Langer's is a Los Angeles institution and a must-try destination if you're ever in the area. New York has Katz's and Carnegie Deli, Los Angeles has Langer's.
Langer's has been around for quite a while: since 1947. The then Jewish neighborhood is today a predominately Latino neighborhood which may make it seem out of place, but I like to think it's a piece of history that's far too often missing in Los Angeles. The deli has a bit of that old school '50s diner feel to it.
Langer's pastrami sandwich is the best pastrami I've ever had (and yes, I have been to Katz's in New York). The #19 is the most popular of Langer's sandwiches and features thick-sliced pastrami, swiss cheese, and cole slaw sandwiched between two slices of crusty rye bread. A half a pickle sliced lengthwise plays sidekick to the fabled sandwich
I've had Langer's pastrami sandwich with and without the coleslaw, and honestly, I could go either way. The meat of the sandwich is the thick-sliced, tender pastrami. It's sugar-cured lending a caramelized sweetness that really gives the pastrami an extra dimension of flavor that leads me to drool just thinking about it. The cheese is your standard slice of swiss and complements the meat subtly.
There's russian dressing which Wikipedia tells me is a "an American tomato-based salad dressing noted for its piquancy." It's a bit like Thousand Island but softer and more muted. The bread is rye delivered daily and then baked again in house. This process leaves he bread quite soft while giving the crust a crispness that adds to the many textures that dance across your mouth as you enjoy it.
If you are any fan of pastrami, Langer's is the place to go.
A note about its hours. Langer's is only open during the daytime:
Monday - Saturday, 8AM - 4PM
Closed on Sundays
Parking may be a bit tough in the area but Langer's has its own parking lot at the northeast corner of 7th Street and Westlake, one block east of our restaurant location. Parking is validated for one hour. They also have curbside service where you can call ahead for easy pickup.
704 South Alvarado
Los Angeles, CA 90057
Update: 1/21/2010 - Recently, Ed Levine of Serious Eats New York did a head-to-head taste-off between New York's Katz's and Los Angeles' Langer's stoking the flames of the East Coast/West Coast rivalry.