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no more Niman pastrami at Saul's [Berkeley]

Not that using Niman pastrami was a guarantee of greatness, but Wood Tavern and Saul's both used it, as did Della Fattoria in their eccentric but great Reuben. Saul's plans to smoke their own, eventually.

http://insidescoopsf.sfgate.com/blog/...

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Della Fattoria
141 Petaluma Blvd N, Petaluma, CA 94952

Wood Tavern
6317 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618

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  1. My understanding is that Saul's had been serving pastrami made with brisket from an undisclosed source (through RC Provisions, which does their smoking) for several weeks already - then RC told them they couldn't guarantee the quality or provenance of the meat anymore, so Saul's pulled out altogether.

    I love Wood Tavern's pastrami sandwich and would be curious about their plans. And I thought the pastrami was OK at Saul's, but the stuff coming out of the Wise Sons smoke box is on a completely different level (albeit, from what I've heard, perhaps somewhat inconsistent from week to week). Wise Sons' brisket is from Creekstone Farms.

    It will be interesting to see how Saul's manages smoking their own meat, given that they have such a bigger volume of customers than what is for now a little pop-up operation.

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    Wood Tavern
    6317 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618

    Saul's Deli
    1475 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94709

    Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen
    San Francisco, San Francisco, CA

    6 Replies
    1. re: abstractpoet

      Wise Sons is a pop-up that serves pastrami once a week plus occasionally at special events.

      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        It's my understanding that Wise is looking for a permanent space and it's just a matter of signing a lease (which, I guess, sometimes takes forever), so they must be working out how to scale up that production from a 1x weekly batch.

        I liked their pastrami, but only tried it once, so I'm not sure how and if the quality changes from week to week.

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          I tried Wise Sons for the first time last Saturday--beautiful slabs delivered to the chopping block and sliced before your eyes as you wait impatiently in line. Very lean but extremely moist and flavorful, served on perfect corn rye. Not as salty nor as bountiful as the pastrami sandwich at Wood Tavern, and the accompanying lump of potato salad--though made with the skins--was tasteless. Ok, I kept thinking about the frites and IPAs on tap at Wood Tavern, but Wise Sons is a different kind of experience altogether and for what it is, done very well.

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          Wood Tavern
          6317 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618

          1. re: dordogne

            Sounds kind of like The Refuge's housemade pastrami, which somehow manages to be juicy and flavorful like traditional fatty pastrami even though it appears to be as lean as the awful stuff that most places pass off as pastrami these days.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              I went to Refuge once and while i thought the pastrami had decent flavor I was put of that it came in chunks rather than as thin slices. Was this anomalous? Or has it been chunky when you have eaten it at Refuge?

              1. re: artychokeasana

                They slice it thick. Except for the flavor, it's nothing like traditional pastrami.

      2. No pastrami interruptus from Wood Tavern.The person who cures/smokes for Niman Ranch will continue to supply Wood Tavern with pastrami for its wonderful sandwich.

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        Wood Tavern
        6317 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618

        9 Replies
        1. re: dordogne

          Saul's problem wasn't with the smoking but with sourcing a steady large supply of top-quality meat of the appropriate cut (navel plate, I presume).

          Maybe Wood Tavern doesn't sell as much so doesn't share Saul's concern about the volume.

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          Wood Tavern
          6317 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618

          1. re: dordogne

            Saul's was using Niman Ranch meat but the smoking was done by RC Provision, which smokes and processes the pastrami served at many of the big-name L.A. places, like Langer's. Does Wood Tavern use a different process? Does Niman Ranch even do its own smoking?

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            Wood Tavern
            6317 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618

            1. re: abstractpoet

              The guy I spoke to at Wood Tavern (wasn't Rich, but whoever it was clearly knew what was what) said that WT's source does the smoking for Niman Ranch but is an independent who supplies a number of places, so it could be RC Provision.

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              Wood Tavern
              6317 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618

              1. re: dordogne

                If that's the case, then I don't think their pastrami is going to be made from Niman Ranch beef anymore. Proof will be in the pudding, I guess, as far as taste/quality is concerned.

                1. re: dordogne

                  The only smoked product left in Niman Ranch's online store is ham.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Trader Joe's has discontinued carrying Niman Ranch ham steaks.

                    1. re: SunsetKid

                      Costco still has Niman Ranch ham halves.

                2. re: abstractpoet

                  abstract poet: It's amazing that Saul's smoking is done by the same place that does Langer's. We have stopped going to Saul's because the food is just not good. The chicken soup is almost completely tasteless (except for the taste of celery) and the pastrami sandwich is just okay some of the time and actually NOT good at others.

                  Langer's pastrami (we ate there a couple of months ago and have gone there regularly when we lived in L.A.) is still really good, tasty, moist and with just enough fat.

                3. re: dordogne

                  I went to Wood Tavern and the pastrami sandwich was as good as ever, if anything better.

                  So I guess nobody but Saul's has a problem.

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                  Wood Tavern
                  6317 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618

                4. Saul's blog re their housemade pastrami: "Navel or brisket. One is too fatty, the other too dry."

                  http://saulsdeli.com/deli/housemade-p...