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Wise Sons Deli at the Contemporary Jewish Museum [San Francisco]

Any one been yet? I was wondering if they had the same menu there that they do at their 24th St. location or whether it might be more limited. (The Wise Sons page on the Museum's web site is still under construction.) I haven't tried them yet, so I want a good selection!

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    1. Grand Opening is tomorrow, Friday, July 26. Hope to read some reports!

      They will be selling De La Paz Coffee & Pickled things is what I saw on their Instagram account Wisesons

      1 Reply
      1. re: hhc

        Thanks for this heads up! Any word on other menu items? I'll try to check it out as I'll be right there on Saturday afternoon.

        EDIT. Spend enough time on the internet and everything reveals itself.

      2. I just got back from the CJM location. I have to say, I was not impressed. Quite disappointed, actually. I ordered a corned beef Reuben, and...

        The first thing one notices about the sandwich is the very small portion of meat that is inside it. It is a very, very small portion of meat, almost at the level of being cheated out of your money. (See photo below. The bialy on the left did not come with the sandwich; that was another $3.50.) Assessed by dollar-per-ounce-of-meat, this sandwich, at $12, is significantly more expensive than a commensurate sandwich at Katz's or Carnegie, which I find sort of incredible. If skeptical New Yorkers thought a Schmendricks bagel was expensive, they're going to be beside themselves when they behold the Wise Sons corned beef sandwich.

        I can't really say that it was especially tasty, either -- I thought the meat was too lean. I am not Jewish, and do not know what constitutes authentic Jewish food, so perhaps what they are serving is more authentic than what I've had in my life. I don't know. What I do know that is that, based on this one sample, I prefer the delis that already exist in the city, like Miller's East Coast West and Moishe's Pippic. If you are an East Coast expat hoping for a close replacement of a Katz's or Carnegie sandwich, then you're going to be extremely disappointed.

        3 Replies
        1. re: dunstable

          Next time, drive down to San Carlos. The Refuge has GREAT Pastrami!


          1. re: dunstable

            I finally tried Wise Sons on 24th St yesterday, had to stand in line. Sign says to bus your own tables. I could have put up with all this and the high prices for small portions BUT I ordered the Pastrami Reuben and it was certainly the WORST pastrami I have ever tried to eat. TOUGH. I ate about 1/4 of the sandwich, having to spit pieces of meat into a napkin. My companions did not want the untouched 1/2 sandwich left and I did not get a take out box. Maybe it was a fluke, a bad batch of meat or something but I'll never return. (I liked the pickles, ate 1/2 the potato salad, cole slaw looked better.)

            1. re: walker

              It's a shame. A good deli typically gets better when they work out the kinks and hit a stride, then it's a matter of consistency. Wise Sons slipped and I don't think the second location, and extra catering is helping them.

              I got a matzoh ball soup around Xmas that had an off taste I attributed to schmaltz. Leftovers the next day had an unavoidable odder, even sealed up, and had to be dumped. On top of it, on three visits, I've noticed they have a habit of hiring people who don't seem thrilled to take and fill an order.

          2. Wise Sons were at the Jewish Museum for an opening about a month ago. They were serving "thin sliced" pastrami which IMHO is a travesty and they should know better. You never see thin sliced at a good NYC deli. So we skipped it.

            Their pastrami is properly sliced and excellent at their 24th St place.

            1. We had a CHOW Lunch today of sandwiches from the CJM location of Wise Sons. I've never eaten at the original, nor do I eat meat, but I was very happy with my smoked mushroom Reuben (very smoky, VERY peppery); the pickle that came with it was also delicious. Comments on the pastrami Reubens, corned beef Reubens, #19s, and classic sandwiches ordered by others on staff were very positive; matzo ball soup was well liked too. Only complaint about the food so far was about the bread: seems like they're not making their own bread at this cafe location, unlike on 24th Street. Only complaint not directly related to the food is that they forgot the egg cream that was part of the original order. Didn't charge us for it either--it was just left off it seems. Guess we'll just have to go back!

              2 Replies
              1. re: DeborahL

                I regularly make pilgrimages to the Mission location. My pastrami sandwich today was good but did lose a bit in the travel back to the office. Guess we will have to go in person next time!

                1. re: DeborahL

                  I had split two sandwiches with a fellow officemate—the pastrami reuben and the corned beef reuben. I ended up liking the corned beef one better, since it's a bit more mild. The pastrami is delicious, but the spices on it sort of drowned out the other flavors.

                  It also seemed like the corned beef one had cheese, and the pastrami one didn't (but maybe it was just a small amount?). Anyway, the cheese was good. I liked the bread on the sandwiches—crispy from toasting, and held together pretty well.

