Our favorite restaurant critic (and everyone else’s, for that matter), Jonathan Gold of the LA Weekly, recently answered reader mail with a wonderful metaphor for Langer’s:
My instinct, of course, is to point you toward Langer’s, which is the Lourdes of Jewish deli meats. Langer’s corned beef is steamed to exquisite tenderness, and the crunchy-edged seeded rye bread is superb. Langer’s knows from Russian dressing and is if anything rather overgenerous with the sauerkraut. I have long sworn fealty to what I have come to know as Old Number 44, although to tell the truth, I prefer the nippy cheese to the traditional slice of Swiss. (A Reuben is decidedly not kosher.)
Thank you, as always, Jonathan, for your support – from the Langer’s family.
Langer’s Delicatessen-Restaurant has been named by Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic Jonathan Gold as one of the “99 Essential LA Restaurants”! We are so proud and so thankful to Jonathan and the LA Weekly, where his column runs, for this great honor. Make sure you click here to visit the complete article at LA Weekly.com, but here’s an excerpt from Jonathan that we particularly love:
…bite into a Langer’s pastrami sandwich: thick slices of hand-sliced meat, glistening with peppery fat, as dense and as smoky as Texas barbecue; thick-cut seeded corn rye, hot, crisp-crusted and soft inside, with a slightly sour tang that helps tame the richness of the meat; a dab of yellow mustard as important to the whole as a sushi master’s wasabi. The fact is inescapable: Langer’s serves the best pastrami sandwich in America…
Visit Jonathan’s article here. Thank you, Jonathan and LA Weekly!
Langer’s gets a mention in today’s profile of LA’s two biggest bagel vendors, Brooklyn Bagel and Western Bagel:
Norm Langer, whose Langer’s Deli is across from MacArthur Park, says: “I can’t sell a sesame bagel in this neighborhood.” Brooklyn delivers his most popular bagels: onion, water and egg. Langer says bagel preferences reflect the change in his neighborhood since 1947, when the area was predominantly Jewish.
Sonia Romero is an accomplished local artist who created an absolutely beautiful piece of art featuring Norm Langer and his late father Al in a classic Langer’s booth as part of the artwork featured at the Westlake Metro subway station.
She now has received a commission from the Los Angeles County Arts Commission to design and oversee the installation of a series of new murals surrounding four East Los Angeles Pool sites. We want to send Sonia a hearty congratulations for this great accomplishment! Truly, well deserved. Sonia will be designing the color and graphic schemes for all four sites, leading a group of youth from Los Angeles Conservation Corps in the fabrication of the murals. The murals are slated to be completed by December 1, 2008.
So says The Los Angeles Times’ Chris Erskine in a recent column on the diminutive size of Team USA’s Olympic gymnasts:
One question: Where exactly are the women in women’s gymnastics? I’ve got more meat on my thumb than most of these poor kids.
Here’s a tip: The No. 19 at Langer’s Deli — the warm pastrami, with a layer of coleslaw across the roof. Juicy as a steak, this pastrami. In fact, I’m sending these scrawny Tinker Bells some Langer’s right now, in honor of all their good work this week. Please tell Bela Karolyi to keep his fat paws off.
Thanks to you, our loyal customers and fans, Langer’s Delicatessen-Restaurant has been selected TOP DELI in LOS ANGELES!
Voters selected their favorite delis from a wide selection around the Southland; here’s how the final tally came out:
- Langer’s Delicatessen-Restaurant
- Brent’s Delicatessen & Restaurant
- Canter’s Fairfax
- Nate-n-Al’s Restaurant
- Art’s Deli
- Label Table
- Greenblatt’s Restaurant
- Fromin’s Restaurant
Thank you, Los Angeles! We are honored by your selection and thank you for your support.
See you soon at Langer’s!
