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Nov 2, 2001 05:04 PM

pastrami sandwich in SF?

  • f

any suggestions?

please elaborate on quality of meat, bread, and condiments

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  1. z
    Zach Georgopoulos

    I recently did a search on chowhound for this same thing, and the consensus from previous posts seems to be East Coast West Deli on Polk St. (at California). Went there yesterday and can confirm that the pastrami is, so far, the best I've had here in SF. I also hear that there's a place somewhere around Market and 14th that has great pastrami, but I've been unable to find it...

    The meat at East Meets West is juicy and appears to be hand sliced. Bread was alright, with a nice snap to the crust. The sandwich itself wasn't as big as the sort of beast you might get at Carnegie or Stage in N'Yawk, but then again there's only so much you can eat at lunchtime...

    4 Replies
    1. re: Zach Georgopoulos

      To those unfamilair with the area, the deli is actually located between Washington and Clay--a couple of blocks north of California. Don't want anyone getting lost while suffering a major craving.

      And since every poster is not necessarily familiar with Jewish deli fare, I'm assuming the sandwich comes on "Jewish" rye--the light colored and -textured, caraway-seed dotted variety--with traditional (Gulden's) and, I hope, also Russian sweet-hot style mustards and "half-sour" (still crunchy) dill pickles.

      I also hope the pastrami maintains a modicum of fat, since both it and corned beef turn dry as dust if they are completely lean, more's the pity. (I don't know first-hand because unfortunately business must not be too good and the place has cut back its closing time from 10 till 9, a bit early in our tums for deli. Midnight would be more like it for us, but SF has always been an early town!)

      1. re: Fine
        Zach Georgopoulos

        Yeh, sorry about the directions. I parked at Polk and Cal, and just walked until I found it, not noticing that I had crossed other streets...

        As to rye, I noticed the menu proclaimed a variety of breads, but they never asked and they served the sandwich with a rye that meets your description (which was fine by me -- I can't imagine eating Pastrami on some type of roll). They asked if I wanted "deli mustard," to which I naturally said yes, and I think it was either Gulden's or Beaver. The meat did, in fact, maintain a good amount of fat. I think this is why it's better than any other pastrami I've had in SF. I'm no expert on this, though, having only eaten two Pastrami sandwiches in NY (one at Carnegie and one at Stage), so I'm loathe to give any sort of rave review...

        1. re: Fine
          Melanie Wong

          My one time at East-West I requested a half sour pickle and was told "no got".

          1. re: Fine
            Shep aka 2 Cheap Hungry Guys

            Now you guys got the saliva flowin!! Forget about Barney's, I'm goin to Brennan's for a pastrami. It's as good as any, if you're lucky enough to be in the East Bay. Hand-sliced, fairly thick, so the cured marbleized quality of the meat is emphasized in a way you don't get in the thin "deli" slices. Juicy. and enough fat for plenty of flavor. Gulden's on the tables, and jars of horseradish. The guys on the line always ask if you want mayo, lettuce, or tomato, but they're good guys.

            The hofbrau at 20th and Broadway in Oakland has hand-sliced pastrami, too, as does Sam's on Hegenberger, and the Harry's chain. Oh, was this a SF thread? Gee, well, I've had good juicy hand-sliced pastrami at Tommy's on Van Ness.

            10:23, only 37 more minutes till Brennan's opens...

        2. A very popular place to get hot pastrami is called Judy-May's cafe, but there is no sign out front. It's across from the Safeway at Church and Market, next to Cafe Cuvee. Just peek in the windows and look for the line of people waiting. May is a true character, an older Vietnamese woman and she makes a hell of a pastrami sandwich for under $5.

          3 Replies
          1. re: speck
            Zach Georgopoulos

            Ah ha! That's the place somebody told me about long ago, but I've never been able to find. Thanks for the description.

            1. re: speck

              I went hungarily looking for Judy-May's early in the afternoon (Saturday). Was it the unsigned closed place to the left of Cafe Cuvee, just past the Snowbright Launderette on 14th near the corner of Church and Market? I would try again, but please confirm the location. Had to settle not too unhappily for boudin noir at Cafe Bastille.

              1. re: Phil Coffino

                you are definately in the right neighborhood. i never knew what it was called, i just ate pastrami with abandon. the only drawback to me was the soft rye bread, i really wanted mine toasted, but it's a mechine there and you'd better be ready with your order-the way they like it!

            2. The recently opened East Coast West on Polk Street (at Washington?) serves as authentic (i.e. New York Jewish deli-like) a pastrami sandwich as I've had in Northern California.


              1. I'm surprised that no one has mentioned Moshe's Pipic on Hayes near Gough. It seems to be their primary hot meat, stored in a steam cabinet and served "Chicago Style". They slice it really thin and pile it really high.

                Another SF pastrami I always go back for at Chick 'n' Coop an excellent neighborhood Hof Brau on Mission near Excelsior (Chick 'n' Coop locations are not affiliated with each other any more, btw)

                And I can't leave off the pastrami that won my heart as kid working in the family stationery store in San Bruno: Roma's in the 400 block of San Mateo Avenue in San Bruno. (go only during lunch hour to hot food side of the counter) You wont be disappointed.