The Best Sandwich in LA? Part 2: Langer’s #19 is Another Contender

A while back I suggested that perhaps the gorgeous Godmother Italian sub from Bay Cities Italian Deli in Santa Monica was the best sandwich in LA. Of course, it’s all subjective, but I like to stir things up, you know, and proclaim my own tastes superior to others. Hell, it’s what I do.

But friday I ate again at Langer’s Deli just off of MacArthur Park and had another amazing sando there. I’m a real pastrami fan, and Katz’s Deli in NYC has always been the benchmark by which I’ve judged all other pastramis and compared to which all other pastramis have fallen short. Way short. Nothing beats the tender, salty, meaty, hand-cut patrami from that venerable Manhattan institution. Except for Langer’s.

The #19 is da bomb!

I’ve been going to Langer’s on-and-off for years. But it’s never been close enough to where I live that I could claim it as a local hang. It’s always been a bit of a jaunt, which means that every time I go it’s been long enough since I went that each visit is revelatory. The matzo ball soup is good, the sardines in tomato sauce is nice, the chopped liver is pretty tasty, but for me it’s really all about the pastrami.

Langer’s pastrami is moist, flavorful, and ultra-tender. Great flavor from the corning brine add notes of coriander and peppercorn. In a sandwich the pastrami is rather thickly cut but so yielding you never get any gristly bits or dry areas; it is uniformly delicious. To best appreciate the pastrami’s flavor I’d recommend it served simply, just on their wonderful rye bread with a slather of deli mustard. However, the best sandwich I’ve eaten there is the Number 19, a delightful concoction of their homemade pastrami, swiss cheese, coleslaw, and Russian dressing. The steamed rye bread is moist and delicious with a crisp crust, the coleslaw adds sweetness and a vegetable crunch, and the generous Russian dressing adds a nice tang that counterbalances the fatty richness of that fabulous pastrami. It is the bomb!

Is it the best pastrami sandwich I’ve ever eaten? Perhaps. Is it the best sandwich in LA? Maybe. Do I recommend it whole-heartedly? You betcha!

We were all a bit surprised by the abundance of this side salad.

This past visit Regina and I went for lunch with my oldest friend Amit, just in town for half a day. Amit and I each had the Number 19. Regina opted for a half-sandwich with a side salad. We shared a big plate of crinkle-cut fries. Regina gets a wild gleam in her eye as the barest mention of crinkle-cut fries — it’s a mania of hers.

Amit enjoyed a cup of chicken noodle soup to start; he declared it delicious. The salad was very generous and quite frankly, beautiful, in that ole-timey deli way, even with the customary PREMIUM pack of saltines. I mean, seriously, where else do you find gherkins on your salad? The fries were delightful, although they arrived unsalted, which necessitated a shower of table-salt.

Crinkle cut fries. Really great crinkle cut fries.

If you live in LA and haven’t eaten at Langer’s you oughta be ashamed of yourself! I don’t know that it’s the best overall deli in the LA area (I know fervent admirers of Art’s, Nate And Al’s, Greenblatt’s, Factor’s, and Canter’s.) but I think the pastrami is hands-down the best in town, and possibly the country.

Langer’s sure hasn’t changed much in all these years!

704 South Alvarado
Los Angeles, CA 90057

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