Haven't seen this place mentioned here on Chowhound, or if I might have overlooked it on a previous review.
A few months ago, one of my business customers had mentioned this place as one of his favorite lunch places that he eats at. I finally decided to try out Tommy Pastrami on a day when I wasn't in the mood for any of my regular lunch options.
Given the name of the restaurant, I figured I would start with the pastrami sandwich and go from there. When I normally go to sandwich shops and delis, I usually tend to order the French Dip as my first choice for a sandwich, to use that as a gauge for how good or bad the food is. But since Tommy Pastrami labels itself as a New York deli (and French Dips being a SoCal invention), I didn't see French Dips on the menu, so I chose the Jumbo Pastrami sandwich (sizes were Half and Jumbo, Jumbo being the whole size). I'm not a fan of rye bread, so I opted for the sandwich on white bread.
A bit of a disclaimer first: because the French Dip is my favorite sandwich, I've not eaten many pastrami sandwiches in the past, so I'm no self-proclaimed expert of these sandwiches. I haven't been to Langer's yet to try their famed-and-often-argued pastrami on rye, nor have I been to many of the other deli institutions in SoCal like Billy's, Art's, or Brent's to sample their pastrami selections.
Having said all that, the pastrami sandwich here at Tommy Pastrami is fantastic. Soft and tender meat, juicy and tasty, this sandwich surpassed any expectations I had for it. This Jumbo size was a huge sandwich, and while I thought the $8.25 price for the Jumbo size was a tad high for a sandwich, the meat portions were very generous to make the sandwich worth its price. Not exactly sure what's supposed to be added, if anything, to a pastrami sandwich, but I did squirt some mustard onto the sandwich as I ate it. The pastrami was so moist, juicy, and flavorful that I didn't really need to add the mustard.
My last pastrami experience was at the Hat (at their Lake Forest location) at least a couple of months ago, and I only sampled a small bite or two from a sandwich that my co-worker couldn't finish. I thought the one at Tommy Pastrami was better than the one at the Hat, but that's just my opinion, given my limited pastrami experiences.
How the pastrami stacks up here compared to many of the LA deli institutions, I don't know. But with the more limited options here in OC, this deli is truly a rare find for its pastrami. And given that this place doesn't show up in Yahoo or Google searches, Tommy Pastrami is a wonderful find that I want to share with other Chowhounders who may someday visit and reinforce or refute the claims that I make today.
Tommy Pastrami New York Delicatessen
3751 S Harbor Blvd, Suite B
Santa Ana, CA