HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >


A pastrami sandwich as good as Langers

It's not a question, it's a statement. The pastrami sky high with Swiss cheese at Labels Tables on Pico is as good as Langers if not better when you factor in the price. I have to stop myself from eating there every single day.

The meat is juicy and seasoned nicely. The rye has a crusty crust and a pillowy interior and the sky high coleslaw and dressing is perfect. Sandwich and soda with two great pickles? $12.00.

The clincher? No wait.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. It's a fairly priced sandwich in a really depressing room (think horse track in the 70s). And the crowd is, IMHO, even more dreary.

    Glad to have in the neighborhood, but it doesn't compare.

    It is, however, as good as any of the overpriced non-Langer's competitors like Nate n Als, Factors etc...

    20 Replies
    1. re: manku

      It's the quintessential deli; dreary room and old regulars. I stand by my comparison to langers.

      1. re: manku

        Seriously? Like Langer's has a better atmosphere?! It's also leftover from the 70s with cheesy plastic kitsch and fake wood grain, bright orange and avocado green undertones.....makes me think of the Brady's kitchen......

        1. re: Dirtywextraolives

          Don't forget moldy jello for dessert.

          1. re: kevin

            Awwww, man?! You had to tell me that! Now between that and the junkies in the alley with the baseball bat, I ain't going back....it's Label's all the way from now on!!

            1. re: Dirtywextraolives

              Really ???? Come on.

              As hounds you know the length would go to for great food and that's why Langer's keeps banker's hours, right ?

              1. re: kevin

                Oh, I've gone lengths.... My children have gone without shoes due to my lengths..lol! Ya, I know why they keep those hours... Like I said....going to Labels from now on... I draw the line at moldy jello and well, as I said....

                Hey has anyone else remembered reading the Goldster talking about Umamicatessen's pastrami and it being something Langers should fear?! I'm afraid they're shutting down and I haven't gotten back there to try the pastrami.... Anyone try it?

                1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                  I haven't.

                  Though back when it first opened I tried the $9 fucking foie gras and peanut butter and jelly donut.

                  I think Jay Gold loved the pastrami at Umamicatessen. And I didn't know they were shutting down, maybe to replace it with another more mainstream Umami Burger or another outpost of 800 Degrees ?????

                    1. re: kevin

                      Lmao! Yea... I'm talking the $100 basketball shoes they HAVE TO HAVE..... lol...!

                      1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                        Don't you mean $250 shoes.

                        I thought those 100 dollar pair were a thing of the 90s.

                        But then again what do I know, I wear some nifty Payless shoes. :)

                    2. re: Dirtywextraolives

                      Umami just announced that Umamicatssen is going to become just a giant Umami (with a private room for parties) and close the other concepts inside the restaurant. The thick hand cut Pastrami there was great but the rye bread was cold and sub-par, but it was still the second best pastrami in LA after Langer's.

                      1. re: wienermobile

                        Thanks for the update wienermobile.

                        1. re: wienermobile

                          Thanks, wienermobile, you the Johnny on the spot when it comes to all things langers and pastrami.... Honestly, I picture you as a bloodhound with your ears perking up, whenever someone types either pastrami or langers on the board....lmao!

                          1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                            I dream of pastrami. From Langer's to The Hat to Plan Check and to Brent's. We are very very lucky to be here in LA where pastrami is king.

                            1. re: wienermobile

                              I gave up pastrami for a while.

                              fuck my life. :)

                              1. re: kevin

                                Try the turkey pastrami at labels

                          2. re: Dirtywextraolives

                            Umamicatessen's pastrami was excellent. Too bad they are shutting down/becoming one giant Umami Burger. The pastrami was the best thing there.

                            See my pic from the below thread and report.


                            1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                              Umamicatessen has very good pastrami, but the rye bread is an embarrassment.

                  1. Have you tried the au jus w brisket or pastrami?

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: jessejames

                      I have. I think I tried it based on your recommendation from a previous post. I like it but I'm always fighting between the pastrami or my deviant creation a hot tongue sliced thick on toasted sourdough with mayo, onions and tomatoes. Honestly it's a battle for which I like more.

                      1. re: trojans

                        Nice. No mayo for me. I get turkey and hard salami on Swiss. Also I like a latke slid inside a pastrami and swiss. Or roast beef American cheese onion roll. So much good stuff. Oh hot corned beef w horseradish!

