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The Pastrami List 2014

LA Weekly's 10 best Pastrami Sandwiches in Los Angeles. The battle begins now..,
10. The Hat
9. Johnnie's Culver City
8. The Original Rinaldi's El Segundo
7. Brent's
6. Eastside Market and Italian Deli
5. The Oinkster
4. Jeff's Gourmet Kosher Sausage
3. Smoke City Market
2. Langer's
and
1. Wexler's deli
http://www.laweekly.com/squidink/2014...

 
 
 
 
 
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  1. It's ridiculous to have both deli / kosher style and non deli / kosher style on the same list.

    5 Replies
    1. re: JAB

      I'm ok w/ that. The real issue, for me, is them using this list and the smoked fish one as methods of washing Wexler's Deli's kosher balls. The timing was way too convenient. That being said, I do like the pastrami (and the smoked fish) at Wexler's. That rye bread though, could use some work.

      1. re: chrishei

        I agree and good point re the smoked fish list too. This reeks of bullshit "journalism." LA Weekly showing itself to be an advertising flyer and/or a platform for the unqualified.

        Related corroborative note: Wexler's pastrami sandwich doesn't even belong in the top ten period.

        Looking at the photo of the author on her twitter page, she weighs less than the sandwich I had at the Carnegie Deli. You do the math.

        Yes, I have a passion for pastrami and this list shows a passion for bullshit and lacking journalistic integrity.

        1. re: jessejames

          Right because someone's appearance is a good criteria to judge their abilities #sarcasm.

          1. re: Jase

            Fair point. So is don't trust a skinny chef or pastrami expert.

          2. re: jessejames

            I'm super skinny but I eat like a football player. All my fat friends are picky eaters lol

      2. I recently read someplace (on a blog I think) that Brent's will hand cut their pastrami "thick" for you. Do you know if that's true? I've never thought to ask. Definitely a different beast when a good quality pastrami is done in that thicker style cut.

        Here was a nice LA based pastrami article from 2012 http://nowimhungry.com/food-trucks-qu...

        2 Replies
        1. re: Servorg

          In my humble opinion Brent's deserved to be near the top. Next time I'm in I will ask for hand cut and see what happens.

          1. re: Servorg

            Maybe it was Chowhound :p I read it 2 days ago on the post 'Brent's cabbage soup' from 'Pitcher' about hand cut and extra thick options.

            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6096...

            I too didn't know that and plan to try both soon :p

            1. re: jessejames

              "What a load of shit."

              That would be a completely different judging contest.

              1. re: jessejames

                seeing OP eat thru the list a few weeks ago, yes, it'd seem there would be loads of it coming out the other end, especially because she did The Hat, Eastside italian and Brent's within 2(?) days.

                1. re: TonyC

                  The exact opposite effect may actually have taken place...

                  Tony, have you noshed on the pastrami at NY Famous Deli in Eagle Rock?

                  1. re: Servorg

                    *sigh*

                    KNEW this going to bite me in the ass terms of losing foodie cred (not that I had any). Was suppose to Saturday, but got a SWMBO veto. Oddly, they choose to open Saturday, but close Sunday.

                    More feedback would be lovely, and h/t to mst3k ( http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4838... )

                    1. re: TonyC

                      If you don't have any foodie cred I am so far in the hole I can't even see daylight at the top of that shaft...and the fact that they don't open on Sunday means that my getting there to sample the pastrami hovers somewhere between improbable and highly unlikely.

              2. Has anyone had the Pastrami at Smoke City, if it's anything like the Pastrami at Big Mista BBQ I'm so there.

                27 Replies
                1. re: wienermobile

                  This is some PR bullshit not passing editorial must(ard).

                  1. re: jessejames

                    PR? Pastrami Reuben? Any conversation about pastrami is in "good taste" as far as I'm concerned.

                    1. re: Servorg

                      Public relations. Payment for press. Wexlers and window dressing. That's my hunch. Glorified advertising.

                      1. re: jessejames

                        I've discovered that my taste buds can cut right through all the payments and glorified advertising without even breaking a sweat (although they do break a drool).

                        1. re: jessejames

                          Do you really think that's how it works?

                          1. re: jessejames

                            You can complain all you want about authors not actually knowing what they're talking about. That's more than fair.

                            The one fact I can assure you of is that the editor of the food section at LA Weekly does not give two shits (not even pastrami-constipated shits) about public relations, nor does she have any interest in being paid off for press.

                            I can go on a huge rant about the flaws of top 10 lists in food journalism, but at no point does that rant devolve into accusations of payment for press.

                            1. re: noahbites

                              Hey, don't you know when a food writer/publication doesn't mirror the personal bias of some of those on the Inter Web it can only be explained by an evil conspiracy of payoffs and low down skullduggery?

                              1. re: noahbites

                                whatever --- wexlers was number one with this rag before they even opened. there's lots of other kinds of backscratching and "friending" and promoting and tweeting that are different types of incentives. The relationship between the LAW and Wexlers is suspicious. More significantly to this hound, the pastrami is disappointing

                                1. re: jessejames

                                  Stick with, "the pastrami is disappointing." It is certainly the most compelling part of your argument.

                                  In my opinion, debating the quality of various foods with people who have eaten said foods is the backbone of this board. The quality of the people debating it is what makes this board great.

                                  I kindly encourage you to focus on the food itself and less on speculative accusations.

                                  1. re: noahbites

                                    I'm suspicious. That's reasonable. Crap pastrami rated number one. What's a bigger crime than that?

                                    1. re: jessejames

                                      getting opinions confused with facts?

                                      ;)

                                      1. re: ns1

                                        facts: it's two artisanal grassfed organic new breed cooks/chefs friending/promoting each other before the article is published; it's repeated LAW asskissing of Wexlers which started before they were opened and now spans three articles; the pastrami sandwich sucks.

                                          1. re: ns1

                                            in order:

                                            check the relevant twitter pages.

                                            check the three LAW articles

                                            try the sandwich.

                                            1. re: jessejames

                                              It's Pastramigate all over again….

                                              1. re: wienermobile

                                                at least we are focused on the important stuff

                                          2. re: jessejames

                                            Again, if you don't believe noahbites, Squid Ink's editor solely responsible for publishing that piece today is really one of the few remaining players in the non-pay-for-play food writing game.

                                            Trust this: not even free ramen nor Sichuan fried diced chicken would suffice as bribes, much less some PR freebies. it's ok to drop the mic and let this one die.

                                            1. re: TonyC

                                              Feel free. It's a bad article and the author and publication don't deserve praise.

                                              1. re: TonyC

                                                "one of the few remaining players in the non-pay-for-play food writing game." That's not true either, though. Tell me who you think is doing pay for play.

                                          3. re: jessejames

                                            Ha. I haven't actually tried Wexler's yet. Though I'm certainly curious.

                                          4. re: noahbites

                                            I haven't yet tried Wexler's either. But I intend to. From what I've read here, the bread is deficient, esp compared to Langer's. What I'm curious about is how the meat alone - just a pure tasting of pastrami with no condiments or bread - would stack up against each other (Langer's v. Wexler's).

                                            1. re: Wayno

                                              Get some slices of Langer's to go.

                                              Then set up shoppe at Wexler's and get a few slices,

                                              have a slut or two as a palate cleanser.

                                              that's what i'd do.

                                2. re: wienermobile

                                  good pastrami. it's cured and smoked. don't think it's steamed. very smokey. i'd put it towards the list. the one time i had big mista's pastrami, thought smoke city had it beat.

                                  1. re: wienermobile

                                    I've had it plenty of times and it is absolutely fantastic (though very much a completely different experience from a deli pastrami--much smokier and fattier).

                                    1. re: wienermobile

                                      Super peppery & smoked, but was rather dry the one time I had it.

                                      1. re: wienermobile

                                        I've had it several times and it is very good but tends to lean towards the drier side compared to most. They do hand cut everything so you can request thicker if you want.

                                        1. re: wienermobile

                                          The pastrami at Smoke City is my "go to" when I'm willing to make my own sandwich. (Their "fixin's" leave something to be desired). But when I have good deli mustard, a loaf of unsliced rye and great dill pickles, I'll pick up a pound of their pastrami and go to town. That said, at $17.70 a lb, it's possibly some of the more expensive pastrami going.

                                          1. re: wienermobile

                                            Have you been to the NY Famous Deli http://www.nyfamousdeli.com/ in Eagle Rock to try their pastrami yet? So much pastrami. So little time (probably due to how much pastrami I've been eating my time is shorter than it would be otherwise).

                                            1. re: Servorg

                                              tried to go today. out of pastrami at 1pm...

                                              1. re: cdub

                                                Hopefully that is NOT what they are famous for...

                                            2. re: wienermobile

                                              Why would they want the real competition listed? Only the obvious, langers.

                                              1. re: wienermobile

                                                Agreed. I like Greenblats a lot. Better bread than a Wexler.

                                                We were atWexler thus weekend and enjoyed it was the Ruben that was really really good. My four year old kept screaming stop eating all the sauerkraut!!!!

                                              2. I have had Wexler's pastrami both at Mezze and Umamicattsen but not a Wexler's Deli in GCM. Can anyone who's had it compare it to the others? The first two were very good but they sure couldn't beat Langer's for me.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: wienermobile

                                                  I can't speak to the pastrami but the budget and/or publicist are obviously better this go round.

                                                2. Just wondering about the methodology of picking "the best of...". Is it the opinion of the writer after tasting all of the above or a conclusion after a poll of several diners or some other "scientific" way? Just wondering.

                                                  5 Replies
                                                  1. re: selfportrait93

                                                    For this series, it's always chickswithknives eating through a filtered group, then writing about them.

                                                    It's great seeing her literally eat through these on IG. It's a money losing proposition, so at least you know she did it out of love/obsession/OCD/self-hate/world peace.

                                                    1. re: TonyC

                                                      Thanks TC
                                                      But, are you disputing the allegation that, say Wexler's at No. 1, is not pay-to-play and the author means to say it truly deserves that rating?

                                                      1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                        Of course he is. Do you really think that's how it works? That she's been paid off?

                                                    2. re: selfportrait93

                                                      Curious about methodology as well as it does seem like the author dismisses other sandwiches at places like Brent's and Langer's such as their reuben offerings. Did the author have the #19 or pastrami on rye like the picture shows? What are the other pastrami sandwiches that did not make the list?

