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Aug 1, 2014 12:55 PM

Wexler's Deli - Yesterday

I was just reading about Peter Haller's go-to places. One was Wexler's Deli. Had a photo of their pastrami sandwich. Nice photo. Thick slices like Langer's. Unfortunately, that's not what my friends and I had yesterday. We were on a GCM tasting tour. The pastrami was chopped fine and incredibly fatty. Yeah, fat is good but not at a 50 to 50 ratio. At least not to me. Langer's still beats everyone, and edges out Katz's because of Langer's incredible rye.

We did have good burgers with eggs on them at Egg Slut. And a great carnitas taco at the place right next Egg Slut, right at Broadway. Sorry, I don't remember the name.

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  1. I really like those burgers too. I want to try that new carnitas spot also. were they crispy?

    1 Reply
    1. re: jessejames

      Not crispy but still excellent taste. Good citrus flavor but not overpowering.

    2. the carnitas place is Las Moreliana's - excellent carnitas and they cook the entire pig so you can choose your organ and meat. so good. sorry you were disappointed with wexler's. its on my to-try list.

      3 Replies
        1. re: tastycakes

          Loved the tacos at La Moreliana. Especially the pig intestines (forgot what is is called). My favorite in place in GCM! Yummmmm....

        2. Wexler's is another overated hipster joint...the bread is really not good, and the pastrami is fatty and not particularly tender. Also, the sandwich is already dressed with mustard - thank you, I'll take some spicy brown gulden's on the side.

          Unless you eat pastrami sandwiches on a regular basis and yearn for some variety, save you sandwiches for a plain old Langers (not the #19, which IMHO, ruins the entire raison d'etre).

          Also, at least dining at Langer's has an old school Jewish deli vibe...I'm not even sure how to describe eating at the GCM anymore.

          10 Replies
          1. re: manku

            And it was an odd tasting mustard. Eating at GCM wasn't really the problem. The incredible heat was the problem. I live in Culver City and I like air-conditioning, so the 105 degrees that it felt like, was a bit too much for me. I'll go back when it cools off. I have a story about Belcampo Meat Co., too but I will post that separately.

            1. re: manku

              Ashamed to admit, I had Langers for the first time a month ago. Definitely a revelatory 'hound moment - dang f'ing awesome pastrami!!!!

              I'm probably the only one on the board that didn't get wow'ed by Belcampo's burger. Pretty but a bit bland...

              The hipster joint invasion just doesn't do it for me. Tends to be overpriced and overrated.

              1. re: manku

                Here are a number of reasons why it is stupid to call Wexler's a "hipster" joint.

                1. The chef, Micah Wexler, has cooked at virtually all the elite restaurants in LA, and ones out of LA, including Joel Robuchon. He then went on to open one of the most inventive Mediterranean restaurants we've ever had in LA. He's extremely well respected among peer chefs. This is not some kid opening a bright orange truck.

                2. None of the food is a "twist" on deli--they are all traditional preparations.

                3. The crowd, especially on weekends, trends older and Jewish. I was just there an hour ago, and what I saw was the same thing I used to see at Junior's back in the day and other west side staples--UCLA hats and Jews in their 40s and 50s enjoying the food. It's not a bunch of "poets" paying 18 bucks for a sandwich.

                4. The pricing is eminently reasonable for the category.

                1. re: Haeldaur

                  whoa whoa whoa, let's not try to get logic involved here.

                  1. re: Haeldaur

                    I've never been to a Jewish deli that charges me for pickles.

                    Using this weekend's crowds probably not a good example - it was just reviewed in the LAT - their readership is a bunch of 40-50 year old westsiders.

                    Part of the Jewish Deli experience is sitting in a vinyl booth or formica table and being served by some cranky old, yet charming, waitress/waiter. And hanging out for an hour or two.

                    All the food stalls at GCM are counter service, with a line of people breathing down your neck waiting for you to vacate your seat. It's the opposite of civilized dining. I didn't mind paying $2.00 for a taco, but paying restaurant prices for that kind of service/ambiance is, IMHO, the definition of hipster foolishness. (this applies to eggslut, belcampo etc)

                    I may be stupid for calling it hipster, but that doesn't change my opinion on the pastrami sandwich - I have zero interest in eating it again.

                    1. re: Haeldaur

                      Did you have a pastrami sandwich, and if so, was it chopped into hash? My experience remains as I noted.