                  I think if I had to choose between the sandwiches at Wise Sons and the ones at nearby Shorty Goldstein's, I'd choose Wise Sons. But they are both very good.

                2. Got the pastrami reuben and Matzoh Ball soup. I was impressed! First wise sons experience, so can't compare to the other location. The CJM space is cool, and nice seating area outside. Wasn't a TON of pastrami on the sandwich but wasn't "small" by any means. Just get soup or some other side for optimal fullness. Enjoyed the horseradish mustard too; not sure if it's house made or not. Solid chocolate Babka sitting in a bowl by the cash register, making the wait a bit more bearable. Thought there were a lot of interesting menu items worth trying---will be back. Unfortunately, they were out of egg cream. Probably better than Saul's, definitely better than Shorty Goldstein's, not even close to Katz's though. If there was a weak spot, it was the rye bread. Not enough punch, not dark enough for my taste, and the crust wasn't tough enough relative to the rest.

                  1. Had a tasty chopped liver on rye there the other day. Line went pretty quickly

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Sharon S

                      What was the chopped liver texture like? Some bite to it, or more spread/pate like?

                      1. re: lmnopm

                        From the picture it looks to me as if it was processed with this.

                    2. In my experience, Wise Sons has great rye bread that they make in-house, much better than Katz's and the other NY name delis, second only to the unique double-baked rye at Langer's in LA. The bread is often the weak link in otherwise great sandwiches in NYC. And I consider myself fairly objective, being a Jew from Colorado!

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: vocesf

                        Honestll, being Jewish from Colorado does not help anyone gain any objectivty.I have never need served white rye which is Vienna style in any of the famous dleis of NBew Ypork, Phiia or Southern Fla. Vienna rye is delicate to act as a holder for themeat.

                        1. re: stanbee

                          I'm sort of curious now, though. Is being a Jew from Colorado more notable than being a Jew from anywhere else?

                          1. re: dunstable

                            Wasn't that a Kinky Friedman song?

                          2. re: stanbee

                            Bread is important in a sandwich. It's amazing that whole "holder for the meat" thing ever took off as something people say. If it weren't for beloved delis using the worst bread possible, nobody would be saying that.

                        2. I went a couple of weeks ago. I was so excited, since I work a few blocks away and love Wise Sons, both the ferry Building pop-up and the brick and mortar spot. Unfortunately, it was a disappointment.

                          The do not have a burger on the menu (have you had these? I have yet to have a variation that is not delicious), so that was my first problem. OK, so the brisket sandwich will do. But it took 45 (!) minutes from the time I walked in the door until I had my sandwich. The configuration is weird, and it is not easy to see/read/ get a copy of the menu while standing in the long line. As a result, many people got to the counter and took several minutes to order. They could easily have a better system (hand out menus, ask if there are questions).

                          When I finally got my sandwich, as a solo diner, there was no place to sit. I went outside and tried to eat a dripping, falling apart sandwich (they did not give me a fork or spoon) on a bench. The bread did not hold up to the meat, but tasted weirdly stale on the edges. Ugh. All in all, a pretty miserable experience. And at over $10, for a measly, falling apart sandwich and a cattle line experience, I felt ripped off. I won't be back!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: LeighC

                            What day & time was your 45-minute wait? My two weekend visits have been line-free, and I had my sandwich within 5 minutes of ordering. (One #19 with corned beef and one roast beef special. Both were great, but I'd stick with the corned beef from now on.)

                            My biggest complaint is having to go "through security" to get inside. I know there's the outdoor window option too, but there were no open tables outside. Incidentally, I was told the outdoor tables were only for those who ordered at the window (so I'm surprised you were able to head out there when inside was full but maybe that's the exception).

                            1. re: Frosty Melon

                              It was during the week at lunch. The place is close to where I work and the potential for weekday lunchtime visits was what I was looking forward to. Unfortunately, I can't spend that kind of time (nor was it worth it).

                              And I did not sit at a table, there were none. I had to sit on a bench. With a falling apart sandwich. Ugh.

                          2. Some observations on this location - I've seen the owners there, eating their own food, doing meetings, so they're giving this project their attention.

                            Sandwiches are slimmed down compared to 24th St.

                            They're also running out of items. The story about the missing egg creams also makes me wonder if they just didn't have them. In any case, they've been out of Brisket on times I've went. I wanted to try the new items special to the location.

                            They have a pantry section, with some interesting gift items, but the staff didn't appear used to people browsing. They'll work it out.

                            The De La Paz were the new blends from what looks to be the Four Barrel takeover, with nice new packaging, and music themes. Ordering coffee was a strange combination of the honor system and pour over self serve - but I think De La Paz themselves have taken over the counter since?