Say what you will about Los Angeles. Sure, the city lacks reliable public transit and a consistent pro football presence. It can’t claim Northern California’s farm-to-table heritage, or the legendary
bangs music of Steve Perry.
What L.A. does have, however, is not one but two of the nation’s best pastrami sandwiches. New Yorkers may find this notion troubling. But the proof is in the pastrami.
Westlake standby Langer’s Delicatessen has, of course, set the standard for pastrami sandwiching in the city for the past 65 years. (It was also the basis for our inaugural NBA Power Rankings last season.) A tourist staple and nostalgic favorite à la Katz’s in New York or Miami’s now-defunct Wolfies, Langer’s sandwich is two shakes of a pickle away from having a star next to Drew Barrymore on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
It takes a major pastrami player, then, to make serious L.A. diners stand up (or, rather, sit down) and pay attention.
Adam Fleischman’s pastrami, served at “Kosher-style” deli The Cure in downtown L.A.’s 6,650-square-foot food court UMAMIcatessen, is such a sandwich. It could easily be overshadowed by either the legacy of Langer’s, or UMAMIcatessen’s own Pigg, a Chris Cosentino-helmed pork palace situated heretically close to The Cure.
But Fleischman’s sandwich stands. Cut nearly 1/3-inch thick, the smoky, succulent beef is moist and hearty. Served on soft rye bread with grainy Dijon mustard, it comes to the table with a slim half-sour pickle and an awful lot of moxie.
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