                      I am not impressed with celebrity chefdom.

                      1. re: NeverEnough

                        I've had that sandwich 5 times (I work right next to Grand Central), and it was never once chopped into hash. I agree with you that is unacceptable. I saw sandwich after sandwich coming out today; none of them were hash. I'd suggest that it may have been a staff member doing something inappropriate, and instead of quitting on the place, maybe you should let them know what happened and they can make it up to you?

                        I don't expect anyone to be impressed with "celebrity chefdom." What is impressive is actual accomplished cooking background--the food at Mezze was outstanding. I brought it up in response to the "hipster" comment.

                        1. re: Haeldaur

                          I might give it one more try, on your recommendation. And you are correct about letting the place know. I usually do but did not do this time. Yes it could have been a staff member(s) fault. Two, to be exact. The person preparing the sandwich, and the person serving it. If I go again, and that happens, I will scream loudly without profanity. On the other hand, I have Langer's not too far away and at GCM, I have La Moreliana and Egg Slut. BTW, I forgot to mention this: before my friends and I entered GCM, we were outside admiring some Police and their horses. I saw J. Gold walking out of the market with what may have been his son.

                      2. re: Haeldaur

                        Inventive + Elite (when applied to something that by definition should be traditional and accessible) = Hipster.

                        Not that there's anything wrong with that.

                      3. re: manku

                        Wexler's is a yuppie deli, taking advantage of the new Grand Central market which, sadly, is quickly losing its true character as it gentrifies in the worst of ways.

                        This is goyish deli food and, as one poster accurately said, the bread is awful and the pastrami over cooked, not to mention that it's so spicy that it hardly tastes like the real thing.

                        Wexler's is not even in the same planetary system as Langer's. The long lines are inexplicable.

                      4. The usually reliable J. Gold had what looks like it could be the same photo with his Wexler's article today. I wonder if those guys know who all the writers are and save the good stuff to hand-cut extra thick for them, as Jonathan waxed poetic about its texture and flavor.

                        I haven't eaten at Belcampo yet, but Mrs. O brought me home a fine piece of pork (coppa, it was called) which I pan-braised and ate for dinner one night when she was out. Not only was it tender and succulent, it had a pork flavor that I have not tasted in at least fifty years. Here I'd been thinking it was just my old taste buds, but no – it's been the pork itself. This is the pork of my childhood, though at prices that would have bought a good restaurant meal for a whole family then!

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: Will Owen

                          Seem that Jonathan Gold is clueless. His recommendations are uniformly off kilter.

                          1. re: Food Scrounger

                            I don't always agree with his assessments, but "clueless" will never be a word I'd consider applicable to J. Gold. First of all, clueless writers don't get Pulitzers. And the man has eaten in damn near as many places in Europe and the Americas as Tony Bourdain. Nor have I ever seen him use any sort of mindless mindless catch-phrase as "hopeless," "ridiculous" or "clueless" to describe any chef, cook or eating establishment, preferring to leave that sort of thing to Yelpers and their ilk.

                            1. re: Will Owen

                              And with a Pulitzer he still responds regularly to me and my bros emails seeking last minute tips. Always helpful and on point.

                              1. re: Will Owen

                                Who would you trust? Jonathan Gold or a food forum internet tough guy who thinks a deli owned and operated by Jews is "goyish."

                                1. re: Haeldaur

                                  It's the food that meets that description, even if the owner doesn't. And, you're right, Jonathan Gold is not clueless; that was, unfortunately, an overstatement.

                                  1. re: Food Scrounger

                                    Pastrami needs work.
                                    But the sturgeon and lox are already top shelf.

                          2. I've had Wexler's twice in the past few weeks (the OG sans mustard and the Macarthur Park). I found the pastrami to be nicely cut, very tender, and well seasoned.

                            Not as good as Langer's (but close), but it's so much more convenient from my office.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: wakko11

                              I guess they saw us coming. Chopped in small pieces. Never should have happened, even once. Will never go back.

                              1. re: NeverEnough

                                Jeez tough to please. Every restaurant has a bad day but your loss as I've had it many times by now and its a great sandwich.

                                1. re: NeverEnough

                                  If I were you, I wouldn't go back either. It sounds like they decided to get rid of their trimmings by serving them to you.

                                  1. re: wakko11

                                    Exactly. I don't think I am tough to please because I don't appreciate chopped up scraps. I'll stick with Langer's, where I have never been served chopped crap.