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Feb 29, 2012 02:38 PM

In dire need of an East Coast Jewish Deli!

Craving a big fat hot pastrami on rye -- or a thinly sliced corned beef on rye with cole slaw & russian dressing -- or lox (nova of course!) on a Real bagel -- maybe some chocolate babka?

Looking forward to checking out Wise & Son.

Will travel within 2 hours of the Bay Area for any of the above!

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  1. Wise Sons, Saul's, The Refuge, Wood Tavern (lunch only), and Miller's are the current contenders, though don't get your hopes up.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      Why not?
      Which is worth the trip & closest to an East Coast deli experience?

      1. re: randej

        There are lots of reports here on all of them. Opinions vary but in one way or another most fall short of satisfying a craving for an old-school NY-style pastrami sandwich.

    2. I picked up a sandwich at the Millers in San Rafael and thought it was pretty good. It was the Buddha - chopped chicken liver, pastrami, Russian dressing, red onion, lettuce and tomato on marble rye. I subbed corned beef for the pastrami. If they had toasted the bread and included the tomato, I would have been even happier. Big sandwich (and big price, about $12.50) came with a good light sour pickle tasting of clove and some average mac salad. I'll go back -

      Miller's East Coast Deli
      1725 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109

      1. There's also Moishe's Pippic in Hayes valley, nice thinly sliced hot pastrami but as Robert said don't get your hopes up. I've been to all the places on the list (not Wood Tavern) he mentions and none of them really compare to the real deal which for me is at Katz in NYC.
        FWIW I did like Saul's when they were using Niman Ranch but I've heard they are now making their own and it's not as good.
        Please report back on what you try.

        1 Reply
        1. re: virtualguthrie

          Seconding Moishe's Pippic, very nice sandwich in a humble setting.

        2. Shmendrick's bagels had a popup across from Bi-Rite market, and I'm not sure when they'll be doing it again. Very good stuff. Next time they do it, I'm going to stop at a Russian store along Geary for cheap smoked herring, pick up some lox, and then make a picnic with their bagels. Be warned that their first pop-up lasted around an hour, and only allowed one bagel per person.

          I haven't eaten any stellar Babka in the Bay Area, but use the search function to locate places with Green's Babka (exported from Brooklyn).

          3 Replies
          1. re: hyperbowler

            The babka Wise Sons makes is good as is the babka sold at Pal's Takeaway.

            New World Market on Geary is what I recommend for pickles, although Bi-Rite's smoked salmon is excellent.

            Refuge has decent pastrami, but nothing here is a real NY deli experience, nor are there many left in NY. Moishe's Pippic is a Chicago deli. Note this has been discussed on many prior threads.

            New World Market
            5641 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94121

            1. re: Windy

              I liked Refuge's meat a lot, but it was unlike any pastrami I've ever had elsewhere. Reminded me more of tongue. Otherwise, it was the most NY-style sandwich I've had in these parts in a while.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                Their pastrami is milder flavored than just about any I've eaten, at least any worthy of note. Because of that, I keep adding mustard to it, looking for that pastrami zing. But its melt in your mouth tenderness (at least most of the time) does make it particularly distinctive. I like it quite a bit, even if it falls short in certain ways.

          2. Today's Marin Independent Journal had review of the San Rafael outpost of Miller's East Coast Deli. Link below. Most interesting to me was the observation that the SR version had authentic NY deli dishes not served at the SF original. I have yet to try but intend to soon.

            1 Reply
            1. re: alfairfax

              My pastrami sandwich from Miller's San Rafael was terrible. Suuuper fatty, and inedibly salty (yes, I know what pastrami is supposed to taste like; my family is from NY). They also forgot the mustard AND pickle. The rye bread was OK. Takeout service was remarkably inefficient. Overall, my grandparents would be spinning in their graves.