25 February 2006
12224 Ventura Bouelvard
Studio City, CA

Atmosphere: Very clean and bright. Like they were expecting company. But I guess that’s okay. To their credit, the whole place fell down during the quake in ’94 and they had to rebuild it. So I suppose they’ve got an excuse.
Attitude: Jewish family running the business. Very big plus in my book (See Canter’s). I love to see people taking care in running the business right, going around to schmooze with customers. Huge.
Food [general]: Possibly the best egg salad sandwich I’ve had at a Jewish deli. Rye was incredibly fresh. Sadly, the french fries were undercooked.
Pickles: Good. Quite good, but not quite Brent’s.
Dr. Brown’s black cherry: Check.
Summary: Studio City said here is a Jewish deli and i said yes. And a fine one at that. Knock down the halogens a notch and I’d say we have a deal. Though the sandwich may be the best of the lot, as an overall package, Art’s is just not as good as Brent’s.

Atmosphere: A little bright-and-shiny for my tastes: bright white counters and tiles, everything gleaming like a movie set. Having said that, it is a post-fire rebuild, and I never saw the original. My hope is that 20 years from now, when the place is faded and yellowed, it will give off a wonderful old-fashioned charm. The fact that it’s in Studio City is a mixed blessing. It’s a pretty soulless neighborhood from the corporate-commerce-bleeds-community-dry standpoint, but it fits in with the handful of independent businesses, and is a highlight of the drag.
Attitude: Another frantic deli, which is great. Waitstaff everywhere, busy-bodying in every direction. We met up with some of Robin’s family who are regulars, and they had some fun banter with the staff. We asked where to get the best deli in the Bay Area—the woman told us “…doesn’t exist.” Good, spirited vibe, if not the edgiest sort.
Food [general]: The pastrami was excellent: piled high, and delicious. It’s a signature item—their business card is a picture of a pastrami-and-mustard sandwich — and my high hopes were realized. Not quite as good as Brent’s, and nowhere near as good as Langer’s, but it’s a sandwich I’d have a hard time passing up. No issue with building mine to order, w/toasted rye, coleslaw, and swiss. Fries were fine, if forgettable.
Pickles: Not quite sour enough, but still interesting enough that I ate a couple. The pickles were delivered without request, which always retails points from me.
Summary: Solid and delicious. Not great enough to inspire a trip to LA on its own, but great enough to make me insist on a visit if there’s a reason to be in the area.