                                                      Did the author include places such as Plan Check, ink.sack, and Gleenblatts or were they simply overlooked?

                                                      1. re: A5 KOBE

                                                        she doesn't even know what the #19 is, or the other delis...I know, Greenblatts only been around since 1926.

                                                    3. If this is the same as Ummamicatessen then I say it is good@ But you can tell by looking at the rye bread it is sub standard! Langer's Deli has the BOMB rye! Extea Bakery, a commercial outfit does amazing rye also, Extea is the old Pioneer Family! Great breads! To many PR firms and Publicists getting BS placement! Horse Thief BBQ is a great example! That stuff should be called Dog Food BBQ!

                                                      1. https://twitter.com/ChickswKnives/sta...

                                                        don't piss off people with knives??

                                                        Not calling you a heretic, calling you a ...

                                                        98 Replies
                                                        1. re: jessejames

                                                          Tony cracks me up (sometimes). Definitely this time.

                                                          When people write about things without having an appreciation (or working knowledge) of the foundation and context of their subject, you get this weird arbitrary mashup.

                                                          Seeing The Hat lumped in with Langer's is laughable-- not because one is superior to the other, but because they're two totally different beasts (that just happen to come from the same type of animal.)

                                                          This is akin to that time Clarissa Wei did conflated Mongolian hotpot with Taiwanese hotpot (and she should, theoretically, know better...)

                                                          Mr Taster

                                                          1. re: Mr Taster

                                                            "When people write about things without having an appreciation (or working knowledge) of the foundation and context of their subject..."
                                                            --
                                                            Rachel Narins has been catering, teaching, writing, etc. for a long time. She may not be famous, but to say she has no appreciation for pastrami is insane. She is also a card-carrying Member who has been to Wexler.

                                                            Some people I know still hasn't taken a bite of Wexler's smoked fishes. ;)

                                                            OTOH, The Hat is still disgusting, as is the Oinkster.

                                                            1. re: TonyC

                                                              her tweet:

                                                              "DEEPLY amused & biting my (very defensive) tongue over this CHOW reaction thread."

                                                              Tongue -- let's keep another great deli meat out of this LA Weakly (and yes, that pro-Tom Cruise puff piece you did a few weeks back was also BS PR).

                                                              as far as cooking, teaching, writing...looks like the whole new grass fed locally sourced organic such and such friends met and supported each other on the podium...her list shows she's not credible.

                                                              I do agree the lox at wexlers is dynamite.

                                                              1. re: jessejames

                                                                that pro-Tom Cruise puff piece you did a few weeks back was also BS PR
                                                                ---
                                                                me? or Rachel? *confused*

                                                                  1. re: jessejames

                                                                    ah, right. was it at least interesting to read? I found it heartening cuz deep down I also have an Napoleonic complex.

                                                                    1. re: TonyC

                                                                      Cruise piece came across to me as an advertisement/damage control piece to me...used to think these kind of magazines didn't need to go down that road and could be countercultural...now, it's delayed commercial cultural.

                                                                      RE this BS pastr-ocity of journalism...is it some kind of tell when a writer and the number one ranked subject "follow" each other on social media? are certain food people just exchanging pats on the back and forgetting about actual journalism? Where's Lester Bangs when you need him. He'd be all over this: woody bread and dried out pastrami.

                                                                      1. re: jessejames

                                                                        RE this BS pastr-ocity of journalism...is it some kind of tell when a writer and the number one ranked subject "follow" each other on social media?
                                                                        -----------
                                                                        Food writers following the restaurants they like to eat at. More at 11.

                                                                        1. re: ns1

                                                                          You shouldn't be friends with the subject and expect readers to find your opinions objective.

                                                                            1. re: ns1

                                                                              fair enough.

                                                                              also fair enough to laugh at this crappy article based on it's own lack of merit without even considering the biases etc.

                                                              2. re: TonyC

                                                                >> Rachel Narins has been catering, teaching, writing, etc. for a long time.

                                                                So has Joanne Weir.
                                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/903119

                                                                Mr Taster

                                                              3. re: Mr Taster

                                                                I'm going to call bullshit on this one.

                                                                The mix (and it's one that I really dislike) of places represented here is specifically filtered to offer a mix of pastrami styles.

                                                                You and I agree that the Jewish iteration of pastrami is king. I think we'd both go as far as to say that other idioms of pastrami are even gross. But that's an opinion and perspective.

                                                                To say that the author is just ig'nant because you don't like the places represented is silly.

                                                                1. re: cacio e pepe

                                                                  cacio e pepe,

                                                                  >> To say that the author is just ig'nant because you don't like the places represented is silly.

                                                                  That is not what I said. In fact, I specifically said the list was nonsense, "not because [Langer's] is superior to [The Hat], but because they're two totally different beasts"

                                                                  Rachel Narins' pastrami mashup is akin to a comparison of NY style pizza with Imo's.

                                                                  Someone from St. Louis might be OK with the comparison, but New Yorkers (the ones with the lengthy pedigree, legacy, and tradition of pizzamaking) are going to have a problem with it.

                                                                  It's totally legit to compare Totonno's to Patsy's, for example (or to make it analogous to LA, Vito's with Joe's). It's an apples-to-apples comparison. All things being relatively equal, you can do a meaningful comparison of the relative texture and char of the crusts, the acidity vs. sweetness of the sauces, etc. because they're made in the same tradition.

                                                                  But to compare those pies with Imo's, which is characterized by a saltine-cracker thin crust, highly sugary tomato sauce, and "provel" (aka Italian-style Velveeta which is all but non-existent outside of Missouri, thank Jebus), doesn't lend itself to any sort of telling or meaningful comparison.

                                                                  If Narins had done a comparative list of LA style pastrami- again, pastrami made in the same style and tradition. (i.e. Comparing Johnnie's to The Hat), that's a-ok with me. No chow cred lost on that one.

                                                                  Mr Taster

                                                                  1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                    If she did do that she would have a few different lists because sometimes where's the exact cut-off line ?????

                                                                    for instance, should The Oinskter be in contention with kosher-style pastrami or dirty fast food pastrami or is there a third category that it can be boxed into ??????

                                                                    just saying.

                                                                    but i do get your oranges to apples and apples to apples thesis framework.

                                                                    1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                      I don't think this whole "comparison" deal is going to be presented as a peer reviewed journal article in which the pastrami under discussion in the LA Weekly is going to get sorted out as "kingdom - phylum - class" with DNA being the defining characteristic to finally get them properly profiled. If it's kosher, if it's not kosher, if it's from the Hat or you have the left overs under your hat on the way home from the pastrami lunch you just departed from.

                                                                      I say get a grip. Taste it and rate/rank it for yourself. And if you like it better then say so. But really, this is (channeling my inner Shakespeare) "much ado about nothing."

                                                                      1. re: Servorg

                                                                        I think it's much ado about something.

                                                                        though i do hate those shapskepearean words like "ado", etc.

                                                                        1. re: kevin

                                                                          I think it so much doo-doo about pastrami ratings...

                                                                          1. re: Servorg

                                                                            doo doo i get.

                                                                            but not "ado" those shapksepearean words rub me the wrong way.

                                                                            no joke.

                                                                            1. re: kevin

                                                                              "but not "ado" those shapksepearean words rub me the wrong way."

                                                                              The fault, dear kevin, is not in our stars (or our smoked meat)...But in ourselves

                                                                              1. re: Servorg

                                                                                yeah, it's just my stupid tastes.

                                                                                1. re: kevin

                                                                                  One last Shakespeare quote that fits this thread very well - "Cry 'Havoc!', and let slip the dogs of war" (sorry, kevin - my last ado! as I must be nearly as extinct as a Dodo).

                                                                        2. re: Servorg

                                                                          pastrami's a popular topic on this board and with me, and I'm not losing any sleep over some stupid article, but calling it out for what it is: complete bullshit.

                                                                        3. re: Mr Taster

                                                                          Thanks for the lengthy reply, but I'm struggling with it.

                                                                          In my mind:
                                                                          Ignorant = not having "an appreciation (or working knowledge) of the foundation and context of their subject."

                                                                          Sorry. I think you need to own that.

                                                                          I have no idea what your pizza analogy applies to. *If* Imo's was in NYC and not confined to the Midwest. And *if* someone was writing a top 10 list of slices in NYC. And *if* someone put Imo's on that list. Then you might have something. That's not the case here.

                                                                          Look, I think goyisher pastrami is patently disgusting. I don't get it at all. But the common trait in all of Narin's choices is that they are in LA. These are the best, regardless of style, that *she* thinks LA has to offer. Narin's is putting her name next to a list that claims if you go to all 10 of those places then you will get a broad range of the best that LA has to offer in the world of pastrami.

                                                                          I guess I just get sick of the personal attacks on food writers, writ small or large. In this thread alone, Narin's is accused of participating in the foodie equivalent of payola and of being too ignorant to even write on the subject (for shit pay, I might add).

                                                                          I'll say this about the list. I think Johnnies and the Hat are foul. I think Oinkster pastrami is just a failure. I also think the exclusion of Greenblatt's is unfortunate. Placing ordinals on the choices makes the list even worse. I think she *is* guilty of bad taste. I'm with you there.

                                                                          1. re: cacio e pepe

                                                                            it's a shitty article...she wrote it. it's a top ten with only ten candidates. she's putting her name out there, it's fair game. Payola is not what's being said - what is being said are that there are other issues/motivations besides what's the top pastrami sandwich that, to me, make it more than just bad taste but intellectually dishonest journalism.

                                                                            1. re: cacio e pepe

                                                                              >> I have no idea what your pizza analogy applies to.

                                                                              It could just as easily apply to an article where someone says "BEST PIZZA IN LA" and lists both Vito's and Hollywood Pies. You can draw no meaningful comparisons between the two, because although they're both called "pizza", and they both contain crust, sauce and cheese, they are altogether different foods. To weigh them by the same metric, simply because they can both be found in LA, gives the reader no meaningful comparison with which to compare. (i.e. how do you compare a great cornmeal crust to a great yeast risen crust? They're totally different foods. They have no common traits which you could measure, in order to determine which has the chewier crust, which has the best developed yeast flavor, which has the crispiest texture, etc.)

