Apr 2013

Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen – San Francisco

Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen - Mission - San Francisco

The Astronomer and I road tripped to the city by the bay this past President’s Day weekend. While the bulk of our days were filled with catching up with friends and family, we were able to sneak in one food-centric outing: Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen. I love Jewish delis, both old school and new, so I was excited to taste this latest San Francisco treat.

Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen - Mission - San Francisco

Evan Bloom and Leo Beckerman, the two guys behind the operation, met in 2003 while studying at UC Berkeley. According to 7x7SF, the two threw a weekly 250-person barbecue for Hillel House, the Jewish student center, which led to a pop-up that eventually graduated into a stand at the Tuesday Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. In February of last year, they opened Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen on 24th Street in the Mission.

Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen - Mission - San Francisco

The deli is run in fast-casual fashion, with a line snaking out the door most of the time. Since it was our first visit to Wise Sons, we took advantage of the extra few minutes to digest the menu and to make some tough decisions.

Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen - Mission - San Francisco

Save for the weekends-only bagels, everything on the menu is made from scratch. The display of house-made pickles in Asian rice bowls made my heart skip a beat.

Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen - Mission - San Francisco

It was imperative on this inaugural visit to sample Wise Sons’ house-smoked, seven-day-brined pastrami on double-baked rye bread ($12.50). The sandwich was served with a pickle and a choice of potato salad or coleslaw.

While the meat of the matter was certainly good, it paled in comparison to our pastrami gold standards, namely Langer’s, Katz’s, Schwartz’s, and Mile End. When it came down to it, the pastrami was neither as tender nor as flavorful as the rest. Truth be told, an average pastrami sandwich is still pretty darn tasty.

Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen - Mission - San Francisco

We also shared a platter of matzo brei ($9), a mash-up of matzo and scrambled eggs that I had only read about in Ruth Reichl’s memoirs. Our sweet version was served with sour cream and marmalade. This dish was seriously filling and reminded me in a way of one of my favorite comfort foods from childhood, nui chien.

Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen - Mission - San Francisco

Our third savory dish was the L.E.O. ($12), an acronym for lox, soft-cooked scrambled eggs, and caramelized onions. From the menu’s description, I was anticipating a composed plate of L, E, and O, but instead the ingredients arrived scrambled together. Cooked smoked salmon has always struck me as a travesty, and that was definitely the case here.

Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen - Mission - San Francisco

The Montreal-style bagels from Oakland’s Beauty’s Bagel Shop served alongside the L.E.O. made everything better. It’s hard to stay mad for long when there’s a warm, toasty bagel generously shmeared with cream cheese to be eaten.

Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen - Mission - San Francisco

The best dish of the day was the noodle kugel ($5), a sweet noodle bake fried crispy and served in a pool of maple syrup. Yes!

The Astronomer and my mid-morning feast at Wise Sons had its highs and lows, but I left feeling upbeat about the establishment as a whole. Mostly, I loved being able to try homey Jewish dishes that usually aren’t served in restaurants. I need more noodle kugel in my life.

Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen
3150 24th Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
Phone: 415-787-3354

There’s more to eat in San Francisco on Gastronomy:

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3 thoughts on “Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen – San Francisco

  1. That bagel looks so.freaking.good, especially right now:). I agree that cooked smoked salmon is a bad idea- I feel the same way about prosciutto which takes on a very strange odor when heated. Too bad the rest of the dishes didn’t meet your expectations but know that your taste-testing and reporting skills are appreciated by many of us so we can skip right to the good stuff:).

    PS: I would have just grabbed every single bowl of pickled and eaten all of them I never met a pickled anything I didn’t love.

  2. 24th Street– isn’t that technically Daly City or Pacifica? But seriously, I’ve never heard of this deli before. Those noodle kugels (which I’ve also never heard of) look mouth watering. I’m going to take a road trip Wise Sons just to try those. Thanks for the review!

  3. Anne – You’re welcome! I hear the chicken livers here are pretty stellar too.

    TJ – You’re welcome! And totally unsure about the geography. Yelp believes that it’s located in the Mission. As did the journalists who’s articles I read.

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