Verbal wars have raged over whether New York or LA has the nation’s best pastrami. Tourists from every corner of the planet may flock to Manhattan landmarks Katz’s and Carnegie Deli, but LA has the blessing of Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic Jonathan Gold, who once called Langer’s pastrami America’s best. We’ll leave it to others to make definitive pronouncements. In the meantime, check out these five LA pastramis (including Langer’s) that local Chowhounds love.

• A pastrami sandwich at The Hat is wienermobile’s guilty pleasure, a won’t-break-the-bank beast of a thing on a French roll. Don’t forget an order of chili fries, big enough to “feed a whole family.” Be warned: Things skew a little greasy, carter says, though whether that’s bad or good is up to you.

• Langer’s “is king for pastrami,” says nosh, never mind the $13 price tag for a sandwich (pictured). The famous double-baked rye is just right: crisp on the outside, nice and soft in the center. Some complain about the hours—Langer’s closes daily at 4 and is dark on Sundays—but real fans can deal.

• Plan Check may be new to the scene, but they’re hitting it hard: The pastrami is double-smoked, then topped with Swiss, kimchi mustard, pickles, and a fried egg. As if that weren’t enough, you can also get a killer order of pastrami fries.

• In TonyC’s humble opinion, Jeff’s Gourmet Kosher Sausage Factory serves what “all delis in LA should strive for”: a simple old-school sandwich composed of unpretentious ingredients with real artisan quality, including peppery pastrami cured and smoked in-house. The dining room is strictly no-frills.

• Like kiddies to a pool on a hot summer day, sandwich-lovers mob the entrance to Bay Cities Italian Deli every day of the week, and—having tasted the pastrami here—aching gets why. Avoid the insanely long wait by calling in your order.

The Hat [San Gabriel Valley]
2300 S. Atlantic Boulevard, Monterey Park
(Among other locations)

Langer’s Deli [MacArthur Park]
704 S. Alvarado Street, Los Angeles

Plan Check Kitchen + Bar [Sawtelle Corridor]
1800 Sawtelle Boulevard, Los Angeles

Jeff’s Gourmet Kosher Sausage Factory [Westside – Inland]
8930 W. Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles

Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery [Westside – Inland]
1517 Lincoln Boulevard, Santa Monica

Discuss: In Search Of: PASTRAMI!

Photo of Langer’s pastrami sandwich by stu_spivak via Creative Commons

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