                                                                              If you want to call the article "DIFFERENT STYLES OF PIZZA TO BE FOUND IN LA", and then proceed to list where one can find exemplary examples of Chicago, NY, LA, etc., well that that's a different story. But to lump Chicago and NY pizza together as "pizza" illustrates a lack of critical thinking, or a lack of knowledge about the history and traditions of each of those types of foods.

                                                                              Mr Taster

                                                                                1. re: cacio e pepe

                                                                                  Chicago deep dish pizza is, essentially, a cornmeal crust casserole, while New York pizza is essentially a leavened, yeast-risen flatbread with toppings. I've made both at home (Cooks Illustrated recipes, both), and although they use a few common ingredients that come from a common source (Italian American tradition), they are altogether different foods.

                                                                                  In the article, Narins is taking pastrami made in the New York Ashkenazi Jewish tradition, and comparing it equally with this odd phenomenon of LA-goyische pastrami. Different preparation, different presentation, but from a common source.

                                                                                  Not sure what you're calling out as nonsense. I see them as directly analogous.

                                                                                  Mr Taster

                                                                                  1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                    Like ns1, I'm hitting the road here. I've defended a stranger long enough from claims of dishonesty, shoddy journalism, etc.

                                                                                    You choose to draw fine (and some not-so-fine) distinctions between types of pizza. But that is a choice that you make. Yes, Chicago-style pizza is quite different than Neapolitan style pizza. Imo's (your original comparison) is yet another style of . . . wait for it . . . pizza.

                                                                                    At what point are the distinctions meaningful or meaningless? How tightly conscribed do lists need to be? If we do a top 10 XLB list, shall we limit it to a list of pork filling? Is pork and crab muddling this too much? Should all lists take a cue from Serious Eats, a site that takes a nod (and some employees) from America's Test Kitchen, and put in "Methodology" section?

                                                                                    I'd argue that all of the above are subjective. But you want to know what's I find nonsensical, not just objectionable, from your post.

                                                                                    This: "But to lump Chicago and NY pizza together as "pizza" illustrates a lack of critical thinking, or a lack of knowledge about the history and traditions of each of those types of foods."

                                                                                    Perhaps it's the reader needs to think critically here. Each of the entries has a picture of the sandwich as well as a description of how the sandwich is prepared, how the sandwich is constructed, and from what traditions (if any) the sandwich comes from. Context is provided.

                                                                                    Again, you call out the expertise of the writer based on what? an inclusiveness that you merely don't care for.

                                                                                    I think goyisher pastrami is gross. It's still pastrami.

                                                                                    1. re: cacio e pepe

                                                                                      but it isn't Pulitzer prize material here

                                                                                      1. re: jessejames

                                                                                        I just read through each one of the restaurant write ups. Shoddy journalism? Really? Thought the piece was pretty entertaining for this little human interest subject. Did the author run over your pet frog while rushing to get to her next pastrami sandwich? Really passing strange that this little LA Weekly piece got you so riled up.

                                                                                        1. re: Servorg

                                                                                          maybe I got a little too much time on my hands today! it's not personal, but when your top ten is selected out of ten total and 6/10 stink, and you're the supposed expert, and the reader is a big pastrami fan, the juices flow...best wishes to the writer on the next piece (which I hope isn't corned beef).

                                                                                      2. re: cacio e pepe

                                                                                        >> At what point are the distinctions meaningful or meaningless?

                                                                                        In one way, you make my point for me... I alluded to this in one of my early posts, where I said comparing DiFara with Totonno is meaningful, but comparing DiFara with a Oaxan tlayuda is not, even though both are flat breads with sauce and toppings. When you take the history and tradition out of it, your comparative analyses are based on rather arbitrary criteria.

                                                                                        >> I think goyisher pastrami is gross. It's still pastrami.

                                                                                        I never said goyische pastrami wasn't pastrami, nor did I say that Chicago (or Imo's) wasn't pizza. They're all extremely different preparations of some very different foods that have, at some distant point in the past, a common Italian American heritage.

                                                                                        To attempt to draw direct comparisons between very different foods bound together because history has given them the same name, and because they have some distant common ancestor, seems arbitrary at best.

                                                                                        Mr Taster

                                                                                      3. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                        Like comparing the brisket my New York grandmother made for Passover with a smoked brisket from Texas.

                                                                                        1. re: ozhead

                                                                                          There you go.

                                                                                          If the headline was "Best 10 brisket dishes" and two of the contenders were Texas BBQ vs. foil braised brisket w/ onions, wouldn't you be left scratching your head at the absurdity of it?

                                                                                          I mean, they're both brisket, what's the problem?

                                                                                          Mr Taster

                                                                                          1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                            I mean, they're both brisket, what's the problem?
                                                                                            ------
                                                                                            nothing. they're both brisket.

                                                                                            1. re: ns1

                                                                                              It makes no sense. They're both brisket, but they're prepared so differently that they're essentially two different foods. You could technically throw some cholent into the mix and it would fit the title of the article, but still be nonsensical within the context of trying to do a side-by-side, ranked evaluation.

                                                                                              Mr Taster

                                                                                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                They're both brisket, but they're prepared so differently that they're essentially two different foods
                                                                                                ----
                                                                                                Except when it's not:
                                                                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9215...
                                                                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9068...
                                                                                                (unless you count the kosher cert)

                                                                                              2. re: ns1

                                                                                                Pastramis brisket too. So's corned beef.

                                                                                                1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                  So a food writer who does a ranked listicle of "Best briskets in Los Angeles" and ranks:

                                                                                                  1. Bludso's BBQ brisket
                                                                                                  2. Langer's pastrami
                                                                                                  3. Magee's corned beef
                                                                                                  4. Takosher brisket taco (w/ chili sauce, raisins, and sauerkraut)

                                                                                                  ...how do you do a meaningful analysis between the four? Where's the common ground? There isn't any. The list is a relatively meaningless mashup.

                                                                                                  Now, if you did a list of "Best Jewish Pastrami Sandiwches in LA"... set your ground rules as "pastrami on rye with Gulden's and a pickle", now we're cooking. With criteria narrowed, you can really dig into that.

                                                                                                  With those criteria in mind, consider this hypothetical listicle:

                                                                                                  1. Langer's
                                                                                                  2. Brent's
                                                                                                  3. Greenblatt's
                                                                                                  4. Roll N' Rye
                                                                                                  5. Wexler's
                                                                                                  6. Canter's
                                                                                                  7. Art's
                                                                                                  8. Nate N' Al's
                                                                                                  9. Label's Table
                                                                                                  10. Factor's Famous
                                                                                                  11. Pico Kosher Deli
                                                                                                  12. Izzy's

                                                                                                  With the criteria firmly established, a meaningful methodology is easy to work up.

                                                                                                  Thick/thin cut
                                                                                                  Tenderness/chewiness
                                                                                                  Saltiness
                                                                                                  Quality of seasoning rub
                                                                                                  Depth of smokiness
                                                                                                  Texture of rye
                                                                                                  Flavor of rye
                                                                                                  Pickle soft/crunchy
                                                                                                  Pickle vinegared/lacto
                                                                                                  Pickle quality of seasoning (i.e. too many "treif" seasonings like clove?)

                                                                                                  See? You can do a meaningful cross-evaluation on the Jewish pastrami list, because you're evaluating several of the same types of foods on common traits.

                                                                                                  You can't develop anywhere near as extensive or as meaningful an evaluation for the first wacky pastrami list, because they're really totally different dishes, linked by arbitrary criteria (i.e. "all can be found in LA, and are made from brisket.")

                                                                                                  Mr Taster

                                                                                                  1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                    cloves are treif ??????

                                                                                                    what's a listicle ???????

                                                                                                    And numbers 1, 3, and 4 aren't even pastrami.

                                                                                                    1. re: kevin

                                                                                                      Sorry, I meant "wacky brisket list".

                                                                                                      Mr Taster

                                                                                                    2. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                      Differences can be just as interesting, if not more so, to discuss as similarities. Too similar can be boring at times. It depends on the writer and the way the reader responds to their take on things.

                                                                                                      1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                        rather than try to make sense of it, i just say "the writer has no idea what he's talking about" and move on with my life; you can't please everyone.

                                                                                                        having pastrami/corned beef/brisket co-mingled in a single brisket article doesn't make sense to me, but having various types of pastrami compared on one pastrami list makes perfect sense. YMMV.

                                                                                              3. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                Pastrami is a method of preserving meat, ergo, any version of pickled, spiced and smoked meat qualifies. This from Wiki: Pastrami (Turkish: pastırma, Romanian: pastramă, Yiddish: פּאַסטראָמע pastróme) is a popular delicatessen meat usually made from beef, and sometimes from pork, mutton or turkey. The raw meat is brined, partially dried, seasoned with various herbs and spices, then smoked and steamed. In the United States, although beef plate is the traditional cut of meat for making pastrami, it is now common to see it made from beef brisket, beef round, and Turkey. Like corned beef, pastrami was originally created as a way to preserve meat before modern refrigeration.

                                                                                            2. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                              Also not understanding how Joanne Weir's TV show is relevant to Narin's writing/cooking/teaching.

                                                                                              1. re: TonyC

                                                                                                I like how this pastrami writer is a "teacher" --- she aint teaching pastrami

                                                                                                1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                  is anyone in LA "teaching" pastrami?

                                                                                                  Oinkster's pastrami was the result of having been "taught" by the master himself -- stuff of urban legends, btw -- and that's far worse than Wexler's.

                                                                                                2. re: TonyC

                                                                                                  Just saying that being a teacher and/or being famous doesn't necessarily mean much. (i.e. Joanne Weir, Guy Fieri, Sandra Lee, etc.)

                                                                                                  What does matter is what ends up on the page.

                                                                                                  Mr Taster

                                                                                                  1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                    There's a lot of fluff journalism out there, Tony. I ignore most of it, but when the fluff cuts too close to my heart, as Narins did with this thing, I'z jes gots to say something about it.

                                                                                                    Ultimately, if she reads this and takes my advice, all that will happen is that her future articles will be more focused, her analysis of restaurants will be more critical, and her pieces will be better written as a result. As a food blogger, I'd think you'd be on board with that.

