Micah Wexler started with a dream of opening a old-school Jewish deli. Named Wexler’s Deli, he opened in Grand Central Market in DTLA and recently opened another location in Santa Monica. I was in the mood for a good pastrami sandwich and so I drove there on a recent Saturday morning.
Wexler’s Deli is located across the street from the beautiful Santa Monica Public Library. Fortunately, there was plenty of metered parking available. I was happy to find a spot a block away from the restaurant.
Wexler’s Deli serves breakfast from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and serves sandwiches starting at 10:00 a.m. Since their in-house smoked salmon intrigued me, I timed my visit for the one hour overlap between breakfast and lunch.
I found it incredible that they make freshly brewed coffee by the cup. When a cup of coffee is ordered, they grind enough beans to brew a cup. The machine can brew two cups at a time. Watching them do this, I found it hard to believe that they didn’t brew an entire pot to save time. Similarly they make their fresh squeezed orange juice in-house.
It was interesting to see the types of customers they have. Some dined inside, either at a table or solo at the counter, while others ordered food to go. Quite a few people called ahead for their food and lined up at the to go sign.
In addition to their pastrami, Wexler’s Deli was also known for their lox and smoked fish. Because I arrived before 11:00 a.m., I ordered a bagel with everything, lox and cream cheese ($14) and dined at the counter. Biting into the bagel with lox and cream cheese was an amazing experience. I savored each bite: the crunch of the bagel and the velvety nature of the lox.
I purchased two sandwiches to go, the O.G. with pastrami (Original Gangster $13) and the Reuben with corned beef ($13). After coming home, I shared them with my wife. The rye bread is made to Wexler’s specifications by Etchea Bakery and is sourdough-like in consistency. It is crusty on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside.
The Reuben was outstanding in every way. The outside was perfectly grilled rye bread and smoked corned beef, tangy sauerkraut, Russian dressing and melted swiss cheese filled the inside.
The brisket is cured and then smoked at a low temperature. It is then steamed to achieve its tenderness. Unlike other sandwich shops, they slice it thick and when biting into it, you can taste the full applewood smoky flavor. Pepper and additional spices enhances the flavor even more.
Wexler’s Deli, 616 Santa Monica Blvd. Santa Monica, CA
Hours Daily 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.