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Corned Beef - SF Dish of the Month (March 2013)

Lots of different votes this month, but corned beef had the most! Here's a link to the vote: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/892110

The goal of Dish of the Month is to collectively try as many versions of corned beef as possible during the month of March! So let's start exploring and eating—report back with reviews and photos.

For those who regularly eat corned beef in the Bay Area, hopefully this project can lead to a new favorite version, and for those who don't usually seek it out, hopefully this will be an excuse to go out and try some!

Dave MP

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  1. Yay for corned beef! I l already have a brisket on order from 4505 Meats to corn my own, but look forward to comparing my version to a few pro ones.

    1. Lame! Just my useless opinion. So many great dishes, and this one is DOTM????

      6 Replies
      1. re: sambamaster

        This might be a hard DOTM to keep focused--- outside the home, corned beef isn't typically eaten as a dish in and of itself these days. Corned beef sandwiches aside, it's more commonly eaten as a component of a dish (e.g., reuben, corned beef hash, corned beef and cabbage). Whichever way we get access to it, it would be helpful for people to report on whether the corned beef is housemade or not.

        1. re: hyperbowler

          Don't forget povi-masima boiled with taro tubers and leaves. :)

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            Ha! South Pacific Island Restaurant near the Cow Palace has that, or at least did when I was there in Dec. 2008.

            1. re: hyperbowler

              never heard of it, but it definitely sounds interesting.

              1. re: escargot3

                I know this is not the site for recipes but I think this one is importantthediscussion.

                BTW Grocery Outlet has Reuben Brand corned beef for $2.59 a pound with pieces as small as 2 pounds, perfect for couples..

      2. had the corned beef hash a month ago at
        Min's Kitchen
        3505 Clayton Rd
        Concord, Ca.
        it tasted burnt, not fresh, had bits of corned beef in it. probably canned.
        hashed browns looked like burnt mash potatoes.

        1. I've had the flu since 2/19 and I know I must be on the mend because this is the first time for 'food for thought'- yay for the resurrection of the taste buds.
          If I were eating, I'd be on the road to Petaluma; destination: Pete's Henny Penny on any Thursday for the Special of the Day: housemade Corned Beef and Cabbage.

          4995 Petaluma Blvd N
          Petaluma, CA 94952
          (707) 763-0459

          2 Replies
          1. re: Cynsa

            I've fought the flu since 1-17, and can still feel it, even though my appetite has returned.

            1. re: arktos

              - get plenty of rest, don't have a relapse -
              - try grated fresh ginger root with spoonful of honey twice a day-
              before we're bumped for off-topic post

          2. OK, I'm going to wade in here.

            A to Bette's Oceanview Diner for a perfect corned beef hash--great flavor, not overly salty, wonderful crust, splendid mix of potatoes and onions and seasoning, the perfect foil for a poached or lightly fried egg on top, every bite a guilty pleasure.

            A- to Saul's Deli for their Niman Ranch corned beef (in a sandwich and per pound for carry out)--delicious re flavor (right balance of salt, meat-y), texture, fat allotment (just enough, not too much)--in fact, as I write, wonder about that "minus"--thinking that's reflexive/residual snobbery re anything outside New York in this department!

            C+ to Wise Sons @ the Ferry Building on Tuesdays--disappointed in a corned beef sandwich that was fatty (in a bad way), tough, poorly sliced. No big complaints re flavor, but the rest of the flaws made it hard to enjoy.

            2 Replies
            1. re: sundeck sue

              Regarding Sauls, do you know if the use brisket? Seems like everyone wants to use top round these days.

              1. re: Civil Bear

                When I went to post yesterday, I poked around Saul's website to see if I could more about the provenance of the corned beef--but all I learned was Niman.

            2. Anyone else a fan of the corned beef reuben at the sandwich shop at Bar Tartine? It is very rich, but the corned beef and rye bread are both wonderful.

              1. The CORNED BEEF at LOCAL BUTCHER (Berkeley) is really good (i ate it straight, not in a sando). However, I was a little annoyed it went up from like $12.50 ot $14/lb to $18/lb essentially overnight. Also, they dont always have it.

                10 Replies
                1. re: psb

                  That's surprising. It's been my experience that it's when the price is low the store is usually out of stuff as in "Yes they're on sale but we have no bananas."

                  1. re: wolfe

                    The dont always have it because they dont always make it. I dont think LBS sees this as a problem.

                    I wonder if the large rise in price was due to supply-demand effects [i.e. they were always selling out at the lower price] or some price shock w.r.t. to inputs, or mispricing etc. I assume the former.

                    I'm not totally sure what your point is.

