Thursday, May 31, 2012


Pastrami on Rye
Sometimes ignorance can be bliss. Had I read my friend Zach Brook's take down of UMAMIcatessen's pastrami sandwich in his recent "7 Reason's To Hate L.A Lunching" over at Midtown Lunch I would have most certainly avoided it, especially after looking at the picture he took of the sandwich.

But I was armed with both ignorance and a Langer's t- shirt.  In case you don't know Langer's is widely considered to serve the best pastrami sandwich in Los Angeles, if not the country. So when I ordered a pastrami sandwich at UMAMIcatessen my t-shirt choice was noted not only by my server but also by the meat carver who loaded up my sandwich - it looked like easily twice the meat Zach ended up with on his sandwich.

I had requested the fatty end of the brisket and I was rewarded with thick cut, succulent slabs of deckle. The meat was pleasingly brined and seasoned - redolent with coriander and pepper and imbued with a deep smokiness. Great meat but at $14 a pastrami sandwich "being tasty (is) less an accomplishment than a contractual obligation" - to paraphrase what Frank Bruni once said of Wagyu beef.  Also the bread was a bit of a let down. It lacked the double baked snapped of Langer's rye, coming off a bit floppy and spongy in comparison.

Putting cost and proximity to Langer's aside it was a very good pastrami sandwich. Now to be fair to Zach I don't think I would have had quite the same reaction had I been served the sandwich he received. So if you do go to UMAMIcatessen I recommend you wear a Langer's shirt and ask for the fatty end of the brisket to get the best possible experience. Don't have a Langer's shirt you say? Now you have to two reasons to go to there.

852 S. Broadway,
Los Angeles, CA 90014
213 413 8626

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