This is an except from my full NYC report (see link below)
It sounds apocryphal. How could the New Yorker claim that Los Angeles had a jewish deli with better pastrami than New York? I decided to taste test for myself. I'd heard a lot about Katz's but had never been there. Walked in. Navigated the funny ordering system (for those familiar, its sort of like Philippes in downtown LA except at Katzs they give you a ticket when you walk in the door that the counter man marks your orders on). I walk up to my own personal pastrami carver. I ask for a taste.
Ive had Langers pastrami sandwich in LA enough times now that its memory is permanently ingrained in my head. Its delicious stuff. So tender, and steamed for so long that if it were on the bone it would, in fact fall off the bone. Also, Langers does this unusual steam toasting of their sandwich rye so that you get a lovely crunchy rim around the edge of the sandwich, but the middle stays soft.
I asked my counter man at Katzs for a sample. I see that hes got on the counter in front of him a beautiful piece of meat. He carves off a generous sample for me. My first impression its damn good. It has a unique, robust, peppery flavor but not overpoweringly so. The textureits definitely tender, though Langers definitely gives extra steam time to their cut. Though the texture and tenderness of Langers is better, I like the flavor of Katzs pastrami more. I order a sandwich. He piles on a very generous portion of pastramieasily double the amount that Langers puts on theirs. Unfortunately, this is put on rye bread out of the badno steaming, no toasting, etc. It makes a damn good sandwich, but Langers edges ahead by a nose for the extra dimension their super crispy rye crust brings to the sandwich.