Fast food pastrami reminds me of canned peas.
Well, the real vegetable resembles the canned version in color only. Same for pastrami. If you want the real stuff, ignore the mass produced version. You have to go to Langerís.
Iíve had some pretty good hot pastrami sandwiches over the years. Sargeís in New York. Mannyís in Chicago. Zingermanís in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
But none comes close to Langerís.
A great hot pastrami sandwich requires two things. You need thick, hand-cut slices of perfectly prepared meat in all its smoky, spicy goodness. Equally important is a great, seeded rye bread Ė crusty and crunchy on the outside, soft and chewy in the middle.
No one does this like Langer's. They opened in 1947 and I canít vouch for their first 20 years. But Iíve been going there since the late 1960ís and the quality hasnít changed in all that time. Nor have the wooden booths, friendly waitresses and old time deli feel.
What if you are not as mesmerized by pastrami? Just take a look at the huge menu. They have all the quality deli standards Ė from the old school matzo ball soup, corned beef, blintzes and potato pancakes to some pretty good burgers, patty melts and fries.
Not into rye bread? Try the egg bread.
Really hungry? Try the mountainous Fresserís Special Sandwich, a triple decker gut-buster with an all-star cast of ingredients: pastrami, corned beef, tongue, turkey, Swiss cheese and Russian dressing. (The word fresser comes from the Yiddish description for a ravenous eater.)
Everyone has a favorite deli. This one is mine. No matter what yours might be, you canít really be in the debate until you have been to Langerís.