The Jewish deli scene in San Francisco has always been sparse. So when Leo Beckerman and Evan Bloom started selling pastrami on rye and homemade pickles as a pop-up at Jackie’s Vinoteca & Cafe, as well as the Ferry Building Farmers Market, they successfully seduced SF with their freshly brined meats and smoked fish on bagels. Naturally their highly anticipated permanent location, which opened mid-February on 24th and Shotwell, has been packed since opening day. Read on to see what people are saying:
The Sandwich News: The pastrami reuben is the recipient of much praise. @robinwilkey on Twitter wrote: “My brother's rxn to tasting the @WiseSonsDeli reuben: ‘Holy sh*t.’ My thoughts exactly.” Blogger Mike Jutan writes, “the pastrami really holds up and the portion is more reasonable/less over-the-top than the usual Katz or Carnegie ‘whole-cow’ style.” The pastrami burger on a challah bun has been described by SFist as “the sophisticated older brother to the inspired, but sadly limited-time-only Pastrami Burger from Carl’s Jr.” Holding equal weight is the vegetarian option. “The smoked trumpet mushroom version... OH MAN. Delicious and meaty and packed with flavor.” said Chowhound/Eat Choui. Not everyones is as crazy about the corned beef. “Unfortunately the corned beef was nothing special - a bit tough and surprisingly bland for my taste.” writes Tomotsu on Chowhound. And KQED’s Karen Solomon asks, “could we get some tongue on the menu, please?”
The Fry News: “Wise Sons’ decadent pastrami cheese fries, covered in a Swiss cheese bechamel, caramelized onions, Russian dressing, chopped pickles, and of course, bits of pastrami, are not-to-be-missed.” writes Inside Scoop’s Paolo Lucchesi. According to Kevin Sauer (@ksau) on Twitter, “Pastrami cheese fries saved my Sunday.”
The Pickle News: Pickled in house, Eat.Choui on Chowhound said, “the pickle spears were a party in my mouth.” and blogger Mike Juntan asks and answers: “so... how are the pickles? The answer: garlicy enough to kill 1,000 vampires and crunchy like the wolf.”
The Service News: As a Pop-Up, Wise Sons had a tendency to run out of food early due to popular demand. SFBG’s Virginia Miller warns that “Lines still run out the door in the brand new brick and mortar location — good luck finding many ‘off’ hours to drop in.” Lucchesi at Inside Scoop reports, “Advice: if you want pastrami or corned beef, go early. Hopefully as the kitchen gets more settled in, Wise Sons will be able to keep up better with demand.”
The Kosher News: Is it blasphemous to have the Jewish deli moniker without being Kosher? Uptown Almanac wrote how “Kosher Jews (or, if you are familiar with the comedic stylings of Larry David, Woody Allen, or Lower East Side grandmothers, ‘Good Jews’) are bummed--bummed!--that the premiere Jewish deli in the Mission is not kosher.” Others retort that these naysayers should simmer down. “Even though Wise Sons is not a kosher eatery, they opt out of butter in the recipe [for Challah] to keep it parve. And because it’s 2012, it’s topped with flaked sea salt just to make it awesome,” wrote Solomon for KQED.
The Interior News: “There are plenty of chunky wood tables for dining in. Don’t miss the whimsy decorations, like the Bar Mitzvah photos.” writes Inside Scoop. Seating is limited, but not impossible. “There seemed to be potential for random table grabbing madness, but although the place was packed, the hostess made sure that each party was seated in an orderly and fair fashion.” Yelp user Pearl L. commented.
The Babka News: Sara Deseran at 7x7 said there is a “very decadent and addictive chocolate babka.” Solomon at KQED reports how it is made with Guittard chocolate, 72 percent cacao. And when they don’t have it on hand? “Rather than settle for a chocolate substitute, Beckerman [said] there just wasn’t going to be any.” The Perfect Spot writes, “their babka sing[s]” and Miller at SFBG describes it as dreamy, with an “Earthy-sweet chocolate and a crunchy crust weave[d] together in a bread that is better than coffee cake.”
The Kugel News: 7x7's Deseran advises to not overlook the Kugel. “Though I enjoyed the pastrami cheese fries , the burger made with pastrami ground into it...the pastrami sandwich, and the soft and comforting smoked trout sandwich, it was the balls of fried kugel in a little syrup that really made me swoon.”
· All Wise Sons Deli Coverage [~ ESF ~]