Growing up in Los Angeles I pretty much have tried every deli in Southern California. Junior’s was my grandmother, Tillie’s favorite, we were regulars. Sometimes we would even go for Passover or a High Jewish Holiday’s, so I knew Junior’s inside and out. Tillie could make many of Junior’s recipes at home. I am sure by now my readers know that I am a nice Jewish girl with very eclectic tastes, but a real authentic deli will always steal my heart away. When Junior’s closed and Lenny’s took over in 2013 I was very much a skeptic, which was also fueled by some friends that said it just wasn’t the same deli as before. This is my first time trying Lenny’s and I am here to tell you that the other high-end Deli’s in Los Angeles are going to have some serious competition. Lenny’s provide their customers with outstanding deli food as well as a little bit extra. Their customer base is expanding, you’ve got your old school families, but with their vegan delicacies, gluten free, and organic menu items, there’s a whole new crop of young hipsters trying Lenny’s Deli.
Their walls are filed with Los Angeles memorabilia of the way things used to be, but with health concerns and new younger customers this deli has had to cater to a sustainable, farm to table type of menu, with vegan replacement that allows you to enjoy many plant bases products. What I am saying is that Lenny’s Deli was a big surprise for me, filled with lovely old world Jewish favorites and other healthier dishes that made my taste bids dance. Really there is no need to go to the well-known fancy deli’s in Los Angeles anymore, I have found my new ethnic home that reminds me of my Grandmothers kitchen!
The customers are all types. I know from my Mom and her gal pals played pan, which is a dying card game in the back room. I saw the same type of women playing Mahjong while enjoying their lunch. There’s a business crowd, a studio crowd, seeing that Fox is very close by, as well as Sony. There is also a big celebrity following, liking the low key vibe: Ben Affleck, Bruce Willis, Jason Alexander, and Jon Voight have been spotted here numerous times. You can’t really pin down the demographic of this establishment, which is all ages and all over the map. One thing’s for sure everyone is enjoying their really great deli favorites!
Owner Lenny Rosenberg is a seasoned restaurateur having owned quite a few restaurants before Lenny’s Deli in Westwood, as well as being immersed in his family restaurant business since he was 7 years old. He is a highly driven man. He also has shows that have been brought to network, and is also an actor and writer. Now Lenny and his girlfriend Adesa Swan, are recognized throughout Los Angeles as “The Restaurant Doctors.” Recently, the pair formed their own production company together called Lars Productions, where they generate reality and travelogue shows that explore food establishments across the country. Lars Productions recently premiered The Grub on the JLTV Network. Some of his IMDB credits include: In the Dough (2019), Deadly Lessons (2006) and The Grub (2016).
Here’s what I tried:
Fresh Homemade sesame bagel, with eggs, bacon, and American cheese, hearty and warming, a great breakfast item.
Gefilte Fish, made fresh with lots of shredded carrots, nice, sweet, and truly delicious.
Chopped Liver, finely chopped with great chicken flavor.
Vegan Chopped Liver, you would never know that there was no real meat in this; it is just that good.
Chicken Soup, Mish Mash, matzo Ball, rice, and farfel. So much yummy goodness, and the matzo ball is so light and fluffy.
Mushroom Barley, made the old fashioned way with sliced mushrooms. The sliced mushrooms are enough to make this soup beautiful to look at and equally tasty.
Chinese Chicken Salad, mixed lettuce tossed with all natural shredded chicken, crispy wontons strips, green onions, in sesame dressing topped with mandarin oranges. The dressing is sweet and the salad is loaded with white meat shredded chicken, a really good salad.
Corned Beef, on fresh rye with macaroni salad. The corned beef is extremely tender and juicy, a real winner. The macaroni salad is very special, they use big thick macaroni and the mayonnaise blend is very delightful.
Grammy – Pastrami with coleslaw, Russian dressing and potato salad. What an accomplishment, really great pastrami, and the whole combo is remarkable.
Kasha Varnishkas, served hot with butter and gravy. Something Grandma Tillie used to make this, they hit the ball out of the park on this one.
The Rosenburger the ultimate all natural burger with cheese, mushrooms, grilled onions, lettuce, tomato and Russian dressing, served on a homemade onion pocket. The onion pocket is so wonderful. Along side this great burger with grilled onions and mushrooms, this one promises to be a crowd pleaser.
Albacore White Tuna Wrap, Albacore white tuna, stuffed in a tortilla with fresh lettuce, tomatoes and thousand Island dressing. This would be the menu item for the dieter or health conscious person.
Grilled Wild Salmon with rice. The salmon is cooked perfectly and the rice is a nice addition.
Turkey Pot Pie, served with rice with vegetables. Oh my goodness, what a treat!!
Hungarian Stuffed Cabbage, just like my grandma taught me how to make except for the sauce is just a bit sweeter.
Meat Loaf with mashed potatoes and gravy, nice thick slice, the mashed potatoes complete this meaty package, and the gravy is just wonderful.
Dr. Browns Cream Soda, this is my favorite soda ever.
Coffee, their coffee is rich and bold, take your time drinking this huge cup of Joe.
Uppercut, Sauvignon Blanc, CA. Sourced from California North Coast, bright and crisp. I would do this wine with the Chinese Chicken Salad, its just the right blend of acidity.
Woodwork, Chardonnay, CA. This Chardonnay exhibits the striking balance of rich, tropical fruit and fragrant oak, a pop of fresh citrus. Hands down you have to try this wine with the salmon, it hits all of the creamy notes.
Rosenblum, Zinfandel CA., Bright aromas of black cherry plum an raspberry open up this wine and continue through the palate subtle imprints of vanilla and mocha round the edges and lend depth and complexity. Either the burger or the meatloaf is a great pair with this very jammy wine. They have a wine deal where they will pour you 10 wines for $25.00 dollars, great deal.
Lenny’s Deli’s baked goods are made from scratch from their family recipes. Since the 1950’s Lenny’s family has been in the Jewish delicatessen and bakery business in New York. In 1996 Lenny brought his families concepts to Los Angeles with the opening of the Nosh of Beverly Hills and 17th Street Cafe and Bakery.
When Lenny Rosenberg took over Junior’s he completely renovated the interior space. It is very clean with fantastic black and white photos of Los Angeles memorabilia. The maroon banquets are comfy, with their Motown music adding to the fun atmosphere. Lots of flats screens TV showing all different types of programming, from sports to owner Lenny’s own show.
Then there’s Tom – catering manager, who has seen may incarnations of this space. He has been here for 33 years, and knows all of The Juniors gossip and still loves every minute of it. We discussed the old Sunset Blvd. in the 90’s when he worked for Le Dome; one of my past hangouts. I just loved him; he is the heart and soul of Lenny’s and when you meet him please enjoy all of his wonderful knowledge of the Los Angeles restaurant scene.
So next time you want great deli run don’t walk to Lenny’s Deli, it’s a real treat for all of you deli lovers. I should know I’m probably the best judge of this fantastic type of food, only a *fresser knows a good corn beef sandwich and Lenny’s past my test!!
*(Yiddish – Fresser: to eat or snack, especially often or in large quantities.)
2379 Westwood Blvd.
LA, CA 90064