Langer’s received a very nice mention in the Cooking Corner: Homemade Pastrami article by David W. Cowles, carried by the Peninsula Gateway (www.gateline.com). In the article, which discusses the merits of and tasks behind creating your own pastrami at home, David discusses the historical background of pastrami preparation, its Romanian roots, and the non-controversy over which delicatessen has the world’s best pastrami:
New Yorkers may be partial to Katz’s, but the reputation for having the best pastrami in the United States (and probably the entire world) goes to Langer’s, a Los Angeles deli that’s been around since 1947.
Langer’s is located at 7th and Alvarado near downtown, a few blocks from MacArthur Park, in what is now a heavily Latino neighborhood. The founder, Al Langer, passed away in June 2007 at 94.
Right up to the time he died, he went into the deli several times a week for a few hours to help with the lunch crowd and to greet old customers. His son, Norm Langer, runs the place. Norm has worked the deli — a family affair — since 1963.
At Langer’s, you order pastrami sandwiches by the number. No. 1 is pastrami, cole slaw and Russian dressing. Add Swiss cheese and the number changes to 19. Pastrami, chopped liver, and Russian dressing is No. 6. A grilled pastrami, sauerkraut and “nippy” (American) cheese is No. 44.
And there are more. These sandwiches are on rye bread baked by Bea’s Bakery in Tarzana.
Thanks for the kind words, David!
Langer’s owner Norm Langer was part of an in-depth look at the MacArthur Park area of Langer’s, which is home to the delicatessen-restaurant. The story focuses on the FBI’s efforts to crack down on gang activity in the area, and includes insight and perspective from Norm:
If you’re looking for a fake I.D., MacArthur Park is the place to go. And even if you aren’t looking, the street dealers will come looking for you. It’s a gritty area, but you can still see the beauty of the MacArthur Park that used to be: a neighborhood with a lake and lots of paddle boats, surrounded by nice high-rise apartment buildings.
That’s the place Norm Langer remembers.
“Primarily it was a Jewish recreation area,” he recalls from inside the deli his father opened 61 years ago. Today, he runs Langer’s Deli and sells its famous pastrami sandwiches.
Over the years, Langer has had a front-row seat to the deadly gang violence that turned MacArthur Park from a mecca to a menace. He even came close to shutting down the family business like so many others in the neighborhood did.
Langer’s Delicatessen-Restaurant was privileged to be a part of the “Sweet 16” in Los Angeles Magazine’s “64 Greatest Things about LA” promotion (click here for more info). But we were surprised to see in the June issue (on newsstands now – buy a copy!) a short discussion of our spirited participation in the promotion:
Norm Langer, owner of the classic MacArthur park delicatessen that bears his family’s name, told us that his goal had been to make the Sweet 16. If he found himself up against Grauman’s, he knew that he was going to have to “pull a rabbit out of the hat” to win that battle. Langer put up posters about the competition in the deli’s window, and he handed flyers to every patron who walked in the door. “My husband and I had our first date here and go back each year for our anniversary,” wrote in one voter. “Simply fantastic.” In the end, Langer was right: Pickles or no pickles, Grauman’s was too formidable a competitor. Probably because, as another voter put it, “Grauman’s Chiense Theater is a household name in most civilized countries around the world. Need I say more!?”
Thank you again, Los Angeles Magazine and everyone who voted for Langer’s in the promotion!
Former Los Angeles mayor and restaurant owner Richard Riordan gave an interview published in the LA Times today in which he is quoted as possibly assembling a landmark restaurant consortium – possibly to include Langer’s? Well, you decide:
…He’s played with the idea of putting together a group of landmark Los Angeles restaurants for a special co-operative marketing push. Besides the Pantry, he’d include Philippe, Musso and Frank, the Apple Pan, Pacific Dining Car and maybe Nate’n Al, “but their food is terrible. I guess I’d probably pick Langer’s before Nate’n Al’s.”
Thanks, Mr. Mayor! (We think!)
Enjoy this short clip documenting the unveiling and dedication of the Langer’s Square signs at the 7th and Alvarado intersection in Los Angeles, in honor of our founder, Al Langer. The event took place January 24, 2008.