Thursday, April 30, 2009

What Was YOUR Lunch Sandwich Today Like? - Greenblatt's Deli

Greenblatt's Delicatessen-Restaurant and Fine Wine Shop
8017 Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90046
(323) 656-0606‎

Reviews, Map, Etc.

Sometimes I go so far afield in search of finding a new, "institution"- level eatery, I forget to mention the institutions in my own backyard. And sometimes, I forget to frequent them. Somehow, I recently went several years without visiting what is possibly the closest eatery to my house, and certainly the closest Bona Fide L.A. Institution: Greenblatt's Deli, at the eastern approach to the Sunset Strip, right next to the Laugh Factory.

Why, I thought, have I not blogged Greenblatt's? Perhaps because I assume most people have been there. But a quick poll of my friends tells me that's not true.

My poll also suggested that if you have visited Greenblatt's, the first words out of your mouth will be, "I love Greenblatt's, but it's so expensive." Now it's true, fourteen bucks for a Reuben sandwich is not cheap. But somehow it seems that Reuben sandwiches have ALWAYS been fourteen bucks there, and as prices everywhere else in the world have slowly crept up over the years, this doesn't seem so outrageous anymore. Especially when there are so many things to recommend said sandwich. In this case, I will let the picture above speak a thousand words.

Greenblatt's is simply the best Jewish deli on this side of the hill. It kicks all manner of ass over Canter's. There's free parking, first of all. True, it's always crowded and the spaces are tiny, but it seems like there's always one space left there when you need it. Second, location. Even if you don't live nearby, chances are you're headed to the Laemmle theaters across the street, and wondering where you should eat, a couple of times a year. Third, atmosphere. Seventy years old, it has a rare-in-L.A. genuine old wood-paneling wide-plank-floor creakiness that makes you feel like this town has some real history, after all. Fourth, open 'til 2:00 am, 365 days a year.

And then there's the extraordinary wine shop. It is, remember, Greenblatt's Deli and Wine Shop. They have a small but extraordinary selection of wines, mostly French, at extraordinary prices. A couple bucks more than the average selection at TJ's, perhaps, but you get what you pay for. These are quality, well-chosen wines.

And -- and this is the most exciting part -- I've recently discovered that next to Costco, they have the single best price in town on family-sized (as we call it Chez Winfield) bottles of Ketel One: $31.99. That, friends, is a bargain, and they know it. Witness the sign above the nearby Belvedere display.

And of course there's the food. I could go on describing the flavors of their hot pastrami, or corned beef, or their delicious Egg Salad Like Grandma Used To Make It, or this stellar BLTA I had yesterday.

But you know what you're getting: Jewish deli counter food, the quality of which I'd say compares favorably to even the best New York has to offer. The good stuff.

My only chronic complaints: the deli counter help tends to be distracted and either hard of hearing or lacking English skills. Orders need to be peated, repeated, and three-peated, then checked, double-checked, and thriple-checked. From which comes the corollary: delivery service? Fuhgeddaboudit. That's what they tend to do with your phoned-in order.

But for that quick lunch to take home, or a pre- or post- movie bowl of matzoh ball or kreplach soup in one of their comfy naugahyde booths? Drop in, chow down -- and don't forget to grab a bottle or two to go.


  1. Greenblatt's is the second-closest eatery to me (just edged out by Pace). I love it. I particularly like their corned beef and pastrami Rueben, but nearly everything I've had on the menu has been good. Brent's, Langer's, and Oinkster are arguably slightly better for pastrami, but not much. You're absolutely right that for some reason it lacks recognition. I regularly recommend it on Chowhound but rarely see anyone else mention it.

    Greenblatt's is much better than most of the delis I went to when I lived in NYC, with the exception of Katz's, Pastrami King (when it was in Kew Gardens), and (maybe, but I'm not sure) 2nd Ave Deli. It's unquestionably better than the twin tourist traps of Stage and Carnegie.

  2. I was also gonna direct you to Langer's and Oinkster: their pastrami is house-cured. Any time you want to go call me. I'll probably be there already.

    And the non-robot test word today is "disturic."

  3. Anonymous10:22 PM

    I enjoyed reading your comments about Greenblatt's. Being that I am a previous owner of a restaurant I am very familiar with this great deli. I can certainly appreciate the quality of this great Deli. I have been going there for 55 years. Best Deli Food... From A to Z. Extensive Menu... Always fresh..The best Reuben Sandwich. Roy and Jeff Kavin are very friendly and will help you out with your wine selections whether you spend $5.00 to Thousands of Dollars for a bottle of wine. You get the same service and experience as to what fits your budget. You can also taste great wines by the glass. It's a fun place to go to, because there is always a famous Movie Star, Producer, Rock Star, etc that will be seating next to you,and its a great place to people watch.

    I also know Langers, Arts,Nate and Als, Jerrys but Greenblatt is unique.

    I am the previous owner of Johnny's Pastrami in Culver City. Why don't you go and try our "Famous French Dip Pastrami" on a roll made just for Johnny's and try it with our home made cole slaw. Our food is always fresh, and prepared every day from scratch. Just to let to know how good the food is, in my divorce settlment I insisted that I could go and eat there for "free" . I would call it a "Gentile Deli". Our Fried Shrimp is delivered fresh every day, where its cleaned and prepared for cooking. It's been around for over 55 years and still going strong.

  4. Great post. I really want to try Greenblatt's now.


  5. SAVE THE DELI! Hi, I'm loving your blog even tho I am now far, far away from L.A. ang Greenblatts. I can dream, can't I?

    Love the vodka/sandwich gimick, too clever. Wish I had thought of it. Happy blogging. Keri (a.k.a. Sam)