Monthly Archives: May 2011

Fromin’s and Hot Pastrami

  • Fromin's #1
  • Fromin's #2

I’ve known for a while that I wanted to do a post about Fromin’s because it’s one of those places that is the ultimate Jewish deli.  Growing up in Santa Monica, I think I ate Fromin’s almost every Sunday for about five years.

When I went to Fromin’s with Sara, I decided to get the hot pastrami sandwich (on rye of course) which comes with a lovely little bowl of au jus on the side (not pictured).  As far as this sandwich goes, I don’t have a whole lot to say – this sandwich was even more simple than my last post and about eight million times better.  Perfectly cooked pastrami that juicily melts in your mouth, some swiss cheese, a touch of dijon mustard, and fluffy rye bread. Dip an already great sandwich in au jus, and of course it only gets better.  Which all goes to show that if done right, simple can be awesome.

The other interesting thing about Fromin’s is that it is only about four blocks away from another well known Santa Monica Jewish deli called Izzy’s, and the community seems to be loyal to one deli or the other, but not both.  This may also stem from the fact that the clientele at each restaurant is very different. Izzy’s is open 24 hours and is the kind of place that has a million pictures of the owner with various celebrities…the demographic here is much more varied and includes tourists, hoodlums, and a spattering of 10-13 year olds from the middle school up the street (in addition to the diner loving Jews of Santa Monica).  Fromin’s, on the other hand, has pretty much one type of customer: the elderly Jewish couple.  In fact, when Sara and I went, we were the youngest customers by at least 40 years.

Now, you may be thinking, why are you a Fromin’s customer instead of an Izzy’s kind of girl?  Wouldn’t you rather be among people who are closer to your peers?  Well let me tell you.  The Jewish deli is a place that I feel has been robbed of its true nature, especially in Southern California.  Instead of feeling like local spots where everyone knows each other and the food is just like grandma used to make, they give off a very commercial vibe.  It always seems to me like I’m caught in a tourist trap: welcome to SoCal, the land of the Jews…you must be this tall to ride.  Look!  Real Jewish grandparents eating knishes and borscht!  Fromin’s feels real – no show, no gimmick, just the same people working and eating day after day.  THIS is why i love Fromin’s.  Every single person seems to have an emotional connection to this deli, whether you grew up having their chicken noodle soup when you were sick, or it’s the place your grandparents took you every Saturday after your soccer game.