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In Search Of: PASTRAMI!

I'm sure there is a thread on this but I couldn't find it. Looking for real pastrami in NW LA area.

(eg: Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Woodland Hills, Calabasas, Agoura Hills, Westlake, Thousand Oaks, even Camarillo or Oxnard are fine. Ideally I'm looking for somewhere I won't have to deal with too much additional traffic, but Westwood, Santa Monica, Century City, etc all work, too.)

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  1. Langer's Deli near downtown LA is hands down the best pastrami & rye in LA if not the entire country. Well worth the trip downtown. Open till 4pm daily and closed Sundays.

    In the areas you are requesting Brent's Deli (Westlake Village and Northridge) is mighty good. Make sure you try their black pastrami ruben...so good!

    Good Pastrami Nosh sandwich at Plan Check in West LA. Also lookout for their Pastrami Fries with swiss cheese & pastrami gravy when offered as a daily special.

    2 Replies
      1. re: wienermobile

        Man, love the double smoked pastrami Nosh at Plan Check!

        Had the pastrami fries last week with a truffle burger and a beer. Ridiculously good!

        1. Jeff's Gourmet Sausages on Pico in the Fairfax neighborhood makea their pastrami in-house. It's a solid representation that's very peppery. My only quibble is it's not as succulent or fatty as I'd hoped. Langer's is still the king.

          3 Replies
          1. re: bulavinaka

            Bulavinaka, their "old fashioned" pastrami is the one you want its different than their everyday pastrami. Check their twitter feed to see when they have it available.

            OP, try the pastrami sandwich at Plan Check it is so unbelievably good!

            1. re: trojans

              That's the one I've had twice. If I recall, it's 2-3 bucks more. Nice sandwich on rye instead of french roll.

              1. re: bulavinaka

                Jeff's old fashion is probably what all delis in LA should strive for, and would be the go-to benchmark if "artisanal" delis ever make their way back to LA from NY/Portland/SF.

                I love Langers, but Jeff's "simple" old fashioned pastrami is pretty ridiculous and makes the pastrami nosh sandwich plan check seem... douchey.

                Jessica Ritz just wrote up a story on LA deli's for Jewish Journal's Feb issue, if anyone has any other thoughts/contributions, it'd be lovely to hear (beyond comments of: "I love The Hat").

          2. Agree that Langer's is king for pastrami, and also for their rye which is crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. But their sandwich is expensive -- $13+ these days -- and not all that stuffed.

            My strong westside favorite is Label's Table, on the south side of Pico with a blue awning a few blocks east of Beverly, with parking in the back. A very good warm pastrami sandwich with good pickle wedges for $8.50, with enough meat you could top another slice of rye for another half sandwich. Counter service. Sometimes the pastrami is a buck less if it is the featured special of the day.

            For fast-food hamburger-stand-style pastrami sandwiches, I like the huge one at Dino's on Pico at Berendo or the ones at Togo's.

              1. re: ipsedixit

                I love the Hat, My guilty pleasure. Cheap and giant Pastrami sandwiches. One order of chili fries can feed an entire family.

                1. re: wienermobile

                  yeah, one of those pastrami dips on the french roll and an order of chili cheese fries with pickles and tomatoes will put you to sleep, no fucking joke.

                  i still have to try the pastrami fries with gravy at plan check hopefully they will have it tomorrow and this weekend. but i'd hate to go there just for that and it not be on the menu.

                  btw, what do you rec for their burgers ?
                  and has anyone had their seared ahi dish, if i might go the healthier route if they don't got the fries with the pastrami.

                  1. re: kevin

                    I prefer their PASTRAMI NOSH sandwich with double smoked pastrami, melty swiss cheese, kimchi mustard, pickles, sunny fried egg or their Southern Fry sandwich (smokey fried jidori chicken, spicy green pimento cheese, duck breast ham, pickles)
                    than the burgers at Plan Check.

                    1. re: wienermobile

                      yeah, i did try their pastrami nosh at plan check before, it was ok, obviously langer's is better,

                      but i'm a sucker for that on top of the fries with gravy.

                      maybe if they don't have it i will just order fries and a the nosher and drop the contents of the pastrami nosher on top of the fries.

                      voila !!! :)

                      1. re: kevin

                        Plan Check occasionally has a Pastrami Burger as a nightly special. (or ask I'd bet they'd make one for you).

                2. re: ipsedixit

                  The Hat has without question the greasiest/fattiest pastrami in town. Upon leaving, your face has the look of an oil slick.
                  Now if that is your definition of quality pastrami, then fine.
                  Mine includes some fat, but theirs takes things to the extreme.
                  Of course, ymmv!

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    langers = pastrami sandwich
                    hat = pastrami chili cheese fries

                    so freaking good.

                    1. re: ns1

                      I do have a soft spot when I am in the area for the pastrami dip plus the chili cheese fries, though I have never ordered the chili cheese fries with pastrami on topp. That would save me a few bucks if I did that and skipped the sandwich.

