Thursday, December 27, 2007
Missing Katz's Pastrami
Here's a quick post on my favorite pastrami spot in LA, Langer's in McArthur Park. Maybe that isn't saying much, considering there is a dearth of good delis in LA, especially compared with New York.
Truth be told, my real favorite pastrami place is in New York. I have tried Second Avenue Deli and the touristy Carnegie Deli of monstrously massive cheesecake fame. Some may argue Katz's Delicatessen is equally touristy, but my pastrami heart belongs to Katz's no matter what anyone says. Nothing beats the piping, juicy slabs of hot pastrami on rye and mustard with bright green pickles on the side that Katz's offers. Not to mention atmosphere, but I digress.
This was supposed to be about Langer's. As much as I like Langer's, I guess I can't help but yearn for the best. Plus, I was miffed that Langer's skimped on the pastrami the last time I went and service was a tad slow. The delectable chicken soup (basically comfort food in a bowl) looked great when it arrived and tasted decent but everyone else had nearly finished their meals by then.
I usually try to avoid delis like Canter's on Fairfax and Nate'n Al in Beverly Hills, not to mention Junior's in Westwood. I'm not going to honor Jerry's infamous deli chain, which is a sacrilege in and of itself.
What makes a good pastrami? The meat has a deep, complex flavor that brings out the salt, garlic, pepper and spices smothered all over it before it was smoked. The slices are thin (Langer's is a tad thick for my taste), tender to the point of crumbliness, juicy and super hot -- fresh out of the steamer. The bread is soft. The mustard complements the meat and strong rye bread perfectly. The pickles' sourness adds another dimension of flavor.
If you have never tried pastrami, you are seriously missing out. Photos are courtesy of RSB, who thankfully has the foresight to carry everything one may ever need in her bag. Long live the giant tote! By the way, she recommends skipping the cole slaw.
Validated parking is available in a separate lot on Wilshire a block east of Alvarado, but I recommend taking the Red Line of the metro (McArthur Park station) if you work anywhere near Koreatown, Downtown or all the way in Union Station.
704 S Alvarado Street (@Wilshire Blvd.)
Los Angeles, CA 90057