                                                                                                    Mr Taster

                                                                                              2. re: cacio e pepe

                                                                                                I could use some advice distinguishing good pastrami from bad. I mean I know the stuff that resembles cold cuts is bad. But other than that, I've never met pastrami I didn't like. It's salty meat!!

                                                                                                This LA times list sucks because it is not helpful to someone like me. You all have very strong opinions about the places on this top ten and I'm left no better educated on where to get good pastrami and what standard to hold future pastrami.
                                                                                                The best I've had is Katz's in NYC but I'm sure everyone will say it's a tourist spot and therefore not good or whatever.

                                                                                                1. re: iheartcooking

                                                                                                  First question. Which pastrami places from the list that started this thread have you tried the "salty meat crack" at? If you've tried it at more than say 3 places, are you able to rank order them from worst to best?

                                                                                                  If you can't tell or you don't have a favorite then I think your plea about getting advice to distinguish good from bad is doomed to failure since the only one who can tell "good" from "bad" is you.

                                                                                                  And, if you can't tell one from the other as to which you like best, I envy you in some ways as that means wherever you go, there you are (having your favorite salty meat crack).

                                                                                                  1. re: iheartcooking

                                                                                                    katz's is super touristy but many pastrami fans would say it's the best. It's not my favorite, but top 5 still.
                                                                                                    Try Langers, Greenblatts, Nate n Als and Labels for starters for deli style pastrami like Katz's (and a range of prices and deli accomodations) and see what you think.

                                                                                                    1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                      The prices at Katz's have really shot up right now. Katz's Pastrami sandwich is $18.45

                                                                                                      1. re: wienermobile

                                                                                                        it's more expensive than Carnegie which gives you possibly 3X as much pastrami and katz-kissers (ne good people that prefer katz) aside is better and less touristy for this hound.

                                                                                                        ps photo for you wm

                                                                                                         
                                                                                                        1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                          Thanks so much . Do you know the current price of that sandwich?

                                                                                                            1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                              It all makes Langer's seem like a bargain.

                                                                                                              1. re: wienermobile

                                                                                                                Katz does but not Carnegie...not when you consider it's the size of two langer's sandwiches, at least.

                                                                                                                I like the flavor of Carnegie too, juicy and bit of sweetness but for all that meat it's not too salty that you're cooked afterwards...love langers, katz, Greenblatts but for me this sandwich remains the top dog.

                                                                                                                1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                  What does Greenblatts's currently charge for their pastrami sandwich?

                                                                                                                    1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                      ...At that price Greenblatt's is really a good deal

                                                                                                                      1. re: wienermobile

                                                                                                                        Labels is the deal at 8.50 sometimes 7.50 but a notch down in quality. Still 2x as big as langers

                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                      2. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                        The greenblatt's pastrami sandwich looks correct to me.

                                                                                                                        1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                          true but IMO unlke Langers where I always get the pastrami there's a lot of other good stuff on the menu that tempts me at Greenblatts esp the thanksgiving plates and that juicy dark meat turkey sandwich...the chicken soup also blows away langers.

                                                                                                                  1. re: wienermobile

                                                                                                                    Though Langer's is about a fourth the amount of pastrami.

                                                                                                                    1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                      Puny pussy California size. Good but too small.

                                                                                                                      1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                        Yes but Langer's is soooooo darn good.

                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                        1. re: wienermobile

                                                                                                                          Yes it is! I need to do the overstuffed there next time like greenbkatts. I usually get a side of corned beef hash.

                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                              2. re: wienermobile

                                                                                                                The prices at Katz's have really shot up right now. Katz's Pastrami sandwich is $18.45
                                                                                                                ---------------
                                                                                                                O_O

                                                                                                              3. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                Growing up near the ESB in manhattan, I grew up on carnegie which changed numerous times over the years. It was the pastrami which all pastrami compared to 25-35 years ago, then they changed owners/family and the quality was still there but the portion was cut in half literally. Then they increased the portion to normal but decreased the quality and increased the price. Last 2 times I went I'd consider the quality to have dropped like 70% from 30 years ago and the portion/price to be the same counting for inflation. It's sad when you think that Carnegie used to be king and now it's unfortunately considered below Katz. That being said, I used to like Carnegie's back in the day, then I had tried Katz and found it reasonable but not as good as Carnegie back in the day, but then after reading some posts regarding pastrami in NYC and reading Ipsedixit's recommendation of Pastrami Queen I had decided to try it for myself as it's the only one I hadn't tried in NYC. Judging just the pastrami by itself, it was easily the best I had in NYC in recent times, probably not as good as the original Carnegie's but damn close. The downside was everything else and by everything else I mean the location was BFE(UES), the seating area is a joke(maybe 6 tables all cramped) and the decor I believe was renovated in the past 10 years so it had no charm whatsoever. That being said, I go for food, not for ambience and I will go back there for Pastrami again to see if it wasn't a 1 time thing.

                                                                                                                1. re: polldeldiablo

                                                                                                                  id like to try pastrami queen. I've also been to the Carnegie for decades and agree somewhat up and down but up again now. I never liked katz better.

                                                                                                                  I think the gentrification of downtown and harry met sally is behind katz' popularity, and well the sandwiches are good too...

                                                                                                                  1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                    and so is meg ryan.

                                                                                                                    and that orgasm.

                                                                                                                    1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                      No question about the gentrification as when Carnegie was king, Broadway and off/off off Broadway plays were the Manhattan nightlife.

                                                                                                                      Also remember that the location of Kat'z even with the gentrification is far more desirable that Carnegie ever was for tourist purposes. It's just south of Soho, it's near Russ&Daughter's, it's near chinatown and st.marks place. Carnegie is near Columbus circle and Central Park which doesn't get the same kind of traffic.

                                                                                                                      1. re: polldeldiablo

                                                                                                                        exactly, but ironically, some folks say that it's Carnegie that's too touristy not Katz's.

                                                                                                                      2. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                        Katz's gets a lot more TV exposure. They are on the Travel channel in their eternally repeated shows such as America's manliest sandwiches. Have you ever tried the knockwurst there? Also called a "special" it looks like a really fat frankfurter with lots of seasoning and garlic. You dish some hot sauerkraut on it. Last time I was at Katz's (1995) I had one instead of pastrami. But I grew up in Queens so had my fill of Katz pastrami over the years. Years ago there were many neighborhood Jewish delis as good as Katz's. They were Kosher style same as Katz's although now that Katz will serve meat with cheese in a Reuben they are not kosher style.

                                                                                                                        Which means a deli with meats that are not kosher but other kosher rules are followed such as no shrimp salad on the menu. Or even bacon these days in Jewish owned delis desperate to stay in business! Kosher style also meaning no meat and dairy at the same meal

                                                                                                                        1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                          The secret item there is the knoblewurst -- I've had a few of these sent to me by a friend and it's awesome!!

                                                                                                                          1. re: gr8pimpin

                                                                                                                            !!! I never had one. It looks like a stronger (mo garlic spices etc) version of the knockwurst plus a bit dried out like hard salami that's been hanging

                                                                                                                            1. re: lastZZ

                                                                                                                              Here's what Katz's Knobleworst sandwich looks like...

                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                              1. re: wienermobile

                                                                                                                                That bread looks atrocious. But I like the meat. I like the hard salamis from Katz.

                                                                                                                                1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                                  My favorite hard salami has and still is probably 2nd avenue deli though their dine in seating area is ridiculous in the sense that even someone small and skinny would have a tough time fitting in the booths. Most of my hard salami experiences were buying the hardest one's available in Zabar's along with bagels at H & H

                                                                                                                                2. re: wienermobile

                                                                                                                                  Thanks! Not what I expected. I figured whole sausage between two rye slices. Instead the sausage is sliced. This looks like it has more umami than pastrami from the same place.

                                                                                                                                  This needs deli mustard and pickles to cut through

                                                                                                                                  1. re: wienermobile

                                                                                                                                    that looks a lot like a Joe Jost's specialist sandwich although Joe's has way less sausage in that motha fucka.

                                                                                                                                    and cheese, and it's only

                                                                                                                                    about 4 bucks or less at Joe Josts.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: wienermobile

                                                                                                                                      It tastes like a giant juicy kosher all beef dog, but meaty texture, a tad more garlicky, no casing yet the outside still got crunchy when we cooked it. I just ate it knife and fork with mustard and kraut.

                                                                                                                                      DELICIOUS!!

                                                                                                                      3. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                        If I may reply to my reply...

                                                                                                                        I think the real issue with this, as with many listicles, is that the piece lacks any real methodology to its analysis.
                                                                                                                        Each blurb in the Weekly listicle is a self-contained island, meaningless when applied to the broader context of the whole article.

                                                                                                                        Compare the LAW Top 10 pastrami thing with reviews on Serious Eats blog, where they make a concerted effort to establish hard criteria for their taste testing. See this evaluation of supermarket pepperoni:

                                                                                                                        http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives...

                                                                                                                        "...we are looking for a good balance of heat, spice, salt, and that characteristic spike of acidity. And while slicing your own has its advantages, it can also mean rounds that ooze more than a desirable amount of orange grease. So grease release is a factor and of course the coveted power to cup."

                                                                                                                        Compare that to Narins' stated methodology, such as it is:
                                                                                                                        "Choosing a "best" pastrami was exceptionally difficult." and "For our purposes, we didn't care if it was on a roll or sliced bread, but did judge the quality of the bread."

                                                                                                                        That's it. There is no stated methodology, other than "The best is hard to find, and we don't care what bread it's on, as long as it's quality!"

                                                                                                                        There is no analysis or discussion of what makes for the "best" pastrami, or "quality" bread.

                                                                                                                        She alludes to what makes "the best" in various blorbs, but ultimately we're left with an empty list of self-contained mini reviews rather than a cohesive piece.

                                                                                                                        I know Tony is defending her experience, but ultimately I'm evaluating what I see written on the page.

                                                                                                                        Mr Taster

                                                                                                                        1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                          Why can't we just accept "best according to my taste buds"?

                                                                                                                          1. re: ns1

                                                                                                                            because we're not writing articles for la weekly on the 10 best sandwiches in the city that tourists and other folks might actually rely on...wouldn't you be bummed if you were here from east BF, wanted a real pastrami sandwich, and got steered to johnny's or some of the other spots on the list? there's some journalistic responsibility at issue here.

