So you might recall that a few weeks back there was a story in the LA Jewish Journal about my declaration, in the book, that LA could be America’s premier deli town.
I also responded to it on Save the Deli:
Take that New York? Not quite. LA deli is great, and New York (not to mention other cities) can learn a lot from it, but I’m never one for one upsmanship and “bests”. It’s different. In some ways much better. In other ways, not as much. But worth eating at, and checking out, and giving a fair shake. LA has a wealth of deli goodness, from the pastrami at Langer’s, to the kishke at Brent’s, to the corned beef at Nate n’ Al’s, to the hush puppy at Pico Kosher. If you live in LA, are going to LA, or have some air miles lying around, get out there and eat. Then write in and tell me what a putz I am.
Well, this is the story that just keeps on giving.
If you want to read the reaction, check out the comments at Serious Eats. They range from: “I may not be throwing a pickle at the screen, but having eaten at many of the delis in both cities, I have to say that most of the delis in LA besides Langer’s are pretty mediocre. On the other hand, New York’s delis are woefully inconsistent.” to “Feh! Take it from this east coast (now west coast) gal who has spent many years pining for the delis in NYC. Los Angeles is mediocre. New York, at its best, is grand. And San Francisco – where I now am – sigh…the less said the better.” to “I live in NY, and Langers is as good as anything in NY and certainly cheaper. So many of NY delis the are culinary equivilent of “I heart NY” t-shirts anyway, which is to say overpriced and uncomfortably stuffed with tourists. Langers on the otherhand doesn’t suffer from too much walk in foot traffic…”
Anyway, now the DigLounge has weighed in, with a long article titled East Coast VS West Coast Pastrami Showdown
. It basically pits Langer’s vs. Katz’s.
As the author says:
While I haven’t exactly traveled the country, or the expanses of both New York’s and LA’s deli scene, I have been to both premier pastrami kings on the left and right coast. So for this battle I’ve pitted New York’s venerable Katz’s Delicatessen against LA’s own long standing Langer’s Delicatessen and a clear winner has emerged.
I’ll let you read the comparison itself, because it’s quite entertaining, but here’s some points I disagree with.
On Location: Katz’s is located in the trendy lower east side neighborhood. You feel fairly confident and secure walking around in the neighborhood, too and from the F train. Yes, these days you can feel fairly confident, compared to Langer’s location, but I assure you, this is a relatively recent phenomenon. Up until a decade ago, the area was crawling with addicts, hustlers, and ne’r do wells.
On the Bread: I’m not a fan of rye bread, so we order sourdough. What the shit? Are you seriously comparing these delis and not eating the pastrami on rye? Sorry, that’s like substituting mustard for mayo. He does the same at Langer’s too. For shame!
On Langer’s Pastrami: Their pastrami is also house cured, smoked then steamed. They don’t hand slice their pastrami here, so you get a thinner, more uniform cut Actually, both Langer’s and Katz’s get their pastrami cured and smoked by outside purveyors. At Katz’s it was once smoked in-house, but not for years. At Langer’s, they’ve always used RC provisions. And Langer’s is most often hand cut. They just slice the meat slower and more deliberately.
Which does he say is the best? Go find out for yourself.