Last year, Passover was one of the first food holidays to be celebrated in lockdown, so by now, hopefully diners know their way around a Zoom seder. Perhaps some fully vaccinated elders will be able to get together indoors, thanks to the latest CDC guidelines, but the majority of SF families should still be social distancing and sticking to small gatherings at home. So for pandemic Passover take two, running March 27 to April 4, restaurants are offering takeout meals filled with comforts such as saucy braised brisket and matzo ball soup, with bakeries kicking in unleavened sweets like coconut macaroons. Here’s where to find those spring feasts and treats in San Francisco, with a couple of honorable mentions in the East Bay.
Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen
The modern Jewish deli is prepared with its usual meaty menu. The full seder meal kit includes brisket, potato kugel, matzo ball soup, charoset, mini coconut macaroons, and more ($132 for four people). Plus, you can throw in a seder plate, complete with a shankbone and bitter herbs, and there’s a complimentary Haggadah available for download, if diners need direction.
“We have escaped the pharaoh’s clutches … ” Firefly says on their website. “The only thing missing is the gefilte fish, and we have a plan for that!” The Noe neighborhood favorite is doing a traditional-to-them menu of matzo ball soup, chopped chicken liver, gefilte fish, horseradish, root vegetable tzimmes, braised brisket, and potato kugel. It’s preorders only, and quantities are limited, so “we strongly recommend neither dillying or dallying,” the restaurant says.
Mark ’N Mike’s at One Market Restaurant
The chefs at One Market have embraced their Jewish roots and grandma food throughout the pandemic, reinventing the restaurant with Mark ’N Mike’s New York–style deli. The complete Passover meal is bringing back the 12-hour brisket, along with pickled king salmon, matzo ball soup, and flourless chocolate cake ($59 per adult, $29 per kid.)
The Cal-Israeli restaurant in Oakland has a full Passover dinner, complete with a seder plate. The dinner includes brisket tagine with dried fruit and preserved lemon, cod cakes in tomato sauce, matzo ball soup, and pistachio baklava, while the “‘everything but the plate’ seder plate” provides all of the traditional symbolic foods ($240 for four people).
The popular Cal-Italian restaurant is putting out a couple of family-style meals for the Jewish holiday. The Passover dinner for four includes braised brisket and cabbage, along with matzo ball soup and shredded carrot salad ($200 for four people, $185 for the vegetarian option).
The wildly popular New York–style bagel shop in Berkeley keeps baking bagels throughout the holiday, but it does make one small concession to unleavened desserts: matzo bark, which is covered in homemade caramel and local chocolate, and sprinkled with sliced almonds and kosher salt ($9 for 8 ounces).