|Langer's Pastrami Sandwich|
This week we're launching a new series called Food of the Moment which devotes itself to an ingredient or dish currently experiencing an boom at local eateries. We'll then eat it, dissect it, discuss it -- and tell you where you can get some.
In a Slate piece back in September, Rachel Levin chronicled what she described as the nation's first "pastrami summit" -- an event that seemed less bacchanalian and more scholarly than you might expect -- inside a Jewish Community Center in Berkeley, attended by some of the Bay's top abattoir experts. According to Levin, these were the New Pastramians, "deli artisans who brine/pickle/cure/smoke/hand-slice their-own-everything; serve only humanely raised, hormone-free meat; and could care less about kosher."
Of course, Berkeley isn't the only place where pastrami is experiencing a renaissance. In Los Angeles, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo served smoked foie gras with pastrami spices (before the ban) at Animal, while DIY meat gurus Chris Phelps and Zak Walters occasionally serve house-made pastrami and eggs as a brunch special at Salt's Cure. And The Oinkster in Eagle Rock practically revolves around chef Andre Guerrero's applewood-smoked take on L.A.-style fast-food pastrami (shaved wafer thin).
But these guys aren't alone: as sanctified as the classic Jewish deli menu is, a greater share of chefs are taking the smoked and spiced formula of pastrami and giving it their own spin. While we love our Langer's as much as the next fresser, here are some of the most prominent "new pastrami" purveyors in Los Angeles.More »