Expanding the Canter's Canon

Pastrami, pastrami everywhere

The menu at Canter's is a sprawling one.

Surely you've tried a Canter's Fairfax sandwich, but how many times have you eaten the broiled beef liver? Never, you say?

So when word came that the menu was to be both trimmed and updated, we didn't fret. And true to the original, the new Canter's menu is nebulous; we spotted three menus, each listing different items, at nearby tables.

But we're sure of this: The new dishes are long on pastrami. Pastrami in a "Panini melt" ($10); pastrami in quesadillas ($10); pastrami in eggs Benedict ($9).

The latter, ostensibly a breakfast dish, is best eaten between the hours of midnight and 4 a.m., preferably in an altered state. Strips of pink, peppered beef take on the smoky roll of Canadian bacon, while the weight and color of the hollandaise is uncannily nacho-cheese-like. This is the best–and perhaps worst–of the greasy spoon as filtered through the delicatessen lens.

The Canter's quesadilla recalls the deli's roots in Boyle Heights, where the shift from Eastern European to Mexican immigration was likely responsible for the advent of the pastrami burrito.

Pastrami on rye, meet your competition. 

Canter's Delicatessen, 419 N. Fairfax Ave., Mid-City; 323-651-2030 or cantersdeli.com