                    1. re: psb

                      They may have raised the price because of the coming "holiday" which increases the demand similar to the price of roses going up as Valentines and Mother's Day approach. My point was, to me, a humorous one. It's always easy to advertise a low price when you don't have any, no rainchecks.

                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                      Oh hi MWong.

                      You mean when did I find the corned beef at LBS? Oh I'd say in the last year I've bought it 6-7 times ... either they have it, or I ask "are you going to have it?" and they tell me that it is in the pipeline and is expected to be on sale in n-days or "i dont know when we'll have it again".

                      I once asked the woman there "do you list on your website when the corned beef is in?" and she reponded "oh, would you like us to do so" and i believe indeed it was being listed in the "Sausages for the Week" section at some point, but I dont know if that is de rigeur now or that commitment has fallen through the cracks.

                      1. re: psb

                        At the root of my question was me wondering whether it was a day of the week thing. And I was also asking because I wasn't certain whether you'd had it in the month of March. Sounds like not.

                        So as far as I can tell for this month, no one who has posted to this thread has actually eaten any corned beef during the month of March 2013.

                        1. re: Melanie Wong

                          Oh I see. Definitely not day-of-week thing. I'm guessing it was a "hey, let's start making corned beef" .. "whoa, it sold out" ... (when the mood strikes) "let's make it again" ... "whoa, it keeps selling out" ... <plug into Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium Model> ... "hey, let's raise the price 40%" ...

                          Then I lost track of what happened. I think BOYK has tried it more recently than I have.

                          It is notable that on the one hand they presumably raised the price in response to demand and not an increase in price of inputs (unless it was mispriced to begin with) but arent consistently keeping it in stock.

                          BTW, their BEEF JERKY is pretty good too. That I believe is in regular supply.

                          1. re: Melanie Wong

                            I was at Little City market last weekend, and overheard them telling a customer they will be getting the corned beef in this week.

                            1. re: gnomatic

                              Guess I'll mention that I was in Fiesta Market (aka Pacific market) in Sebastopol on Sunday and noticed that it had house-cured corned beef for sale. I looked at the three pieces on the shelf but they were too lean for my own taste. Made with brisket flat cut, most of the fat cap had been trimmed off but for a very thin layer and some spots were completely gone. But that might appeal to somebody who wants to try it for this project.

                      2. re: psb

                        I had the corned beef sandwich with Kraut, Gruyere, Parsley and Dijon Aioli at the local butcher shop in Berkeley. Not super moist, but tender. I felt the aioli kind of overpowered the meat, but i thought there were enough slices in the sandwich such that in most bites, the meat to filling ratio wasnt noticeably low. It's $9 - so, not terribly cheap (probably better to buy their corned beef (which they were not selling at the time) and make your own sandwich). And, like all of their sandwiches, it's not prepared on the spot. If you get a sandwich, dont take a card to wait in line - just grab the packaged sandwich located near the register and pay.

                      3. From right here at Chow...


                        Delicious -- I've made it for a couple of years now -- it's not pink, because there are no nitrates, but it's a great recipe.

                        1. I think Authentic Bagel Co. makes their own corned beef. Never tried it but their homemade smoked turkey is legit.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: hungree

                            i tried their corned beef (wtih swiss) on a pumpernickel rye this past weekend. pretty good! should have asked if they are doing something for this weekend.

                          2. My recent favorite hash has been on Plow's weekend brunch menu. Like everything they do, its excellent. As I recall, the one I had at Local's Corner was tasty, really delicious, but kinda out there and not what I would call hash.

                            Its been a few years since I've made the East Bay circuit, but my favorite for a long time was Jimmy Bean's. This thread makes me yearn to go back. For me it was a better texture and flavor than Bette's Oceanview - which was, in my recollection, artful and beautiful, but a bit anodyne and crying out for salt, salsa, flavor...

                            Going back even farther into my memory banks: has anyone been to Home Plate recently? Have not been there in many years, but I used to love theirs.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: BernalKC

                              We had breakfast at the Eagle Cafe at Pier 39 on Sunday. Blustery weather and Super Bowl keeps the tourist crowd in check. The corned beef hash is tops; shredded corned beef, light on the potatoes - great flavor and generous portion, not salty and nice crust.

                            2. Curious if anyone's made it to Shorty Goldstein's, which opened yesterday (3/5) in SF on Sutter at Montgomery. I stopped by today at 1:15 to get a CB sandwich, but the line was not moving (there were maybe 10-12 people ahead) and next to "corned beef" on the overhead menu there was an "86" which I took to mean "all gone". Lots of curious looky-loos on the street passing by, so I expect this place to be crowded for some time. Order at the counter, with tables inside.


                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Frosty Melon

                                First report here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8932...

                                Hmph. No new sighting from me though. The hash at Broken Record's brunch is from house-smoked pastrami and the Reuben at Arlequin is Zoe's pastrami.