                        1. re: jessejames

                          Latke slid inside a pastrami?!!! You win for deviant deli concoctions. Nice!

                          1. re: trojans

                            Call that the 'fresser' Sauerkraut too sometimes! Labels is awesome. Do a hotdog kraut pastrami combo on onion roll w a half pickle down the side! I gotta try the hot tongue

                    2. "If you factor in the price" is really telling.

                      It seems you're saying it's not as good unless you want something cheap. IMO, that is not a way to judge "the best".

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: SilverlakeGirl

                        "As good as langers IF not better when you factor in the price." Meaning I think it's as good as Langers and better when you consider the price, if price matters. Otherwise it's as good.

                        1. re: trojans

                          One does't consider price when evaluating "Best".

                          1. re: SilverlakeGirl

                            I think labels table is the best. I think when you factor in the price it's the bestest! Better?

                      2. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

                        1. I'm willing to give this place a shot. Langers and Brents are still king of the hill in my mind. Maybe I'll be able to stop by in a couple weeks.

                          2 Replies
                            1. re: granadafan

                              Label's is my go to place on Sundays when Langer's is closed. I like Label's cole slaw on the pastrami!

                            2. If it can get any better than Brent's (great pastrami on great Russian rye), then we're in some kind of 7th, or 8th, heaven. Plus, I just learned that Brent's bakes their own black and white cookies. That and a cream soda....oh man....

                              1. Hey -- Where have I been for the last two days?! I've been proclaiming Label's Table's quality, quantity and value for a couple of years on this board. For those who haven't been, a stuffed pastrami (or other deli) sandwich is $8.50, a buck less when it is the daily special.

                                Now the comparison to Langer's? Label's uses a commercial pastrami, while Langer's steams and seasons its own. Label's is the usual deli machine thin sliced, while Langer's is hand cut more thick. No comparison with the rye bread -- Label's is standard, has a very chewy crust, a bit dense, while Langer's is thicker, has a crispier crust, is much softer in the middle, and I don't notice any caraway seeds.

                                But Label's is closer, faster, thus more convenient. A pastrami sandwich at Label's has enough meat that i sometimes request or buy another slice of rye to make another half-sandwich and have a better balance of meat to bread. A Label's sandwich more than fills me on its own -- at Langer's, one sandwich leaves me needing a side of fries or matzoh ball soup. And Label's counter service means a buck tip is more than required. At Langer's, it is about $13 for the basic sandwich, more for fries or soup, a standard tip, parking a block away after a longer drive.

                                Conclusion: Langer's unmatched for a splurge, best-there-is pastrami sandwich. But for a weekday, in-my-rotation lunch, Label's Table. And Label's Table blows away Nate 'n' Al's, Factor's, Lenny's, Canter's, and the other overpriced delis.

                                Now there is recent praise on this board for Greenblatt's, which I haven't tried in well over a decade. And a lot of love for Brent's. But both of these are in the high-priced category....

                                26 Replies
                                1. re: nosh

                                  I agree that Label's is indeed the best of the "economy class" pastrami.

                                  No love for Jeff's old-fashioned here? Although it's probably on the higher end price-wise...

                                  1. re: chrishei

                                    One big step under Label's "economy class" pastrami -- best inexpensive sandwich chain pastrami. Gotta be Togo's, right?

                                    1. re: nosh

                                      I can agree w/ that. We can call that tier the "greyhound class".

                                        1. re: wienermobile

                                          I have never understood the appeal of The Hat. The pastrami to me is simply processed meat that you can buy in a grocery store. The Hat simply steams it before serving.

                                          1. re: P Town

                                            it's 7 bucks and a ton of food. the pastrami chili cheese fries are far superior to the pastrami sandwich.

                                            1. re: ns1

                                              And that keeps it low carbs, save for the french fries of course.

                                              Damn, I need to eat meat again.

                                              Fuck my life.

                                              1. re: kevin

                                                Eat that pastrami at Langers and afterward take a run around MacArthur Park a few times to work it off.
                                                You'll be good to go.

                                            2. re: P Town

                                              I don't either. Yes, they give you a ton of meat and fries which impresses many people, but their food is actually quite flavorless. I've never had chili with less flavor than the Hat. For that style of pastrami in the immediate area, I much prefer Tops Jr.

