Three weeks ago I was in New York City with my wife. And as with all our trips, they generally revolve around food. And let’s face it…NYC is a pretty good place to be if you want your trip to revolve around food!
Some of our stops included the Chelsea Market (as I had a quick meeting with Food Network for business), Eataly (the crazy Italian market/restaurant mall from the B&B boys) and, of course, Katz’s Deli. Now, when it comes to pastrami, I take my meat pretty seriously (oh, that didn’t sound right did it?!). And, being a 3rd generation SoCal native, I’m partial to the Los Angeles version of the species. I’ve been lucky enough to actually go to the factory here in L.A. where some of the world’s finest Pastrami comes from – and trimming the ‘navals’, creating the rub and smoking the meat is a true art form.
Here in L.A., I’m partial to Langer’s Deli at 7th and Alvarado. If you haven’t been there, GO! I call it ‘meat butter’. The way they steam it and hand-cut it, it absolutely melts in your mouth. In fact, if you are lucky enough to know someone (and I am!), just get a bowl of ‘burnt ends’ – the trimmings off the end of each naval – and eat until you’re comatose! But then again, the rye bread – twice baked – at Langer’s is so damn good that you sort of HAVE to get a sandwich. The #19 is their signature version – but I usually go #10 – no cole slaw, more meat!
Back to NYC – and Katz’s deli. It was time to decide if I’m still at Langer’s devotee, or in the famed NYC peppery rub was more to my liking. First, Katz’s deli is a pain in the ass – the standing in line at the counter, the unhappy NYers, cash only, blah blah blah. Why does it have to be so hard? Second, the rye bread at Katz’s doesn’t hold a candle to Langer’s – although you can, as I did, go for the Italian roll…and that makes a heck of a sandwich! Katz’s pastrami?…damn good! Juicy, hand-cut and melt in your mouth. Well worth the hassle!
Bottom line?…I’m still a Langer’s man. Get down to downtown L.A. and see Norm Langer and tell him Greg Glass sent you. It may just get you insulted, but eventually you’ll get table and a sandwich – and all will be right with the world!