BRUNCH: one of my religions. Pop-ups: super fun. Jewish food: …what the hell, San Francisco, why is there a huge hole here? Anyway, obviously we know combining the first two will be a good time. Since SF has a thing or two to learn about Jewish food, I was excited for an AMAZINGLY fun educational eating experience. As all meals should be. Here’s a lil something for you from Wise Sons, a Pop-up Jewish Deli now operating out of Beast & The Hare on Saturday mornings.
House cured lox served on an open-face Beauty’s Bagel came with the standard capers, shaved red onion, pickled cucumbers, and cream cheese. It was light and refreshing, perfect on a warm morning in the Mission. The bagels, made by the roaming bakery on site, were chewy and thick without being overly dense. Seeing new bagel-eries on the rise, I wouldn’t be surprised if Beauty’s tried to open an outpost here pretty soon. Do I smell a trend?
Their Pastrami sandwich on rye had nice smoked and spiced flavor, but as a recent twitter friend/fellow blogger warned, the meat was a bit fatty. Seeing as it’s a deli, they might want to tighten this up. Onto the bread: I’m no rye expert, but theirs, baked in-house, is super soft and delicious. Like, pillow status (for your mouth, not your head. Come on).
Now the sides: the potato salad was relatively light had just the right amount of dill to keep it fresh. The coleslaw was refreshing. Tossed right before going onto your plate, the cabbage is still crisp and hasn’t had time to pickle. I’d definitely order this with the Reuben to cut some of it’s heaviness.
The Reuben was tasty, with corned beef, Russian dressing, slaw, and Swiss melted between two slices of crispy griddled Rye. Again, the meat was pretty fatty but had nice flavor and was super tender. Seeing as I’m a condiment whore, I preferred this over the naked Pastrami.
For dessert, err, post-sando sugar-fix (why Americans don’t see this as acceptable is beyond me), we all split a piece of Babka French Toast. Side note: anyone who orders this for “breakfast” is lying to themselves. Hybrid Jewish coffee cake/bread with chocolate chips is battered in custard and fried in butter, then topped with crème fraîche and nectarines for a decadent bite of heaven. Hand to God, angels sang when I put it in my mouth. Though the most delicious thing I ate that morning (damn my sweet tooth), I think the chocolate is sort of overkill. You lose some of the tart crème fraîche and floral nectarines behind a curtain of sugar. If they swapped the chocolate for blueberries the dish would have more subtle complexity. Of course then it wouldn’t be babka, but that’s my two cents.
The Sons themselves chatted with us for a while– Evan Bloom came out of the kitchen to say hi and Leo Beckerman manned the front of the house, dread-locked and affable. We were sitting right by him and his cash box, so that gave me ample time to request he make me matzo ball soup this weekend, which I’m pretty sure he agreed to. YAY!
Brunch: check. Pop-up fun: check. Jewish food: it’s about time. Thanks for a good meal, guys. It was a great way to start Saturday. Call me when the matzo balls are ready.