                                              1. re: Ernie

                                                I agree with you on their bland though still greasy chili. But its the sum of the parts at play if you catch the proverbial drift.

                                                However, I fucking love their pastrami dips, triple dipped, so all the juices are running all over the place. And their pastrami is delicious, because it's salty, fatty, and peppery spicy and steamed just right for what is the paragon of "Excessively Dirty Fast Food Junk Pastrami" (please insert Mr. Taster-style trademark right here) or for short E.D.F.F.J.P which sounds more like a part of municipal form of government than junky fast food pastrami.

                                              2. re: P Town

                                                In comparison to what? For non-kosher style pastrami, it can be pretty good.

                                                    1. re: wienermobile

                                                      I may have got confused with my "above".


                                                1. re: P Town

                                                  I really like the cheeseburger at The Hat. I also enjoy the pastrami CCF's on rare occasion. The chili is a bit bland, but the saltiness of the pastrami helps. So does hot sauce.

                                                2. re: wienermobile

                                                  or johnny's pastrami dip west adams area -- i like it.

                                            3. re: nosh

                                              <Langer's unmatched for a splurge, best-there-is pastrami sandwich>

                                              Thanks for clarifying this, nosh.
                                              I can't think of one person who'd disagree.
                                              Huge proponent of Langer's here…
                                              'Junkies' and all, although I've never noticed them and I have no idea what they'd have to do with the taste/texture of that outrageously fine pastrami.

                                              1. re: latindancer

                                                Junkies ????

                                                Langer's is definitely not junky, fast food pastrami but it's the epitome of great Jewish deli style pastrami, which is not to be confused with it's junky, fast food pastrami ilk or brethren.

                                                1. re: kevin

                                                  Folks, we've removed a lot of back and forth about the safety of the neighborhood around Langer's. It's a topic of debate that's generally considered off-topic here, since it inevitably ends up getting pretty personal and no one's mind is ever changed. We've tried to leave up the food-focused comments, but if we've removed a post of yours and you want a copy of it to edit and repost, please email us at moderators@chowhound.com and we can do that.

                                              2. re: nosh

                                                Well, Langers has a big menu and I'll agree the pastrami is better, but Labels has better brisket (by a lot) and I'd say more than competes in other sandwich and bagel/fish categories. Labels also puts more than a single thin slice of cheese on your sandwich if you like cheese. You can certainly ask them to slice your meat however thin or thick you like. I also find the bread at Labels to be twice cooked or extra crusty somehow and better than standard, if not quite as good as Langers. Bruce (the bearded "deli man" manager at Labels) is super accomodating with extra plates of half sours (pickles, 2 kinds, better than Langers) and whatever else you want. You can be sure he has some really fucking finicky customers with his quasi-geriatric circuit clientelle. Nosh, there has been some recent hubbub here for the pastrami at Greenblatts -- give it a shot. So juicy and delicious. When I went to NYC, everyone said "Katz, Katz, Katz..." and well Carnegie was sliced thinner but my opinion, was better...i know these are fighting words for some and some agree. If pure pastrami is your measure here, give our friends on Sunset Blvd a shot. More expensive than Labels, but better pastrami.

                                                1. re: jessejames

                                                  There is something to be said about Carnegie Deli's Woody Allen Sandwich (think: over two pounds of pastrami and corned beef piled high on thin, double-seeded rye bread, a two-fisted, kniffe and fork sandwich if you will).

                                                  If you can eat one of those and still have room for an order of fries and a slab of cheesecake, then you are a better man than me.

                                                  1. re: kevin

                                                    Size matters! But I love the pastrami there. Katz hotdogs way to go there.

                                                    1. re: jessejames

                                                      I had the pastrami there, after a pie from Lombardi's and a bowl of soup from Shopsin's and two diet dr. brown's cream soda to wash that shit down.

                                                      Damn, just hit up Shunji's, great great great stuff.

                                                      I may follow up with a brief report.

                                                2. Langers, Nate'n Al's, and many more in LA and accross the Country get their Pastrami, pre spiced and smoked, from RC Provisions in Burbank. All the stores do is steam them for about 4-5 hours. They are far from made in house. Should taste exactly the same.

