Smoked Fish Battle: Wexler's Deli Santa Monica vs. Gjusta

Naan Hut on Wilshire also this. And yes, their sangak is a great vehicle for the olive. I can’t do a whole pint of this - sangak takes up tummy real estate.


Hi @theoffalo,

Oh I can handle stuff like Pork Belly and Porchetta once in a while, but while the fat content was gross, the real issue was that their Pastrami just wasn’t cooked long enough to break down the connective tissue. Even if we wanted to swallow all of that fat, we couldn’t chew through the gristle / connective tissue. It was really off-putting. :frowning: (As in even after chewing over 20+ times (same piece), it was still all gristle and wasn’t tender.) It was some of the worst Pastrami I’ve had in a long time.

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Great review. Thank you for clarifying this is Nova (smoked salmon) and not lox.

Their menu wasn’t clear as they just call it lox.

I got what I was told was the last of the black cod today at Gjusta. Good, but nothing to me is better than their smoked trout. It’s absolutely phenomenal.

I feel like that is pretty much the norm in LA (and most places outside of NYC). Wexler’s, Gjusta and most other spots all just simply call it “lox”, knowing that’s what most people think of. Pretty rare to see a place calling it nova.


I’ve never found real lox in California. It’s always nova.

Gjelina/GTA has dialed in that smoked trout for a while - love it, and I am not a trout fan.

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Hi @Helper_Monkey,

Nice! :slight_smile: One of my friends is like you: They love Gjusta’s Smoked Trout the most. :slight_smile: I really like it as well, just have fallen in love with their Smoked Salmon Belly and Smoked Hiramasa Yellowtail slightly more. :slight_smile:

Bummer, isn’t it?

Juniors (then Lenny’s) used to have it and so did the now defunct Abe’s deli in Northridge. Wasn’t there a Barney Greengrass here on L.A?

This place in Gardena sells belly lox but it looks like you may need to buy a whole fish:

Brent’s Northridge LOX
Hand-Sliced Smoked Nova Salmon also

Sorry for that. I made nova with this recipe,, and it was great (despite my guilt as using so much water), but I haven’t found a good recipe for belly yet. Will check back when I do as Copper River salmon has just come into season.

I WISH! Unless something has changed in the last year, Brent’s only has Nova. I have spoken to the GM about them calling it Atlantic lox on their menu. He confirmed it was smoked salmon and and he agreed they probably should specify it is smoked or call it nova. But I can see they never did.

Still waiting for someone to start smoking eel and sturgeon… :disappointed:

While far from the worst pastrami I have ever had, I have to concur that the pastrami was not cooked long enough–a problem I do not recall having had with the sandwich at GCM (nor ever at Langer’s), The Nova, on the other hand, is stellar. I am hoping that the issue with the pastrami is just be a case of opening adjustments being needed as I like having Wexler’s closer and am looking forward to trying the chicken soup, LEO and the egg cream (probably not all in the same meal). Small line today and it moved quickly.

There seems to be some uncertainty as to what is lox and what is not. While this may not be the true word, here is the explanation from Russ and Daughters:

Most likely, when people refer to “lox,” as in “bagels and lox,” they are referring to smoked salmon, typically the traditional Gaspe Nova. Belly lox is not smoked salmon; it is salmon that is cured in salt. Unlike smoked salmon, belly lox is very salty, but for those who grew up with this taste, there is no substitute.

Gaspe Nova Smoked Salmon - Mild and succulent, this is classic Nova at its best. The pure, fresh North Atlantic taste and satiny texture will be savored by any palate.

What’s the difference between cold smoking vs. hot smoking?
All of our salmon, except kippered salmon, is cold smoked. This is a slow and exacting process in which the fish is carefully infused with a secret blend of wood essences in a special oven where the temperature never rises above 83 degrees Fahrenheit. This traditional process creates the silkiness of smoked salmon. Our kippered salmon, on the contrary, is hot smoked, giving it a flaky, yet juicy, consistency.

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Yeah, they started that BS explanation a few years back. “If you can’t beat 'em, join 'em” – sellouts :slight_smile:

next thing you know they’ll put a hole in soft white bread and someone will say that’s a bagel. Oh, wait, they already do… It’s called Noah’s.

It’s not bullshit. They sell lox and warn people who don’t know what it is that it’s salty and not smoked.


I mis-read this. Okay, I stand corrected and apologize for my comments… Except about Noah’s :slight_smile:

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Tried it (Wexler’s) yesterday. Have never had the smoked fish at Gjusta. Only have vague memories of my pastrami at Wexler’s GCM (which I remember thinking was good but not memorable… I also don’t remembering it being thick cut, but that must be me misremember, yes?).

My pastrami yesterday was great. Yes, there was some fat but not a lot of gristle, but it was all pretty meltingly tender. Taste was not as good as Langer’s, and of course the bread was WAY off (vs. Langer’s). However, I thought that all-in-all it was a very respectable sandwich (and better than I remember my pastrami at GCM being). Price is, of course, pretty high.

Maybe there’s a QC issue w/ Wexler’s? Hope that, if so, it’s a temporary thing b/c what I had yesterday was very promising.

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Meanwhile, I’m noshing on Lodge Bread’s smoked salmon, smoked trout salad, & labneh.



Is Lodge smoking fish?