                    2. re: ipsedixit

                      The Hat manages the incredible feat of being greasy and salty without much flavor. For pastrami in Alhambra, I prefer Tops Jr.

                      Of course neither of these hold a candle to Langers.

                    3. langers above all

                      plan check and umamicatessen both do pretty good pastrami.

                      an interesting choice is smoke city. a bbq place that does pastrami but when it's on, it's very good. different due to the amount of smoke in it but still very good.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: cdub

                        Very occasionally Big Mista BBQ has some wonderful smoked BBQ pastrami but not all the time. They can be found at the Century City Farmers Market on Thursdays.

                      2. I'm no connoisseur, but I really love the hot pastrami sandwich at Bay Cities.

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: aching

                          Agree, that's what I usually get and not their famous Godmother, ( I also have a fondness for their hot Chicken Parm Sandwich too).

                          1. re: wienermobile

                            Their eggplant parm is also pretty good, but I haven't been there in a couple years due to the line that remains at all hours of the day.

                            I'm one of the naysayers and just don't think that Bay Cities is deserving of all the hoopla.

                            Though if there was no line I'd probably drop by at least once every couple months.

                            1. re: kevin

                              Kevin starting at 8:30 am (except Mondays) you can order on line at Bay Cities Italian Deli. Just tell them he time you are picking up (they need your order at least 45 minutes in advance) and you sandwich is waiting for you. You don't even have to pre-pay. Just pay when you pick up.

                              1. re: kevin

                                Gee, and I thought I was the only one that did not get the place.
                                Glad to hear at least one other ally.

                                1. re: carter

                                  I've never had more than one or two people in front of me on the hot side to the right nearest the entrance, even when the cold side is packed three-deep at lunch rush. That side is where to get the hot pastrami, the chicken parm, the meatballs, and the surprisingly great pot-roast dinner -- $7.98 for a generous serving of meat, two sides, and one of their small rolls.

                                  1. re: nosh

                                    it's really the way to go. get a chicken parm and a premade godmother. you're out of there in 5 minutes flat.

                                2. re: kevin

                                  "I'm one of the naysayers and just don't think that Bay Cities is deserving of all the hoopla."

                                  after 5-6 visits I agree. I kept visiting everytime I was in WLA hoping to be blown away but it never happened.

                                  1. re: ns1

                                    McDonald's is busy too, but is it that great ?

                                    Long lines does not equate to greatness.

                            2. If you are looking for Pastrami for home, we really love the Tree of Life Pastrami that is available at Whole Foods Venice (They also make an excellent in house roast beef at a surprisingly good price!)


                              1. Langer's, Jeff's "old fashioned" ad the Pastrami Nosh are the top of my list. After that I find Canter's terribly under rated. It's better than Brent's and far better than any other Westside deli. It has real pastrami flavor and great texture. Since Langer's hours are a constraint, and the ambiance of Jeff's leaves something to be desired, Canter's is my go to pastrami.
                                Plan Check's Pastrami fries are killer!

                                1. No love for Johnnie's? I think it's as good as The Hat.

                                  Oops, I thought this would post at the bottom.

                                  8 Replies
                                  1. re: LuluTheMagnificent

                                    I think the Hat is much better, but then again I may be overdue on a visit to Johnnie's which I haven't been to in years.

                                    Is your post in regards to the sepulveda and washington location or the adams, near crenshaw, locale ?

                                    1. re: kevin

                                      Avoid the Johnny's( with a y) Adams location at all costs. The west la Johnnies is good to me. Try it and let me know your thoughts.

                                        1. re: kevin

                                          I rarely eat a pastrami sandwich, but I do prefer the one from Johnny's (on Adams, ask for it "dipped") versus the usually more revered Johnnie's (on Sepulveda). They are both grease bombs, but I do prefer the one from Johnny's. It's also a couple of dollars cheaper. Johnny's is more of a to go place so it's wrapped and comes with a pack of pickles (one to one and half, sliced) and several of those hot yellow peppers. I think the version on Adams is even greasier which may add to it's flavor allure (to me). I realize some people find the Adams area pretty sketchy, but I've gotten them at 1-2 am, and haven't had a problem. Johnny's is 24 hours and Johnnie's closes (I believe) at 3 am. Haven't eaten at the Hat in decades. I also haven't eaten at Langer's in decades (closes too early).
                                          The only deli pastramis I've eaten in recent history are Canter's because I've been at the Kibitz Room or Greenblatt's. I know they don't get much love here, but they are the only delis I ever seem to hit.

                                    2. re: LuluTheMagnificent

                                      I'd disagree on the West LA Sepulveda Johnny's. I don't think it's worth the price and the quality is pretty bad even for fast food thin sliced pastrami. Not even with nostalgia sauce on it. We used to hit in when we were younger after concerts in LA and loved it.

                                      I was excited to move close to it. Multiple visits since then hasn't changed mine or any of my college friends opinions.