                                1. re: hyperbowler

                                  I thought the Zoe Pastrami was maybe at the better end of the pedestrian stuff ... let's call it the deli meat category. But in no way compared to the boutique stuff.

                                2. re: Frosty Melon

                                  I had the corned beef at Shorty Goldstein's today and thought it was excellent. More here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/893215

                                3. I tried the Reuben with house cured corned beef at Grille One Carvery in Montclair Village, Oakland. They were originally affiliated with Europa in Orinda, but have since gone indie and have added Greek items to their original hofbrau menu.

                                  The corned beef had good flavor, but was very lean, shredded and a little stringy. The sauerkraut was not very sour. It was coarsely chopped and looked to be made in house as well.

                                  The corned beef sandwich I had a month ago was also lean, but had better texture and came with slices of meat which I preferred to this last sandwich.

                                  Both are in the pictures

                                  1. When I stopped by the 4505 Meats butcher shop yesterday to pick up my brisket to corn, they mentioned that they will have both ready to eat and cook at home corned beef later this week.

                                    1. grabbed a corned beef sammie(6.95) @ brass bear deli, 1506 n. main st. walnut creek, they use saags and boars head meats.

                                      not very tasty, thin sliced. just average portion of meat. disappointing.
                                      corn beef hash w/2 eggs, toast (8.5)@lungren's coffee, 2120 dwight way, berkeley, was delish. everything was great.

                                      corn beef was cubed, juicy, tender, was informed it was made in house. only regret portion was small.

                                      1. Fresh Corned Beef Sausage --- noticed these in the butcher case at Whole Foods, so I gave it a try for breakfast this morning. Ingredients: Beef, corned beef seasoning (sea salt, garlic, clove, paprika, soybean oil, beet powder), tater puffs (potatoes, canola oil, salt, corn flour, dehydrated potato, citric acid to promote color retention, dextrose to promote browning), carrots, cabbage, contains soy.

                                        Guess the beyond nitrates intensity of the red hue comes from the beet powder, it's a little alarming as a raw meat color. Browns up nicely to form a crust on the seared sides. Unbearably salty . . . with no potatoes on hand, I quickly fried an egg to accompany this and made the next slice much, much thinner. This does taste like corned beef but in stick form. Still much to salty to be enjoyable, and after eating one-third of a link, I've had 16 ounces of beverages and still feel thirsty.

                                        Maybe the sausage should be boiled vigorously to release some of the salt, then seared off. I cooked it in a frying pan with a little water added to steam it under the lid.

                                        Not recommended.

                                        1. Okay, not sure how helpful this is, but I had a great corned beef & cabbage at St. Cecilia's annual St. Pat's dinner in Lagunitas last night. It was just Shenson's, so maybe it was all the Irish in the room that made it so tasty with the homemade mustard and cold Guinness.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: Civil Bear

                                            Somebody please go eat the corned beef sandwich at the Sentinel and post on it for me, pretty please. That thing haunts me and being in Vancouver there's no way I can eat it in March, alas. I need a remote-controlled stomach in the Bay Area :-).

                                            1. re: grayelf

                                              You are not alone when it comes to the Sentinel Spirit rattling her chains and wailing away (in a Russian accent, no doubt). My corned beef sandwich for lunch today was decent--I had it mere blocks away from her place--and whaddya know? There's Ms. SS up there in my head telling me how much better her sandwiches are. I don't think I can do corned beef for lunch twice in a row, but maybe on Thursday...

                                              Do you need pictures, or will mere text suffice? :-)

                                              1. re: lakemerritter

                                                A picture is worth a thousand drools, lm, but whatever you can do to help me live vicariously would be appreciated ;-).

                                          2. Finally had a chance to get pick up corned beef from 4505 Meats. They are selling pieces and will also slice to order.
                                            See photo below of slices, cut thin for a sandwich. Good flavor and very moist.

                                            From their website, they will have reubens at the market this week: " Reuben – housemade corned beef, house sauerkraut, melted aged gruyere and our secret sauce on buttery griddled Tartine rye. "

                                            1. I had the Blue Plate Special at Murphy's Pub (FiDi) for lunch today. $16.95 for corned beef, cabbage, potatoes and a few carrots. And a Murphy's (of course) Stout.

                                              Very traditional: the corned beef was tough with some stringiness, the vegetables bland, a whole lot of salt and pepper needed. The beer was delicious.

                                              1. My corned beef is in the pot and simmering now. Purchased from Bud's Custom Meats in Penngrove, 8.5 pounds, $3.99/lb, house-cured. This is the point cut. I sliced it into two pieces, carving off the flat end which was about 3 to 4" deep. This makes it easier to handle, fits in the pot better, and the flat may be finished cooking before the point is.

