Save the Deli

LA Deli Story

Los Angeles, California

Oh I’m sorry, I didn’t see you there…the sun’s in my eyes and I was driving and talking with my agent on the phone while thinking up titles for the documentary treatment of the book. You look fabulous! Me, I’ve been jogging and I’m on the pastrami diet, but I’m entertaining the idea of going for lipo if that fails…just a little touch up.

Yes, LA, that’s wonderful, decadent land where there is no center, everyone has a story to tell, you live by the car, and it’s never cloudy. So far it’s been a blast, and I’ve discovered that the deli scene is thriving like nowhere else, with a tremendous offering of both quantity and quality. I’m only halfway through my research, but I’ve eaten a hell of a lot of delicious stuff and there’s more to come.

I could write about it, but that would be just so, like, New York. So instead I did what this town lives for and made a movie:

If that got the juices flowing here’s a little more info on what you saw:

Izzy’s Delicatessen
1433 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90403
(310) 394-1131
-real nice NY style spicy pastrami and a bevy of killer soups including the matzo ball number featured here

Brent’s Delicatessen
19565 Parthenia St., Northridge CA 91324
New Location:
2799 Townsgate Rd., Westlake Village CA

The Peskin family does killer food in the most family oriented and unpretentious joint in the Valley.
-the absolutely best cabbage soup ever, with sweet whole chunks of tomato, pepper, and tender brisket in a delicious broth
-homemade golden kishke that tastes and feels light yet crisp and warm
-wonderful blintzes
-marvelous whitefish salad…fresh, cool, and waiting to be smeared on a bagel chip
-a brisket taco…SO-Cal fusion at its finest
-great chocolate eclairs (tell Marc Hernandez to share one with you)

Art’s Delicatessen & Restaurant
12224 Ventura Boulevard
Studio City, California 91604
(818) 762-1221
-real haymish food from Mr. Art Ginsberg himself and family. He calls the sandwich pics on the wall “Jewish Erotica” and has a phone built into the wall by the corner booth for studio execs to take calls.
-try the outstanding eggs, lox, and onions which are stupendous due largely to the simmering vat of onions carmelizing on the stove throughout the day

Canter’s Delicatessen
419 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA
(323) 651-203
A giant! A classic! An absolute madhouse where the crowds nosh 24/7 and Guns and Roses got their start. Eat, hang, or get wasted in the Kibbitz Room. Old school waitresses, retro decor, and lots of neon. A factory for characters and late night celeb sightings (I saw that kid from the OC).
-huge bowls of matzo ball soup
-overstuffed sandwiches and great Reubens
-big baked knishes
-crisp, garlicky, homemade pickles
-the most amazing baked goods including chocolate, raspberry, and poppy seed rugelach that are a sin to eat and an even bigger sin to ignore

Langer’s Delicatessen
704 S Alvarado St
Los Angeles, CA 90057
(213) 483-8050
Coming up on 60 yrs in the same location with Mr. Al Langer himself at 94 still holding the place down. I could talk about the decor or the area or the great servers, but you go to Langer’s for one thing: The best f$%ing pastrami at any deli anywhere. It is sweet, savory, a bit spicy and oh so tender. Hand cutting makes all the difference, plus six decades of family owned and operated care and knowledge. You will not find a better pastrami sandwich anywhere…even that other city on the other coast.

Oh, I have to take this call…you’re the greatest.


9 Responses to “LA Deli Story”

  1. Lauren Says:

    David, baby . . .Interesting project you’re working on.
    Have your agent call my agent.
    Ciao dahlink!

  2. steven Says:

    NYC or LA ? Which city has the best deli’s???? Any opinions ???

  3. julia s Says:

    Will there be any recipes in this book? Do you think any of these places would part with them? I am salivating – soups, blintzes, rogelach…mmmm!

  4. Save The Deli » Blog Archive » Words of Wisdom from Mr. T: Eat Your Pastrami Fool! Says:

    [...] Angeles delis with his manager Barry Greenberg, inspired (I like to think), by the enthusiasm of Save the Deli’s Los Angeles posts and our LA Podcast. I spoke the Mr. T. in the midst of this tour, and he imparted some words of [...]

  5. Ben Brown, Internet Rockstar » Blog Archive » Save The Deli ╗ LA Delis Says:

    [...] I must be in Los Angeles, I want to eat at all of these places. My new friend David Sax has a blog all about the fading art of the delicatessen. [...]

  6. Save The Deli » Blog Archive » Shana Tova: Pray for a Schmaltzy New Year Says:

    [...] In her article, Mrs. Nathan talks to some of our favorite characters in the deli world, including Gary Canter, Michel Kalifa, and Sy [...]

  7. Save The Deli » Blog Archive » Los Angeles Magazine: Patric Kun on LA’s best delis Says:

    [...] on that city’s great delicatessens, written by Patric Kuh. As I’ve written before HERE and HERE, LA is an astounding locale for deli eating, in many respects second to none. Known [...]

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