Pastrami king

Well, this blog is apparently accepting comments again, not that anyone left any, so let’s go (at least in prose) to Langer’s Deli in L.A.

I’d heard for years that Langer’s has the best pastrami outside of New York, and possibly even inside of New York, and yet Langer’s, even after 60 years at Seventh and Alvarado, across from MacArthur Park, still remains largely unknown compared to Canter’s, Pink’s, the Original Pantry, Philippe’s and other L.A. institutions.

On Saturday I took the plunge, riding Metrolink with a friend to Union Station and the Red Line subway to MacArthur Park; Langer’s is a half-block away, a Jewish restaurant in the heart of a Latino neighborhood.

It’s old but clean, smaller than Canter’s but with a similar stopped-time feeling. I got the No. 44, a hot pastrami with sauerkraut, Russian dressing, and something called nippy cheese, on rye. The pastrami is hand-sliced and thicker than any I’ve had; reputedly it’s steamed for three hours, which makes it so tender it can’t be machine-sliced to the usual thinness. The bread is crunchy on the outside and soft inside. I agree with everyone; it’s a heckuva pastrami sandwich.

My friend got the No. 1, which comes cold and with cole slaw instead of sauerkraut, and it was no worse, and likely even tastier, than my sandwich.

The neighborhood is said to be much improved over a few years ago, although there are still guys on the sidewalk ready to make you a fake ID. The park and its lake are lovely, even if I can’t think of the park without thinking of that awful song about the cake left out in the rain. What about pastrami left out in the rain? Now that would be something to cry about.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Linkedin Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email
  • Chaz B

    It’s great that we can again provide comments to the blog. It’s especially nice since this deals with a deli, something we truly lack here in the IE.

    Canter’s has the name and the rep in L.A. that makes any challenge to their preeminence a cultural slap to many. But here goes, anyway.

    While I haven’t been to Langer’s for a while, the neighborhood was always a major problem. It’s nice to hear it’s improved (somewhat), but then it’s hard to believe it could have gotten much worse!

    Personally, I’ll take Philippe’s instead. It’s a Los Angeles icon and just offers so much more ambiance every visit.

    One more plug – Junior’s Deli in Westwood lacks the color and character of both Canter’s and Philippe’s, but it makes up for it in great pastrami, terrific Matzoh ball soup and (I’m told) exceptional onion rings. While I am very much anti-onion, family and friends tell me Junior’s rings are outstanding.

  • Bob House

    I really liked the “train and subway” trip to enjoy this Southern California icon. As a child of So Cal’s 1950s, I have no clue about how to use public transportation, so I’m easily impressed by this sort of thing. You’re right that the neighborhood has improved — the guys on the sidewalk in days gone by were ready to make you poor or dead, not a fake ID.

    [It was almost like being a New Yorker — hop on the subway and eat at a Jewish deli! — DA]