                                                                                                                            1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                              "because we're not writing articles for la weekly on the 10 best sandwiches in the city that tourists and other folks might actually rely on...wouldn't you be bummed if you were here from east BF, wanted a real pastrami sandwich, and got steered to johnny's or some of the other spots on the list? there's some journalistic responsibility at issue here."
                                                                                                                              ---------------
                                                                                                                              I got pretty mad after I ate at Katz; there is never a guarantee on food because 1) no restaurant bats 1.00 and 2) tastes are subjective. I'm sure some old jewish curmudgeon will read some other LA publication, go to Langer's, buy a #19 and be disgusted.

                                                                                                                              it's just 1 food writer and their opinion. FFS maybe Brent's is #7 on the list because it's out in BFE Northridge.

                                                                                                                              1. re: ns1

                                                                                                                                of course never guarantees and I agree nobody bats 1000.

                                                                                                                                what's wrong with calling out this writer on her crappy article? should be expected.

                                                                                                                                ps taster disagrees but I prefer Carnegie in nyc, tho happy to be at katz also.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: ns1

                                                                                                                                    >> some old jewish curmudgeon

                                                                                                                                    Hey, I'm not old! :)

                                                                                                                                    Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                1. re: ns1

                                                                                                                                  We could.

                                                                                                                                  But then we would not have this philosophical epistemological phonological stick if the ical with your favorite variety type discussion.

                                                                                                                                  And then we'd be bored once again.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: ns1

                                                                                                                                    You know, if they named the article "Top 10 Pastrami Sandwiches that Rachel Narins' Foodie Group Likes the Best", I'd have nothing left to say.

                                                                                                                                    Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                      I'm pretty sure that's understood since "best" is subjective. but hey let's keep arguing about it so this post is perpetually at the top.

                                                                                                                          2. While the Hat has its followers, I just cannot understand how it gets placed on any list, as it is just so fatty and greasy.
                                                                                                                            Johnnie's is even worse, just dry and tasteless.
                                                                                                                            As to the other rankings, personal preferences always exist, and this was the list from her, and the PR hacks.

                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: carter

                                                                                                                              "While the Hat has its followers, I just cannot understand how it gets placed on any list, as it is just so fatty and greasy."

                                                                                                                              cuz sometimes what you want is fat and grease.

                                                                                                                              1. re: carter

                                                                                                                                For me, the Hat is naaaasty. Just thinking about Johnnies sends me to the latrine.

                                                                                                                                1. re: carter

                                                                                                                                  You know, I hadn't eaten at The Hat in years until last week when my Grandmother wanted to go. I recalled the pastrami being fairly greasy, but this time around I found it significantly less so. It was simply moist, tender, and very tasty for that style of pastrami. It's also the only time I've ever eaten pastrami with horseradish sauce. I found the sandwich strangely crave able in the end.

                                                                                                                                  I can see how it has its followers. And I generally hate chains of almost any kind.

                                                                                                                                  You do know that they dunk the Pastrami in au jus at The Hat though, right? You are not mistaking all the au jus for grease are you?

                                                                                                                                2. Seems to be a disconnect with the Langer's entry. The article says the No. 19 is the runner up but the picture and text erroneously describe the plain pastrami sandwich as the “No. 19”

                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: sunnyside

                                                                                                                                    all around sloppy work, and what I now expect from LA Weakly....comes across as bits of google mixed with bits of high pro PR blasts ...

                                                                                                                                    1. re: sunnyside

                                                                                                                                      That answers that then. I'd prefer a plain Wexler's to a # 19 from Langer's as well.

                                                                                                                                    2. I think I speak for many pastrami lovers in saying that having Oinkster, Smoke City, and Eastside Deli above Brent's is highly offensive.

                                                                                                                                      And what is justification for having places like Greenblatt's or Plan Check not on this list.

                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: A5 KOBE

                                                                                                                                        Oh my gosh yes to Plan Check's Pastrami Nosh!

                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                        1. re: A5 KOBE

                                                                                                                                          Greenblatt's is so much better than all of these places that it wouldn't be fair to let them compete.

                                                                                                                                        2. wow, original rinaldi's ?????

                                                                                                                                          i like that joint but ….

                                                                                                                                          i found the pastrami meat quite rubbery at eastise, but the meatballs were way better.

                                                                                                                                          jeff's is the closest contender that i've ever tried to languor's but that' only when jeff's was serving the OG style on the chalkboard, which is not to be confused with the pastrami thats on the orgindary menu there.

                                                                                                                                          i like the hat way better than johnnie's. though both are in the dirty fast-food pastrami vein, however they are not exactly fast-food prices.

                                                                                                                                          1. I guess it would just be unfair to let Greenblatt's compete because they're so much better than everywhere else?

                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                            1. I'll say this:
                                                                                                                                              1. Props to the author for writing about places she actually ate the food at. That's not *always* the case on these boards.
                                                                                                                                              2. We're looking at a 6:4 goyisher to kosher ratio. I respect the work, but I can't abide those results.

                                                                                                                                              35 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: cacio e pepe

                                                                                                                                                I don't think the author deserves props here.

                                                                                                                                                Did she eat at any other shops for this besides the ultimate "winners?"

                                                                                                                                                1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                                                  My guess is that it was a predetermined 10 and she just sorted them to her tastes.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: A5 KOBE

                                                                                                                                                    Then it should be called "top ten out of the ten we had." Begs the question, how were the ten selected? Well, we know Wexlers has friends at LAW. Others window dressing or selected for demographics or what? Author doesn't know what the number 19 is. that's kind of a tell as to expertise.

                                                                                                                                                    This writer/rag has tons of "public defenders" on this thread....good thing pastrami has defenders too!

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                                                      Again, it is purely speculation on my part.

                                                                                                                                                      And I am sure she knows what a number 19 is, just poor editing in a rush to publish?

                                                                                                                                                      Plus, how can you take a publication seriously when all they have is medicinal marijuana and escort ads.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: A5 KOBE

                                                                                                                                                        I wouldn't be so sure she knows what a 19 is.

                                                                                                                                                        pastrami weed and sex -- you forgot about liquor and rock and roll.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: A5 KOBE

                                                                                                                                                          <<medicinal marijuana and escort ads>>
                                                                                                                                                          Very amusing.
                                                                                                                                                          And Besha Rodell too!

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                                                                                                            Call me crazy, but I read a couple of her reviews and they were dry and boring and I stopped reading them.

                                                                                                                                                            She made my scrawls sounds half-way decent.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                              artisanal asskissery with knives isn't my kind of read and is off base for a pastrami expose -- sick these folks on red medicine! (sorry porthos!)

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                                                                Did wexler kick your dog or something?

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ns1

                                                                                                                                                                  ha, yeah don't mean to be mean.
                                                                                                                                                                  his lox is great.

                                                                                                                                                                  it's more about the pipeline he has with LAW that is annoying, and he's a business man so I understand it from his end, but the rag and it's list comes off as a joke.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                                                                    I don't believe that LAW is pay-for-play. I just think Wexler's and LAW have a common mutual hipster foodie affinity thing going on. Distasteful? Possibly. Annoying? Sure. But not sinister.

                                                                                                                                                                    Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                      not sinister but below the line of actual journalism.

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: A5 KOBE

                                                                                                                                                            Soon enough I'll be looking for a medical escort (to push my 3 wheel trike to my numerous Dr.'s appointments) and something that will enhance what's left of my rapidly fading memory - so the marijuana idea is out...Changing over from the LA Weekly to AARP Publication undoubtedly.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                              Top 10 diabetic pastrami sandwiches in Los Angeles?

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                                                        My point is that many of those kvetching here haven't even covered the 10 that the author did. So many 'hounds chime in about stuff they read, not what they ate. Not pointing any fingers at *anyone*, but you know it happens on this board.

                                                                                                                                                        I don't know this particular, but I do know the author who was running those 30 in 30 articles (ex: 30 burgers in 30 days). You can criticize the choice of the 30 or 10 or whatever that were chosen, but the author actually ate at all those places in a short period of time. She wasn't relying on what other people said or past glory. She based her list on what she consumed around the time of the article. In my world, that's collecting a lot of data and using lots of current data is a great thing.

                                                                                                                                                        The problem for me is in the headlines, and let's remember that authors of articles rarely have much to say about those.

                                                                                                                                                        And what are we talking about here? Look, I don't think Wexler's is #1 or even #2 in the city. But it's damn good and one can make at least an argument for it. It's not like she's saying Izzy's serves the best pastrami in town. Wexler's is fully legit.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cacio e pepe

                                                                                                                                                          "Wexler's is fully legit" -- not for a pastrami sandwich, at least my opinion. It's a new shop that has some real kinks to work out and hopefully their pastrami sandwich will be as good as the bagel and lox someday very soon.

                                                                                                                                                          There are spots that have been operating since the 20's (ie Greenblatts) and the 40's (Factors) and others that leave half her list in the dust but weren't even considered...do I think Factors is top ten -- maybe not, but it ranks ahead of many on her list....

                                                                                                                                                          If the problem is in the headlines, then don't have a 'top ten in LA' headline for "LA Weekly"

                                                                                                                                                          A Pastrami crown in LA is really something to crow about, and I've got no problems with Langers wearing it historically, even though I tend to prefer Greenblatts, but at least I know a solid spot is getting some props and someone new to LA or a tourist reading the article won't be steered toward disappointment (as they will be here if they go to wexlers). This is a rinky dink new stand in the grand central market that nobody besides hounds and foodies really know about, and even they are lukewarm on it. Langers probably serves more pastrami sandwiches in a given week than this spot has collectively in its history.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                                                            I think your in the minority on this jj.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: JAB

                                                                                                                                                              I don't think I am. This top ten list is total bullshit.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                                                                I meant in reference to Wexler's not being fully legit.

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                                                              Last time I had a pastrami sandwich at Factors it was a pretty terrible experience. This was about a year ago, but I don't think I would go again as the ones I've been having at Lenny's far surpass Factors (and that's not saying all that much). I still really enjoy Brent's out in Northridge. It's all but impossible for me to get to Langer's based on their being closed on Sundays. I aim to try Greenblatt's again soon.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                im not a huge factors fan either -- just an example of a place that has a bit more knowhow and history than number one...in that hood, go to labels (also not on the list).