                                                I haven't tried Bud's corned beef before. This was purchased fresh, but they told me they're usually in the freezer except for this time of year when everyone's looking for corned beef.

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: Melanie Wong

                                                  Interesting- I was at Bud's weekend before last and didn't see any or I'd certainly have gotten one; I've found it impossible to get to Roberts during business hours of late.

                                                  How was it?

                                                  1. re: Pius Avocado III

                                                    Checked the date stamp on your Petaluma post. I was at Bud's the same Saturday. I had called ahead to make sure it had corned beef and to save the point for me. When I got there, I did a quick look-see of the cases and didn't see any corned beef in the refrigerator. Surprise to me when I asked for the point and the cashier walked over to the same case and pulled it out. Since it's not normally non-frozen, there was no sign on the shelf but the corned beef was there.

                                                    This was good stuff. The fat cap on top was trimmed closer than Roberts. But I had to whack off about 1.5" along the side of the point, and the layer of fat that runs through the middle was pretty thick. The flat was more marbled than what I've had from Roberts.

                                                    I did not rinse or soak it before cooking. The pickling spices looked good --- whole cloves, juniper berries, coriander, mustard seeds, crumbled bay leaf, red chile flakes, celery seed and more than I couldn't identify readily. I didn't add any other spices to doctor it as I might otherwise because I wanted to experience the seasoning and cure as is.

                                                    I did not let the water boil after bringing it up to temperature initially, cooking just below a simmer. I pulled the piece of flat out after 2.25 hours and this left enough room in the pot to add the potatoes. Later I put the carrots in, and after a bit, the cabbage (and forgot to cook onions). The point came out after a total of 3 hours. The point was a little too soft and overdone and loss a little too much saltiness.

                                                    This was the best piece of corned beef flat I've cooked. Whether that's due to the lower heat cooking method or the beef itself, I can't say. Moist, not at all stringy, just hitting tender and not falling apart. The point was unctuously delicious too. The cure and seasoning is subtle yet complex and complementary to the meat.

                                                    My sister joined us and shared some tips she got from Mr Ver Brugge years ago. When I told her that I had wondered how the salt level would turn out, she said that he'd told her that corned beef purchased this time of year is going to be "fresh" and doesn't need soaking. Buy it other times, and soaking might be needed. Ver Brugge said that to check the salt level, put the corned beef on to boil, bring up to temperature, taste the water and then change the water if needed.

                                                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                                                      Alas, we missed one another. Now I know where my corned beef is coming from around this time next year- it sounds great. Thanks Melanie.

                                                      1. re: Pius Avocado III

                                                        Closer to home for you, Ver Brugge does a housecured corned beef too.

                                                2. I got delicious pastrami from Jablow's Meats yesterday at the New Taste Marketplace. They also sell corned beef.

                                                  They're sold in 1/2 lb vacuum bags. Pastrami was a very reasonable $8, cut thin. They're still trying to work out distribution; I hope they're successful. More details:


                                                  1. Corned beef in today's SFChron by Janny Hu--Roberts is the winner:


                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: sundeck sue

                                                      Thanks for the link. Wow, TJ's brand got a "7" at the bottom end...and Roberts got a "75"? I'm curious why so bad.

                                                    2. on st patrick's day at the last minute, I decided to get on the Corned Beef bandwagon. I ended up at Guerra's Fine Meats and purchased 4 lbs of the point cut for $3.99/pound. I bought their pickling spice. I simmered the meat, then finished it in the oven with a mustard glaze. I don't think i've ever had homemade corned beef before. It was really nice. fatty so that it melted in your mouth with some leaner parts that made for a nice contrast. my experiences with corned beef have been that it is boiled meat with red color and a lot of salt, so having this rich texture accompanied by a slightly hot, sweet, salty meat was really amazing. I can't compare it to anything else, but I'll be trying other corned beef in the future to see if i can match it.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: oranj

                                                        Thanks for posting about Guerra's, haven't heard anything about it lately. The key is getting the point cut for the richer flavor and fattier texture you enjoyed. Hard to find though.

                                                      2. Precita park cafe has a house cured corned beef sandwich made using short ribs. There's also a hash. The sandwich is served on a sour flour bastard and with Russian dressing, red onions, and pickles.

                                                        Had this not been listed as "corned beef" I doubt I would have noticed the cooking technique--- the lack of nitrates (or smoking as in pastrami) prevents the corned beef from taking on that signature pink color. That's okay, but while the level of salt and the spices make the meat taste good, it doesn't taste much like what we know of as corned beef and wasn't at all briney. The short ribs fail to hold together like a brisket or navel, but they make for a juicy, flavorful, and fatty enough substitution. The meat is in chunks rather than sliced.