It all started in 1947, with just 12 seats. It survived through the recession and survived the rough neighborhood of Westlake on the corner of 7th and Alvorado. With the subway station and Mac Arthur Park just adjacent to it, the restaurant get all kinds of customers. Today, this restaurant is a Los Angeles destitantion for those wanting the best pastrami in the world. No, I have no tried Kat’s deli in New York, nor have I tried every pastrami in the world. How can I claim this to be the best pastrami? I will tell you at the end.
The Westlake area in and around Alvorado can get a bit rowdy, but to me, this is what Los Angeles is all about. When you walk in though, you get a sense of that history. The dark wooden booths and old pictures on the wall really take you back. You kind of forget where you are — there’s nothing dangerous about this place. The mild wooden everything and casual people dining away brings you to a state of comfort.
A lot of people get here for breakfast or maybe a nice bowl of matzo ball soup, but I come here for one thing — the Langer’s #19 Hot Pastrami Sandwich. Of course, the pastrami makes the sandwich. The beef is so succulent and juicy. Each tender bite is made possible by the perfect balance of meat and fat. The dark crust around the meat packs such complex amounts of flavor. The rye bread is perfect with flourescent caraway seeds. The inner is soft and the outter crust is crunchy. The combination of cole slaw, swiss, russian dressing help everything stay moist. The Russian dressing is zesty and flavorful. Each element from the bread, to the pastrami, and to the sauces and cheese make a perfect balance of taste and texture. A bite of the pickle spear to “reset” your taste buds, and you are ready for another bite. This might be the best sandwich ever made.
If you came to Langer’s, and you don’t order the pastrami sandwich, I don’t know why you went. The sandwich is delicious to the exact definition. I remember going to Langer’s for the first time with a friend who also never went. We split the #19, because, well, we were’t ballin’ back then. We aren’t ballin’ now either, but that is besised the point. As soon as I took my first bite, we just looked at eachother with smiles of satisfaction. At that momen, I didn’t know if this was real life or not. It was that good! I don’t ask for this sandwich to be on a pedastal, nor do I expect the chefs to win some kind of James Beard award — though the restaurant did win The Bertolli America’s Classics Award noted for the their history and appeal to the city of Los Angeles. The sandwich is amazing. Anyone who says otherwise is either a pastrami snob or from New York. I never tried Kat’s in New York, and I really cannot wait try their pastrami sandwich. That is definately on my bucket list. Who knows? Maybe my biased self might think it’s better than Langer’s. At the end of it all, it is a pride thing. I love Los Angeles, and I think it’s the best city in the world. Hence, Langer’s has the best hot pastrami sandwich in the world. It’s simple logic, right?