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                  factors was kind of rubbery right ???????

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                                    id say it's ok -- their lox is more than ok, quite good. labels is a block away, half the price and better for the meats.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                                      Factor's used to be great. Unfortunately it's been on a downhill trip the past few years….

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: wienermobile

                                                                                                                                                                        i think it was rubbery the last time i was there.

                                                                                                                                                                        a death knell for pastrami and yet i might just like the joint, slightly, because sometimes you happen to be in the area, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                                          I feel that the pastrami at Lenny's Deli in Westwood is actually an improvement over Junior's of the last few years.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: wienermobile

                                                                                                                                                                            juniors was way way too salty for me when I had it last

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                                                                    Well, you and I are in disagreement with Wexler's. I think it's top tier, though definitively not tops.

                                                                                                                                                                    But you're pretty locked in to hating on this list so I'll let you.

                                                                                                                                                                    Frankly, I wouldn't touch pastrami at 6 of those places.
                                                                                                                                                                    Still, pretty strong work overall.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cacio e pepe

                                                                                                                                                                      I don't have a beef if someone wants to put wexlers in the top ten, hey the new kid on the block...intellectual dishonesty rubs me the wrong way and pastrami is, well, an important subject. I'm pro-good pastrami and proud of LA's many good spots to enjoy it...id be bummed if I were new to town or a tourist and used this list as my guide.

                                                                                                                                                                      If you wouldn't touch 6 of 10 how can u call it strong work

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                                                                        It's okay man - take a deep breath, go to Shunji, then take another deep breath when the bill comes.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                                                                            i've never seen that clip nor movie before.

                                                                                                                                                                            i cracked up a little at the end of the clip.

                                                                                                                                                                            i wondered if it's dated or still holds up real welling.

                                                                                                                                                                            And to keep it chowish, what drink was he guzzling at top speed ????

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                                              that would be jack daniels.

                                                                                                                                                                              great film, one of my favorites.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: chrishei

                                                                                                                                                                            hahaha.

                                                                                                                                                                            hey you might even get lucky and fortunate to have a taste of Shunji's take on pastrami.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                                              im sure it would be better than 3/4 of the top ten

                                                                                                                                                              2. Brix at the Shore in Long Beach on 2nd has a pretty good pastrami. I'm not usually a fan as I think it's sometimes too peppery but theirs is good & they griddle it so it has nice crispy ends! Definitely worth a try!!!

                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: loreeLB

                                                                                                                                                                  Brix is beyond horrible. Except for beer.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: JAB

                                                                                                                                                                    you beat me to it.

                                                                                                                                                                    brix is more of a craft beer bar, everything else there is mere window dressing

                                                                                                                                                                2. Lots of well placed cynicism here.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. As l have mentioned before my experience with West coast pastrami, looking at those pictures makes my case very easily.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. I really disliked Wexler's. It's the same stuff they had at Umamicatessen. The pastrami is dry and stiff without much flavor; the bread is just blah. It doesn't hold a candle to Langer's juicy, succulent pastrami and amazing bread. It was sort of sad that Wexler's tried in vain to pay homage to Langer's (Wexler's "MacArthur Park" is a sadly unsuccessful attempt to replicate the Langer's #19).

                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sku

                                                                                                                                                                        yes and you can see that in the photo of it...but it's "artisanal" and they are new bff's with the LAW.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. I'm out of this thread now; fastest CH thread in recent memory. my final comment: some of you guys take this way too seriously.

                                                                                                                                                                        8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ns1

                                                                                                                                                                          it's just good fun talking about pastrami and it took a terrible article to bring out a lot of passion...bottom line: I just feel let down because our city has such great pastrami and this didn't do it justice by a mile so this hound had to step up.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                              mighty mice in this case...im hardly alone

                                                                                                                                                                              pastrami has to be one of the most perfect foods....don't fuck with it!

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                                                                                One cannot possibly "fuck with" personal taste...no matter what verbiage one brings to the party.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                  some bad food writers glean bits and pieces off google, other marketing/online stuff and closed groups of samples, that even their own writing seems so inauthentic as to be devoid of their own personal taste.

                                                                                                                                                                                  This article just reeks "bullshit" and not even personal taste of the writer. when it's that fake, you shouldn't be writing about a subject.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ns1

                                                                                                                                                                            Pastrami can do that to a 'hound.

                                                                                                                                                                            Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ns1

                                                                                                                                                                              But....but....but... we're talking about pastrami here.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: TheOffalo

                                                                                                                                                                                just wait for the long awaited Asian box review...it's coming.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                                                                                  That was easy, took me all but 2 minutes

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Langer's pastrami on rye
                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Brent's black pastrami reuben (grilled sauerkraut)
                                                                                                                                                                                  3. Langer's pastrami reuben
                                                                                                                                                                                  4. Ugly Drum pastrami on rye (plain with mustard)
                                                                                                                                                                                  5. Langer's #19
                                                                                                                                                                                  6. Langer's pastrami and chopped liver
                                                                                                                                                                                  7. Greenblatt's pastrami on rye
                                                                                                                                                                                  8. Wexler's pastrami on rye
                                                                                                                                                                                  9. Plan Check pastrami nosh
                                                                                                                                                                                  10. Capriotti's Cappapastrami

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: JAB

                                                                                                                                                                                      and fired :)

                                                                                                                                                                                      both no 9 and 10 are no gos.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                                                        hey 8/10 that is a passing grade..haha

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: A5 KOBE

                                                                                                                                                                                          pls tell me about that cappriotis number...I walk by that spot on Wilshire all the time...and I finally got up to brents in Northridge...what a gem

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                                                                                            It is a poor mans rendition of Langer's #19. I mean, take it for what it is worth. I like the sandwich as a whole, but the pastrami is just meh.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: A5 KOBE

                                                                                                                                                                                              around the corner from the capriottis on Wilshire in bh is that new paninoteca spot....friend had the pastrami...looked good if maybe a bit too well trimmed for my taste...I'm going to check that out next time I go.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: A5 KOBE

                                                                                                                                                                                                a5, do you like capirotti's pulled turkey sandwich ???? i think it's called the bobby.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I hit Capriotti's from time to time b/c it's so close to work. I often get the Bobby, but the turkey is always pretty dry. I prefer the meatball sub. Will try the pastrami next time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Wayno

                                                                                                                                                                                                    it's weird that subway is right next door almost, but then again they're not really competing for the same customers. i think.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                                                            The beauty of the choices by A5 is that no one is going to force you, me or anyone else to eat any of them against our will. Just like the LA Weekly selections. So no wucking forries...

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                              but unlike kobe's, the LAW is relied on by many non-hound members of the general public that are being misled by a list that has magazine cover credibility. Noone's getting hurt, but the public could be served much better....next year they can hire kobe.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: A5 KOBE

                                                                                                                                                                                          Excellent list. I'll be needing to try Ugly Drum.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Okay NOW I'm out.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Wondering if the CwKs are still biting their tongues 177 posts in.

                                                                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: JAB

                                                                                                                                                                                        the comments on the LAW page weren't far off from here.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Right up there at #1 would be today's hot pastrami at Label's Table on Pico. Huge mound of thin-sliced pastrami that kept falling out from the rye (admittedly more solid-textured in the middle and hard rather than crisp crusts than Langer's), nicely hot with proper ribbons of fat that made it moist and delicious. Maybe the best I've had there. A bit of a line, no parking spaces in the rear, and all tables occupied shortly after 1. I sat at the counter towards the right/rear and a guy sat down a bit after me. He ordered the brisket and liked it -- first timer, read about it being better than Factor's on Yelp (of course I told him about Chowhound). I challenge anyone to find as good and big a pastrami sandwich for $8.50 + tax (counter service, so minimal tip).

                                                                                                                                                                                          24 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: nosh

                                                                                                                                                                                            AYCE half sour or full sour if you ask Bruce for a big plate. Nice deli and pastrami

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                                                                                              I was going to ask him about the pickles. My sandwich came with a split small pickle on one side and a half of a bigger one on the other. All good.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: nosh

                                                                                                                                                                                                I like the half sours. Just ask for a plate of pickles. Then another if u like. Bruce is very accommodating and keeps his demanding customers happy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: nosh

                                                                                                                                                                                              Gave this place a shot on Saturday. Pretty good but the pastrami was saltier than I like, almost to the point of overwhelming the smoke and pepper. I actually preferred my gf's corned beef on rye. Will agree that the value is killer although negated a bit by the tiny side of coleslaw that cost $1.25.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: nosh

                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm in no position to speak but...

                                                                                                                                                                                                Not nearly as good as Jeff's Gourmet when they smoke/brine their own, not as good as Greenblatt's, and with none of the history/fame/I-don't-know-the-proper-word of Nate+Al (which is also thin sliced).

                                                                                                                                                                                                In terms of QPD ratio, it's surely unrivaled at $8.50, but after couple of times of asking for-thick sliced fatty ends, I found no need to return since Kosher Corridor is further than Langer's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                And what is it with jessejames/Mr T & free pickles? How many half-sours can one eat in 1 sitting that you guys need AYCE pickle service?

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: TonyC

                                                                                                                                                                                                  tony - I tend to agree on the pastrami, but believe their brisket is the one to get. so juicy. and au jus on the side too if you like. I also like the hard salami and other stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  pickles, I can take down two or three whole ones. they are quartered, so a whole plate or so. what can I say I like pickles. also, if it's free, it's for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  their pastrami easily better than most of this dumbass list tho.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                                                                                                    pickles, I can take down two or three whole ones. they are quartered, so a whole plate or so. what can I say I like pickles. also, if it's free, it's for me.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    ---------
                                                                                                                                                                                                    WOW

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ns1

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Three full sours with a full pastrami sandwich sounds about right. Particularly if you've ordered fries, it's great to have something vegetal with which to cut the richness of the meat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Bite of pastrami, bite or two of pickle. How long do you think you can sustain that patters with one flimsy spear?

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Three full sours with a full pastrami sandwich sounds about right. Particularly if you've ordered fries, it's great to have something vegetal with which to cut the richness of the meat.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          ------
                                                                                                                                                                                                          like cole slaw?

