August 2, 2021 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Food Review: An Almost-Essential Westside Sandwich

Johnnie’s french dip pastrami sandwich in Culver City 

By Kerry Slater 

While there are far better sandwiches in Los Angeles, a longtime restaurant serves up a pastrami sandwich that can almost be considered an essential Westside culinary item. 

Johnnie’s Pastrami, located at 4017 Sepulveda Blvd in Culver City, is often overlooked due to its proximity to LA-institution Tito’s Tacos. Make no mistake however: Johnnie’s is every bit as essential to the Westside dining scene as Tito’s is. 

This review with focus only on Johnnie’s signature item: a French dip pastrami sandwich. Checking in at $14.95, this is not a cheap sandwich, but as I found out later can easily feed two people. The sandwich comes with sliced pickles on the side, which I ordered extra of for 35 cents. Note that Johnnie’s is cash-only, even during the pandemic. In addition, it should be noted that there are currently no seating options available at the restaurant as the patio remains closed. 

Waiting for my order, I was able to observe the sandwich being made. This was an incredibly simple operation that consisted of stuffing a mustarded and dipped French roll with heaps of steaming-hot pastrami. Less than five minutes later my sandwich was ready, an impressive speed considering I was there during lunch rush. 

The first bite and every subsequent bite thereafter was dominated by meat. I cannot empathize enough how much pastrami is on this sandwich, held together surprisingly well by the soft French roll. While this sandwich is stacked with meat, the thinly sliced pastrami is pretty subtle and on the verge of bland, but in a good way. If the meat was any more seasoned, it would be too salty and overpowering considering its quantity. 

I came into the meal pretty hungry, yet despite this I could not finish the whole sandwich and took the rest home. Two people can easily share it for lunch, which makes the $14.95 price tag seem more reasonable. And also pastrami sandwiches are never cheap in general, so one should not be discouraged by the cost. Johnnie’s also offers the option of a half sandwich for $9.75, which I will probably get on my next solo trip to the restaurant. 

There are much better pastrami sandwiches in Los Angeles. Langer’s–arguably the best pastrami in the U.S.– and Wexler’s Deli, just to name a few. There are also better French dip sandwiches in Philippe’s and Cole’s. So why is Johnnie’s French dip pastrami an almost essential Westside sandwich? For starters, it is one of the better pastrami sandwiches on the Westside. Second, it fills the culinary niche of a no-frills, hot, filling sandwich made in front of your eyes. Finally, it’s a great example of simple food, something I am a sucker for. Just bread, meat, mustard and broth coming together for a lunch that will hit the spot for any carnivore with an appetite. 

While overshadowed by the fame of Tito’s, I think Johnnie’s french dip pastrami is arguably a better food item than a hard shell taco at Tito’s. I may catch some heat from this, but to me Tito’s is overpriced mediocre food. Johnnie’s french dip pastrami, by contrast, is a fairly priced sandwich that may not knock your socks off but is still a very solid offering. Essential? Not quite, but close and worth a visit to next time you are in the area.  

Taste 7.5/10
Value: 
7.8/10
Quality: 
7.5/10
Overall: 7.6/10

Related Posts

Library Director Patty Wong to Leave Santa Monica

July 30, 2021

July 30, 2021

Santa Monica Public Library (SMPL) Director Patty Wong announced recently that she will leave Santa Monica to take on the...

Umami Burger Opening Two Santa Monica Adjacent Locations

July 29, 2021

July 29, 2021

Popular burger restaurant coming to Main Street, San Vicente  By Kerry Slater Popular restaurant Umami Burger will be opening two...

City Council Prioritizes Housing for Historically Displaced Households

July 28, 2021

July 28, 2021

At its meeting on July 13, Santa Monica City Council made changes to Santa Monica’s Affordable Housing Production Program and...

Malibu Wine Trail Part 2: Montage Vineyards Private Estate

July 28, 2021

July 28, 2021

Today on the Malibu Wine Trail we stop by Montage Vineyards and chat with an artisan winemaker who gives us...

Homeless Man Charged with Hate Crime in Assault of Korean Woman in Santa Monica

July 27, 2021

July 27, 2021

Melvin Taylor faces charges in connection to July 23 incident By Sam Catanzaro Hate crime charges have been filed against...

Homeless Advocate Arrested Near Shelter on Suspicion of Dealing Drugs, Claims no Wrongdoing

July 27, 2021

July 27, 2021

65-year-old Garry Featherstone accused of selling meth, PCP By Sam Catanzaro A self-described homeless outreach advocate was recently arrested near...

Off Leash Dog Park And Picnic Area Coming To Downtown Santa Monica: Santa Monica Beat – July 27, 2021

July 27, 2021

July 27, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Off Leash Dog Park And Picnic Area Coming To Downtown Santa...

Two Arrested for Main Street Bike Shop Burglary

July 23, 2021

July 23, 2021

Two suspects were arrested for the burglary of a Main Street bike store after the owner witnessed the crime via...

Council Selects Berkeley Deputy City Manager to Helm Santa Monica

July 23, 2021

July 23, 2021

David White to be Santa Monica’s next City Manager starting in October  By Sam Catanzaro Santa Monica City Council has...

Father’s Office Now Open on Montana Avenue

July 22, 2021

July 22, 2021

Santa Monica favorite reopens for in-person service  By Kerry Slater  Burger and beer stalwart Father’s Office has reopened their Santa...

Cooking With Kale – Market Report

July 21, 2021

July 21, 2021

Greens such as kale can sometimes be overlooked in the kitchen, today we chat about all the fun ways to...

Malibu Wine Trail Part 1: Rosenthal Malibu Estate Vineyards

July 21, 2021

July 21, 2021

Malibu is home to 52 wineries and vineyards spanning over 44,000 acres of land tucked away in the Santa Monica...

Ocean Park Library Set to Reopen

July 20, 2021

July 20, 2021

New self-service hours begin July 28 By Sam Catanzaro The Santa Monica Public Library’s Ocean Park Branch is set to...

Police Tase Suspect Following Santa Monica Beach Stabbing

July 19, 2021

July 19, 2021

32-year-old man arrested Sunday evening on Santa Monica Beach, suffers head injuries in arrest By Sam Catanzaro As part of...