                                                  13 Replies
                                                  1. re: drsmoke

                                                    Should but the way Langer's steams it and hand slices it against the grain makes a world of difference.

                                                    I have heard that too.

                                                    Thanks for reminding us exactly where it's sourced from.

                                                    1. re: drsmoke

                                                      From the Amateur Gourmet..two things make the Langer’s pastrami sandwich great. One: the pastrami is steamed extra long (three hours, as opposed to the traditional 45 minutes) so it shrinks and becomes extraordinarily tender (avoiding the “smoked rubber band”). The other thing is the bread: it’s started at a bakery and finished there at Langer’s so the bread is crusty and wonderfully fresh.

                                                      Lunched at Langer's today….incredibly tender, smokey and spiced…and that double baked rye…so good. Even after 60 years still LA's treasure. Life is short...Go enjoy it.

                                                      1. re: wienermobile

                                                        Yes. Katz's pastrami is almost as good as Langer's but they don't used bakery rye bread that's crusty, piping hot, and fresh.

                                                        They grab a supermarket loaf of rye bread and take it straight out of the bag, which reminds me of when you go to an exceptional cue joint and get a few pounds of extraordinary smoked brisket they side the fucker with Wonder bread.

                                                        1. re: kevin

                                                          When I went to katz I ended up eating the pastrami only. Really, the bread there is a crime against pastrami-anity.

                                                          1. re: ns1

                                                            Exactly. I ate it all.

                                                            But then again, I'm a fat ass.

                                                            And that was after Lombardi's for an earlier lunch.

                                                            1. re: kevin

                                                              Kevin, im in awe...pizza before Katz' pastrami..youre my hero except that the last time i ate at Lombardi's 7 or 8 years ago, it had declined significantly...confirmed by my old pals at Slice...next time go to Keste or Roberta's or Paulie Gees in Brooklyn or even Di Fara...that way you also get a bit more recovery time!

                                                          2. re: kevin

                                                            The Wonder bread is traditional in some parts of the country.... Can't think of a BBQ place I've ever been to that had fresh baked bread.....

                                                            1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                              You are correct. Bad kevin.

                                                              My anology was not quite apt.

                                                              1. re: kevin

                                                                No your analogy was apt for you, you don't have to like the tradition, but nonetheless, tradition it is.

                                                            2. re: kevin

                                                              " when you go to an exceptional cue joint and get a few pounds of extraordinary smoked brisket they side the ____ with Wonder bread."

                                                              Kevin that is a Texas thing that will never change…Just enjoy the cue and toss the bread.

                                                              1. re: wienermobile

                                                                What a GREAT quote. "Just enjoy the cue and toss the bread."
                                                                That ranks right up there with
                                                                "Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."

                                                              2. re: kevin

                                                                <they side the fucker with Wonder bread>


                                                              3. re: wienermobile

                                                                <Life is short…Go enjoy it>

                                                                My daily mantra…
                                                                Go to the ends of the earth, and everywhere in between, to live a full life.
                                                                With outstanding food included.
                                                                Langers being one of many in this great city.

                                                            3. Langers does pastrami right.
                                                              Their rye is exceptional (double baked).
                                                              We just have to accept that the neighborhood around it has changed to Central America.
                                                              Central America has different cultural values than the Palisades. One has to accept these differences if one wants true thick sliced, properly cured pastrami in LA.
                                                              And Langer's is near a Metro stop! Not a 4 hour flight. (no TSA)

                                                              1. labels: $2.95 half pound steamed vienna beef hotdog with natural casing, served on fresh long onion/poppy egg roll, kraut onions, whatever you like -- hell of a deal and awesome dogmeat...usual price $3.25 also a heck of a deal for a great dog.

                                                                after a few lunches at shunji's time for something different!

                                                                6 Replies
                                                                  1. re: jessejames

                                                                    Mmmm, that sounds good, I need to get over there...

                                                                    1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                      BTW, you can ask for your pastrami or brisket extra fatty/juicy, have them cut it thick like the other guys, or whatever you like -- Bruce runs a good ship there.

                                                                      1. re: jessejames

                                                                        It's a ship ?I thought it was a Jewish deli.

                                                                  2. You lost me at the swiss cheese.
                                                                    Truly good pastrami doesn't need it.