                                                                                                                                                                                                          ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ns1

                                                                                                                                                                                                            On the side, sure! Although cole slaw is fatty, so it doesn't cleanse your palate the way a good briny lacto-fermented pickle does.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ns1

                                                                                                                                                                                                              ns1, w/b to the thread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              3 full pickles is insane. y'all pregnant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              jj, brisket @ label's well noted. but it seems to come with MAYO? am i hallucinating? did the law change? or was it a customer request?

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: TonyC

                                                                                                                                                                                                                3 full pickles is insane. y'all pregnant.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                -----
                                                                                                                                                                                                                i lol'd

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ns1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yeah. I fucking cracked up too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And then got disgusted:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Mayo with pastrami ????

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Katz’s menu warns that a request for mayonnaise with a pastrami sandwich is made “at your own peril,”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: ns1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    pregnant may be how I look after too much time in one of these delis!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. re: TonyC

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    mayo no way dude.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    on rye, side of au jus, some horseradish. the onion roll they have there is pretty nice with the brisket too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Being a mayo-phobe, im pretty specific how I want things there and never an issue...they usually ask, mustard? or whatever....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    on the brisket, ask for the juicy part. Bruce knows what I like...one time out of 10 or so I got some grey out dry strips, but they were replaced quickly...usually so damn juicy and tasty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The guy who sat near me at Label's ordered the brisket and liked it. He said he wished he could order a half pastrami and half brisket -- told him I'd join him the next time and do exactly that! ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: nosh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Been there done that! I like brisket Swiss and hard kosher salami best. Try the au jus

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                                                                                                                me too, just give a jar of those suckers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. re: TonyC

                                                                                                                                                                                                                most of the delis just keep bringing the half sours and sauerkraut if you happen to ask for more.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I agree. I love those half sours at labels and nate n als. they don't have that kind in lots of the delis including (pretty sure) langers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: TonyC

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  >> And what is it with jessejames/Mr T & free pickles? How many half-sours can one eat in 1 sitting that you guys need AYCE pickle service?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm a full sour guy, btw.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The unlimited pickle tray is just one of those things that's expected to be included in the cost of the sandwich. It just is.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  How would you feel if they started charging you extra for panchan? Same deal. It's just an expected part of the meal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  When people go fucking with custom, it's going to ruffle feathers. Especially when it hits people in the wallet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                              4. Following this from afar in lovely SD, Wish we had enough decent pastrami to bitch which one is better. Used to live in LA till about 20 years and still come up to visit mom. I saw Johnnie's on the list and I nearly choked, the only time we would go there was if Tito's was closed and we were already pickled. I don't see any love for Art's out in Studio City, before Brent's came in, it was the deli in the valley. Of course I haven't been there in 20 years but I thought it was better than Greenblatt's which seems to be getting some love.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. btw, for those of you looking for "hat" style pastrami, you should get the pastrami sandwich from Deano's. It's a Philly-hoagie style truck; I have no idea what type of purveyor they have for pastrami, but it's delicious. Not salty, not greasy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  pastrami/pickles/cheese/mustard, $10.50 for a full sandwich (12"?)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ns1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Nice looking hoagie!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks, ns1.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Since no one else appears they want to stick up for Johnnies pastrami on Sepulveda, I will do it. I think they are great; pricey but great. And they have the best chili cheese fries with onions, in LA. I have tried every single one of the ten except Wexlers, and I would get Johnnies over every single one. And as to the different types, if I wanted a kosher style pastrami, personally, I would go to Labels over Langers, though I acknowledge the cult status of Langers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    16 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Bruin2

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I've had the pastrami dip at the Adams location. To me it's greasy and good once in a while like an oki dog. I like the kosher style better tho. Seems more like "real food"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Bruin2

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I will have to disagree. I'd love to love them. They are within walking distance. In younger years, we used to stop there for late night food on the way back down to OC after jaunts up to Hollywood.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Now even with the sauce of nostalgia, it's not even palatable to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Bruin2

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Having recently had a decent chat with a Vienna Beef rep, I can say Johnnies sell more Vienna pastrami than any other restaurant/stand/shack/whatever in all of US. They have a guy who dedicates his life just to shaving VB's pastrami and placing it into the jus.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          OTOH, while it may be the king of grease bucket/ fast food pastrami in LA, it is so absolutely below Greenblatt's/Langer's it doesn't belong in the same sentence.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: TonyC

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I don't think the Johnnie's on Sepulveda in Culver City is associated with the one on Adams much further east. Am I mistaken?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Jase and TonyC, which are you referring to?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: nosh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              They are not associated with each other.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: nosh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm pretty sure we're both talking about Sepulveda, CC.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                This one:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                http://www.johnniespastrami.com/JPMen...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                whose pastrami is seen here:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                https://www.google.com/maps/preview/u...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: nosh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  i don't think they are related.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  but both suck in my worthless opinion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  johnnie's reminds me of the hat. but the hat is 100 x times better of course to go along with the pastrami chili cheese fries all the fucking way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I was in Pasadena last week fairly close to the Hat. When I asked for directions, was advised to hit Tops instead. (Didn't end up at either.) Any comparison Hat vs. Tops?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: nosh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Tops pastrami sucks, worse than the Hat's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      And they refuse to make a pastrami reuben. WTF

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: nosh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Tops... No thanks!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I go to The Hat in Simi. Chili cheese fry is huge!! Single order is more than 3 normal :-) people can eat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: nosh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          You do have to be careful to go to "the original Tops" rather than that other Tops. The original one is better - still nothing compared to homemade, but at least not a disaster. I thought the Hat was awful the one and only time I went, which was in...1991 I think.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: nosh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I was referring to the Culver City one. I haven't been back in a while but PaulF mentioned there were other items on the menu that was worth it. Just can't remember right now what they are. His tastes and mine tend to align a lot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Jase

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          When I go to JP on Sepulveda I order a corned beef sandwich on a roll, which I feel is better than the pastrami because the latter can be unpleasantly fatty, with rubber bands of fat. The CB is leaner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          If I don't get that, I order something with chili -- either chili fries (great greasy booze mop) or a chili dog. Sometimes I just get a hot dog with mustard, onions and relish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It's not a drive across town for the food kind of place. But, as you know, I live in the neighborhood. It's fine for an indulgence once in a while.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: PaulF

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Good pastrami should be fatty but if the fat is like rubber bands, it's likely because JP doesn't steam it long enough (if they steam it at all).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Lean pastrami, though, would be a fail from the outset.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: The Professor

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              That may be my only complaint about Brent's: many times I have had it way too lean, trimmed of almost all the fat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Bruin2

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I LOVE JOHNNIES! I just don't think of it as a Jewish style pastrami like Langers. It's awesome, just different. Pastrami dip using shaved fatty yet flavorful meat!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I crave this place often.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Fries and some awesome pickles... Think I'm going to go there tonight!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. FYI Some Pastrami News: Norm Langer will be appearing on ESPN LA 710 this Friday morning in the 11 o'clock hour to discuss the pastrami wager between Chief Charlie Beck and NYPD Police Commissioner William Bratton. If the Kings win, Bratton will treat Beck to lunch at NYC’s Katz’s Deli. If the Rangers win, Beck will treat Bratton to pastrami at Langer’s Deli.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. No one mentioned this aspect of the list but, is this author effectively saying that the James beard's board has no idea what they are talking about by putting Wexler above Langer's?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Also as far as people criticizing this article, I personally only take articles about food seriously from publications dedicated to food. Such as being from NYC, I ignored ALL NY times writeups for restaurants. IMO if a publication has a section for food, then their opinion on a restaurant is solely based on 1-2 people as opposed to the peer opinion of everyone from that publication and therefore has less weight.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Just my 2.1 cents.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        15 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: rachaeln

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sorry for the beating you took. Pastrami is all passion. Wishing you well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Look at JJ being the pacifist!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It's a proverbial kumbaya. Group hug people, group hug.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Let's try to make it to 300 posts…almost there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: TonyC

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ...side by side on my piano keyboard, oh Lord, why don't we...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      In th words of an unknown Angel Island poet,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "One has no time for friends with such narrow views..."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: rachaeln

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    oh, i just realized you were the writer of the list.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ok.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: polldeldiablo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Damn is that what I was doing wrong all those years ago when I took Jonathan gold seriously even though he didn't write for a publication solely dedicated to food? #sarcasm.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Jase

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      You see j.golds following list recently? He must be paid off by half of LA.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ns1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        *shrug* years ago when I was just starting to learn about food, he was a big resource. If I had ignored him because he didn't write for a food publication, I would not be as far along in the path of learning.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        And in general, I find it amusing that if there is disagreement on a subjective topic, then there must be a nefarious reason or character defect.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Jase

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        There are obviously exceptions but it generally holds true for me, such as there are exceptions to the idea that a ethnic restaurant patroned by people of that ethnicity is generally good such as Yank Sing in San Francisco which has nearly no asian but that's mostly because it's $5-9 per dim sum and is far from chinatown.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: polldeldiablo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'd rather have one or two solid knowledgeable people whose tastes align with mine instead of a large quantity of herd mentality who happen to have a popular stamp of approval, regardless of medium.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I also find it a ludicrous idea in general principle that a restaurant will be good because its full of people of that ethnicity.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Just curious... Does anyone know what

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "Some of the best around is being made in ugly drums by Korean-Americans"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      is in reference to? I always wondered if there could be some interesting takes on pastrami with different spices, smokes, etc...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: andytseng

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        They've done some pop ups at Mendicino Farms. I described it as the love child of Langer's and Bludso's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JAB

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Perhaps, more accurately, the "love handles" child of those two dandy randy places...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JAB

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I thought that it might be a reference to Ugly Drum, but the guys that make the pastrami definitely are not Korean American. But I guess the chef at mendo might be?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: JAB

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Photos from the Ugly Drum Pop Up at Mendocino Farms. I hope they return.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. my bad. i thought we were already at about 298 or 299.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Just for a comparison here is Yelp's current best in LA Pastrami…but Brent's & Greenblatt's are no where to be found.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Langer's
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. East side Italian Market and Deli
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. New York Famous Deli
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            4. Lable's Table
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            5. Johnny's Culver City
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            6. Canter's ?????
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            7. Oki Dog
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            8. The Oinkster
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            9. Wexler's Deli GCM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: wienermobile

