain, 'nuf said) they just don't seem to have the ability to transport you to Katz's, Artie's, Ben's, Carnegie, Stage etc. However, with the possible exception of Izzy's which is just a total s**tshow, they won't make you cry.

                                  And, if you like Italian Deli, Bay Cities will remind you of home. It isn't necessarily better, but it is as close as you can get on the Westside.

                                  Then, if you want to go further afield, the aformentioned Brent's and Langer's are spectacular. Then, there is Canter's in the Miracle Mile district. It deserves mention only becuase it is such an icon in L.A. and is visited slavishly by its proponents. However, that may only be due to inertia. Nonetheless, it looks, smells and feels like the real deal. I've never loved it, but you've gotta go at some point.

                                  As for markets...I've been in a Fairway once and it was pretty awesome. For me, Bristol Farms would be the closest but the only one on the Westside is in a somewhat awkward location by LAX in Westchester/Playa and unless you live right there, isn't the most fun place to shop when you know you are about to get crushed by traffic on the way home. You should also check out Whole Foods. The one that is probably closest to what you are looking for is the big one at Rose and Lincoln in S.M. but there are smaller outposts all over the Westside. Same store but the big one is just more awesomer. And while not really at all like Fairway, you should check out Trader Joe's--various locations all over town. They source a ton of speciality items and sell them under their own label at great prices in addition to selling other peoples stuff at really good prices too. It can feel a little "crunchy" at times but I have to go at least every other week.


                                  8 Replies
                                  1. re: ellaystingray
                                    Arthur Jan 2, 2012 12:40 PM

                                    "For me, Bristol Farms would be the closest but the only one on the Westside is in a somewhat awkward location by LAX in Westchester/Playa..."

                                    Not true. There are Bristol Farms locations in Beverly Hills, Westwood, and West Hollywood.

                                    1. re: Arthur
                                      bulavinaka Jan 2, 2012 05:34 PM

                                      The Westwood location is shuttered.

                                      1. re: bulavinaka
                                        Servorg Jan 2, 2012 05:38 PM

                                        I don't think so, Bula. At least they are answering their phone and telling me they are open until 12 tonight.


                                        1. re: Servorg
                                          bulavinaka Jan 2, 2012 05:44 PM

                                          Is this the one on Westwood Blvd? I was heading there last month and noticed everything was gone, or maybe I was mistaken for another storefront/parking lot? Sorry if I am misinforming...

                                          1. re: bulavinaka
                                            Servorg Jan 2, 2012 05:46 PM

                                            It's on the SW corner of Westwood Blvd. and Ohio.

                                            1. re: bulavinaka
                                              Arthur Jan 2, 2012 05:48 PM

                                              I suspect you may be mistaking it for the former Ross Department Store site, which had been a block south of Bristol Farms and has now moved to the old Borders location up the street.

                                              1. re: Arthur
                                                bulavinaka Jan 2, 2012 05:51 PM

                                                I'm sure you folks are right and I was mistaken - was in a huge rush and just kept going and landed at Whole Foods in the Village. Thanks for the clarification - again, sorry for the misinformation...

                                                1. re: bulavinaka
                                                  ellaystingray Jan 3, 2012 08:56 AM

                                                  Mea Culpa here too....totally forgot about the Westwood location.

                                    2. westsidegal Jan 2, 2012 08:46 AM

                                      best deli on hte westside, is, imho, Nate n Al's inbeverly hills.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: westsidegal
                                        wienermobile Jan 2, 2012 09:46 AM

                                        If you'll drive a bit farther the best deli in LA is Brent's Deli in the Valley and for near perfect pastrami Langer's Deli (only open till 4pm and closed Sundays) near downtown LA. Both are worth the trip. Welcome to LA.

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

                                        Brent's Deli
                                        19565 Parthenia St, Northridge, CA 91324

                                        1. re: wienermobile
                                          westsidegal Jan 2, 2012 11:22 AM

                                          re: langers and brents
                                          1) both, imho, are more than "a bit" farther from the westside
                                          2) be aware that langers closes VERY early (check the hours before you go.)

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