Appetite: 3 reasons why SF Jewish food has arrived

Pub date April 13, 2011
SectionFood & Drink

Head to the Mission where Wise Sons Deli takes over Jackie’s Café every Saturday. Rolling since January, the young guys behind this pop-up deli have a hit on their hands — lines form out the door for Evan Bloom and Leo Beckerman’s Jewish food with heart. The menu changes often, and they’re preparing a killer-sounding Passover menu next week to be enjoyed at Coffee Bar and for take-out.

The fact of the matter is, we don’t have enough Jewish food in this town. And these guys don’t just make Jewish nosh, they do it excellently. Case in point: I found that multiple menu items fell into my  must order category, rare enough at a restaurant, much less at a small pop-up with a limited menu.

We eagerly await the day they will have their own storefront. Until then, here are three items you’d do well to head to the Mission for from their delightful menu (given that you have a few spare moments on a Saturday, those lines can be killer!):

1. Bialy or bagel with smoked salmon

Whether the day’s menu is featuring a bagel or bialy (Polish kuchen similar to a bagel but baked, not boiled), be sure you snag one. For $8 (or $11 open-faced), bread is laden with house-smoked salmon, red onion, capers, and pickled veggies on the side. Homesick New Yorkers and bagel-lovers among us may have finally found a little something to assuage that bagel-shaped hole that appears whenever we’re away from NYC.

2. Babka

A sweet yeast cake with Eastern European roots, Wise Sons makes their babka sing with earthy swirls of Guittard dark chocolate weaving a pretty pattern through each slice. Whether you order this brioche-like bread by the slice ($3.50), half-loaf ($11), full loaf ($20), or as French toast with fluffy whipped cream ($6 for one; $9 for two), you know a craving has begun. Complicate things further with the chocolate caramel babka ($3.75), made with Clairesquares‘ divine caramel.

Da rueben. Photo by Virginia Miller

3. Pastrami or Corned Beef

Watch a massive side of beef being sliced on the sideboard and try not to order a plate. Or better yet, get a sandwich ($12) of either cut of beef on double-baked rye bread, or as a reuben ($13.50), the supreme queen of all beef sandwiches. Potato salad or coleslaw plus garlic dill pickles accompany, as do meaty dreams of home and all that is good in this world.


Wise Sons Deli

Every Saturday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. 

Inside Jackie’s Café

105 Valencia Street

(415) 787-5534 


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