                                      But the nostalgia sauce still works great for Tommy's and The Hat for us. To us, Johnny's has gone downhill that much.

                                      1. re: Jase

                                        You are right the last time I was at Johnny's in West LA, near Washington, I kept thinking too myself that I can get loads better crappy, dirty, fast-food pastrami at the Hat, way way way fucking better than Johnnie's.

                                        1. re: kevin

                                          I agree with Jase and Kevin, I was there long ago when I was going to eat at Tito's Tacos but the lines were too long so I went to Johnny's, got the Pastrami sandwich and it was greasy, not much flavor and tough. I can see some people rating it high after a night of boozing, but that is true of almost any food at that time.

                                          1. re: malibumike

                                            I disagree with all of you. LOL. The two johnnies are not related in any way, the hood version spells it's name differently for a reason. I think these opinions are based on Johnnies being over-priced, which it is. Most Pastrami is over priced to me though. If Johnnies was $5 less, I don't think I'd be hearing these complaints.

                                            But, for as nasty as Johnny's is, it's over-priced. I live in that sketchy area and drive right over to west LA Johnnies. I used to drive to The Hat, but for the $$ and the drive it is not worth driving to The Hat because to me,the hat is NOT much better than Johnnies, if at all. Johnnies will dip theirs too.

                                    3. While it seems improbable, the Country Deli in Chatsworth (Topanga Cyn Blvd and Lassen) gets good marks from the LA Weekly, particularly for its pastrami. It's on my list of places to try.

                                      Country Deli
                                      9901 Topanga Canyon Blvd.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: MarkC

                                        I had a turkey burger with grilled onions there a few years ago, and they were the BEST grilled onions I have had since I moved here from NY 40 years ago. Well done, almost crispy - delicious! Would love to have a discussion about grilled onions at some point ...


                                      2. Well, to me, technically, just looking at the texture and taste, Langer's has the best pastrami. Best pastrami sandwich is open to debate.

                                        But, I have to say that while it is cooked differently, I have tasted the most flavorful pastrami ever, IMHO, and, it comes from a barbecue joint: Smoke City in Sherman Oaks at 5242 Van Nuys Blvd.

                                        Unbelievably rich. A little goes along way. Nobody's pastrami can match the flavor of Smoke City's.

                                        Sacrilege, I know...killer pastrami from a barbecue joint?

                                        But, it's unbelievably good. Because it's a barbecue place it comes with white bread.

                                        I recommend buying it by itself (they sell it by the pound) and taking it home and putting it on rye, or, my favorite, a long onion roll from a deli-or, what the heck, bring your choice of bread to the place (BYOB).

                                        Wow! And, that is exactly what I said out loud upon tasting it the first time.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Deep Valley

                                          Big Mista also occasionally has some great smokey BBQ Pastrami at their farmers market locations. A real treat when they do have it.

                                        2. The pastrami at Stuffed Sandwich in San Gabriel (1145 E Las Tunas Drive) has some great pastrami piled high on a french roll and french dipped. A whole ($11) is enough for the biggest football player so I usually get a half. To wash it down, they have a draft and bottle selection of beer that is second to none. Bring your own glass though unless you like drinking out of paper cups.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: froeh

                                            No. Just no.

                                            Beer and beer selection at Stuffed Sandwich is great.

                                            Pastrami sandwich? No.

                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                              Hat's is better, much better, than Stuffed Sandwich, but still while I am there enjoying beers sometimes I'll get the pastrami sub, a whole, of course, it's not that big, or the meatball sub.

                                              But yes, the beer is where it's at. The trick is just to order a salad if you have already eaten, potato chips don't count with their specific license if i'm not mistaken.

                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                  Curly fries are freedom fries though, or rather air-dried so the only thing is it has the spices of curly fries, but it's not really fried.

                                          2. I 3rd, 4th and 5th Brent's Deli in Northridge on Parthenia St between Tampa & Corbin. I've been going there for the past 27 years and it's a GREAT DELI! It's ALWAYS CROWDED which gives you some idea right there. Their portions are generous, the prices are comparable, the ambiance is loud as a deli should be and the staff is efficient and VERY friendly!
                                            There's also a Brent's Deli in Westlake Village adjacent to the Hyatt Westlake Hotel. www.brentsdeli.com Give it a try.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: hms1952

                                              Brent's Black Pastrami Rueben is one great sandwich.

                                            2. I will concur with the others that Jeff's Old Fashioned Pasterami is very good. I also like the pastrami at Weiler's at Nordhoff and Balboa.

                                              1. Some here mentioned Jeff's Gourmet on Pico. It's just alright. It costs the same as #10 one at Langers but is half the size and a quarter as good. The glories sung to Langers are real. Don't compromise.

                                                1. This isn't a sandwich, and it's way out of whiner's area, but Downey Pizza Company's pastrami pizza needs to be included in this thread.

                                                  1 Reply