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Not really responding, just trying to help Kevin realize his dream of 300 pastrami related posts. (Still 25 short, sorry kev)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Steve2 in LA

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                With the thread barely a week old, I predict 400 easy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: wienermobile

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I stand by my statement, Brent's isn't highly rated because it's in BFE Northridge.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ns1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sound like a pyramid scheme of some type.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ns1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Definitely agree as Rocio's Mole de los Dioses would probably be much more talked about if it was in beverly hills/Culver city.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: polldeldiablo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Probably true.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I have yet to go, because it's incredibly difficult to get out there. It's in just about the worst possible location it seems like.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I need someone to keep reminding me about it... and I am willing to drive to places. So if I have trouble going out there, I imagine not too many people in the LA food scene are.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. As much as I like the flavor (though not so much the texture) of Wexler's Pastrami, I do hate the preciousness.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        First time I went there, they ran our of rye. Okay. Fine. I think it was their first week. They've been better in the meantime, but I was able to go earlier those times.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yesterday, they were out of pastrami. At 1:50ish. That's pretty unacceptable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Look, I get BBQ running out. It's a product that is best consumed fresh that day. But we're talking about a cured and preserved meat product. The very idea of the pastrami process was to increase the shelf life of the meat. There is no reason for this to happen unless the proprietor wants to artificially keep demand higher than supply. I'd say the brother's gotta get his sh*t together, but it all seems like a choice Wexler is making to keep that buzz going.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        My idea was to do a Louis CK style bang-bang with Wexler's followed immediately by Langer's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I consoled myself with a Belcampo burger instead (gotta say that clove sauce/ketchup is growing on me). The Langer's Hot Pastrami sandwich was as good as ever, which is to say perfect. A happy ending after all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        17 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cacio e pepe

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          when you run out of shit, you also stretch the product with puny sandwiches for extra cash...I couldn't agree more.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          And CEP, big Louis CK bang-bang fan here too -- nice job! I'm sort of feeling sushi/Mexican today...bang bang can be an upcoming post for u!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I can see a Kiriko ---> Tacos Punta Cabras combo as pretty enticing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: cacio e pepe

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              CEP -- this sounds like a good play now after trying TPC. But could be room for a seafood bang bang bang, like a few dozen oysters at santa monica seafood afterwards?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Oh, man. That's outta my league! I thought I had an accordion for a gut, but bangX3 would break me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  kiriko for a few amuse bouches or gueles (including the smoked salmon wrapped around slabs of ultra-tripe mango topped with some caviar because why not gild the proverbial lilly and of course a pan of my tamagoyaki and some green tea or truffle ice cream as a palate cleanser) and then off to Mori for an omakase meal including a half dozen tuna varietals and some whipped tofu dessert then off to taco bell for a few bean and cheese burritos and then later on to Shunji's for the highly esyttemed and delicious tomato in dash broth, a few pieces of nigiri sushi, kegani crab, lobster tartare with truffles, bleu cheese balls (because why not ?????) and a trio of orders of chocolate mousse.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  and then off to valentino for some cannoli, tiramisu, and a capp, as well as a night cap.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  nuff said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  who's down ?????

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: cacio e pepe

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              cacio e pepe---
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The situation might be that he does not have a large enough walk in to make double the amount of pastrami. That really hot place in Toronto for a while, Caplansky's. He used to run out when he first started out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              You would think a restauranteur is more concerned with selling a lot more product (equals profit) than creating a scarcity buzz

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cacio e pepe

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1) i tried to have a belcampo cheeseburger with a wexler's pastrami dessert, but by the time i had my burger, the line at wexler's was way too long. not surprised they sell out. i wish i had done it the other way 'round when the line at wexler's was small/absent.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2) the ketchup at belcampo is revolting and ruins the excellent burger if you put any on it.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3) i feel really fortunate to live in los angeles, where a coterie of snidely whiplashes (whiplashi?) not only own and cook in restaurants, but also work in food media to conspire to make consumers miserable.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                thank god they have nothing better to do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: misterdudeguy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  coterie of snidely whiplashes ?????????

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Can someone translate this, please...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Kevin, it's a Rocky and Bullwinkle thing. I think MDG was attempting to be clever and pulled something.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I am surprised that Wexler's is selling out. Running out of bread, I can begrudgingly understand. Running out of a cured meat? No. Especially when said meat is what the place is building its brand on.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And I hated that clove sauce the first time I had it. But as long as I don't consider it ketchup, it's oddly growing on me. I can't explain it. It's a forbidden love.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cacio e pepe

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      it's cool you like that "clove sauce". i sure don't. look, see? the world didn't just end. i don't think there's any vast conspiracy at work, either. well, i can only speak for moi...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ain't it great people like different things?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      like, maybe, how some people like some pastrami, and other people like other pastrami?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      myself, i don't find wexler's running out of pastrami any odder than bbq joints running out of stuff. that's happened at some of the best bbq joints i've been to.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      let's see, and, i was at a restaurant the other day, and they had run out of a bunch of stuff on the menu. yeah, it kinda stinks, but it doesn't seem uncommon to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: misterdudeguy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You're of course entitled to your opinion. Of course the world won't end. And I'm not sure what you're talking about re: pastrami considering I've backed Wexler's product on this thread and I've backed the inclusion of goyisher pastrami in Narins's list, despite my personal distaste for that iteration if pastrami.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        And of course restaurants run out of items. Not uncommon at all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Wexler's is the first purported delicatessen I've seen in a lifetime of eating at delicatessens that runs out of it's signature product pretty much daily and at such an early hour.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        BBQ makes sense because it doesn't keep. Pastrami by its nature is meant to keep. Sorry, but if a deli is running out of their signature item on the daily then it's either because they can't figure out how to operate their business at proper capacity or they are happy to create a buzz. Despite what I find to be a lovely product, this is a legitimate complaint about Wexler's as a business. A complaint that directly affects the ability to enjoy their food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        See Dominique Ansel's Cronut for another example of either an inability or lack of desire to scale to meet demand.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You can continue to take a condescending tone, but I think you'll find you're standing in a ditch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cacio e pepe

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          i'm sorry, but since smoking and curing are both methods used for preservation, it's not clear to me why smoked meats don't keep but pastrami does. smoked meats, in my experience, can be held -- if done properly, of course -- with little or no loss in quality.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          me, i find it condescending to ascribe motivations to people i don't know. why is it impossible to imagine wexler simply doesn't have the ability to make enough pastrami to keep up with demand? why would this make anyone angry? frustrated and disappointed because they can't taste the food, sure. but angry?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          running out of foods is common in restaurants; isn't that just a fact?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          don't really understand the anger towards wexler, or, for that matter, me.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          maybe i'm not getting enough oxygen here in the ditch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: misterdudeguy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            You might not be getting enough oxygen. Don't know.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Couple of points:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            There isn't a serious Texas BBQ establishment that would agree with your take on smoked brisket. You're correct that smoking can be part or a preservation process, but the way brisket is prepared does not in fact preserve it for long term keeping. The smoking is for flavor, not preservation. What you're advocating is akin to serving a steak a day after it was cooked. Sure, it hasn't spoiled, but the product has fundamentally changed. There are some things that can and are done with leftover brisket, but it's unlikely to be served straight up. So you're wrong on that count.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Second, how ironic that you think it condescending to ascribe motivations to people you don't know, yet you're ascribing emotions to me, who you don't know. I'm not at all angry. Again, I've been to Wexler's half a dozen times since it's opened. Obviously, I like what they're doing though it's partly just an academic exercise. What I dislike is Wexler's failure to deliver product consistently. You're right. It's possible he just can't do it. That's bad. There are a lot if possibilities as to why Wexler's isn't getting it done, but he isn't.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            However, there have been a number of precious, hype-heavy restaurants, bakeries, etc, that thrive on the hype that limited supply generates. Wexler's seems to be operating in that mold. I don't like it. That's my call.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            And sure. Running out of food is common. Like, Plan
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Check runs out of beef patties all the time. For awhile there, Shunji was running out of rice at like 7PM. And remember when Zankou was running out of chicken before 4 o'clock? Oh. Right. That never happened. Point being, 86ing a dish that sold out is common. Selling out of your primary product on the daily before lunch is really over is at best amateurish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Not angry. Just calling it like I see it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: cacio e pepe

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              in my opinion, i feel differently about how mr. wexler acts and runs his restaurant than you do.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              in my opinion, i feel differently about bbq and pastrami than you do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              in my opinion, no one has written any facts here to persuade me otherwise.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              i apologize if you feel i've put words in your mouth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: misterdudeguy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I think we've established that our opinions about Wexler's are different. We can bump that into fact column.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                May you continue to enjoy day old BBQ brisket.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                May you one day eat the pastrami you are so vehemently defending. It ain't half bad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cacio e pepe

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  thank you for the kind words.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  i hope one day mr. wexler and his ilk stop torturing you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. I was thinking of making a list of my favorite fruits.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                So far I have:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1) Granny Smith
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2) Fuji
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3) Red Delicious
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                4) Jonathan
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                5) McIntosh
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                6) Braeburn

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I was going to include Valencias and Navels ... but figured some would say that's apples and oranges.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. From Yahoo Travel today. The eight best sandwitches in America. Guess what was #1?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  What: Hand-Cut Pastrami on Rye

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Where: Langer’s Delicatessen, Los Angeles

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  “This is my benchmark for all great sandwiches. The country’s best house-made pastrami combined with the country’s best rye bread. Order it hand-cut with a schmear of some deli mustard, and leave it be. With a side of extra-crispy fries and three ice teas, this is my favorite meal in the world. It’s simplicity at its finest, and in a world of over-stuffed, over-complicated sandwiches, Langer’s keeps it real with nothing but craftsmanship, history, and a dab of mustard.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  https://www.yahoo.com/travel/the-8-be...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  21 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: wienermobile

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    once again wm, nice photo and im ready for lunch

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: wienermobile

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It's been out for about a week. He lost me at house-made.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: JAB

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        True. Not really housemade, which is why Wexler's is much more ambitious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Still, Langer's does some serious magic with the pastrami they get. They put a ton of love into it, that's for sure. It's perfect!