Categorized | American

LA versus NYC style Pastrami – In this corner “The Hat”!

Posted on 28 January 2014 by Danny


When I’m in New York City, I always make it a point to get pastrami at least once during my trip.  Do people think the same thing when traveling to California?  Probably not, but should they?  If you’re a fan of The Hat’s Pastrami Dip, you might be thinking “Hell yeah you should!”.

Traditional New York pastrami is made from the navel end of the brisket.  It’s cured in brine then coated with a mix of spices such as garlic coriander, black pepper, paprika, coves, all spice and mustard seed.  It’s then smoked.  Finally, the meat is steamed until the connective tissues within the meat break down into gelatin.  It’s typically served hot on rye bread.

LA vs NY Pastrami

LA vs NY Pastrami






In Los Angeles, classic pastrami sandwiches usually use hot pastrami right out of the steamer, sliced and layered on double-baked Jewish-style rye bread.  It can also be served on a french roll.  Typically, the meat is served sliced very thinly, with some of the brine wetting the meat, as a result making the sandwich a little saltier.   It’s traditionally accompanied by yellow mustard and pickles.

Mention pastrami to Southern Californians and one place often comes to mind, The Hat.  With 10 locations around the southland including 2 in Orange County (Brea and Lake Forest), The Hat has been serving up their pastrami goodness since 1951.  Having grown up in the San Gabriel Valley, I have great memories of going to The Hat as a kid and trying to wolf down their monster size sandwiches and sides.

The Hat in Brea

The Hat in Brea









The Pastrami Dip is their signature sandwich and I believe is named so because the sandwich is lightly dipped in the cooking liquid.  It’s served with mustard and pickles and is oh so good.  Extra mustard for me is always in order.

Pastrami Dip Sandwich at The Hat

Pastrami Dip Sandwich at The Hat






Pastrami Dip

Pastrami Dip











To me, there’s no clear cut winner when it comes to comparing LA vs NY pastrami.  I like both of them just fine.  Just don’t get me started on Chicago versus New York pizza.   For that, there is a clear winner but I’ll save that for another post!   🙂

The Hat

1210 East Imperial Highway

Brea, CA

The Hat on Urbanspoon

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One Response to “LA versus NYC style Pastrami – In this corner “The Hat”!”

  1. humberto says:

    I’d rally like to get some help getting the recipe for cooking pastrami L.A. style if someone could help me I’d really appreciate it. Thanks ( we don have any Pastrami here in Baja California Mexico )

    Thanks again Humberto

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