the sf ny deli

10 June 2007
#5 Embarcadero Center
San Francisco, CA

Atmosphere: Financial district efficiency meets plasticine pier tourist trap. Nestled in between the chili shack and the burrito bar, it’s a little slice of old-time New York. If I hadn’t been careful, I might’ve closed my eyes for a moment and been transported to the Lower East Side. It’s corporate lunch alley time, folks—pick your immovable (bolted-down) chair and enjoy your authentic Jewish deli experience!
Attitude: Oddly enough, hard-core, most likely-Israeli, Jewish staff. Quietly friendly, but definitely taking their kosher business seriously. Fits perfectly with the “neighborhood”. No table service (tough to have table service without tables [all-purpose alley seating doesn’t count]), so it’s tough to judge.
Food [general]: Maybe it’s just me, but I haven’t had a decent egg salad through this project in quite some time. Too much mustard. All mush. It was better than a few of these other sandwiches (from other delis reviewed), but I still didn’t finish it (and that’s not a common occurrence). Once again, though, a horrible egg salad nestled between two delightfully fresh (yes, I’m repeating myself) slices of rye. Perhaps I should raise my standards for fresh rye in the Bay Area and just assume that the rye should be the one good thing on the menu. I also got a potato knish (thank God) that, though incredibly new-world (think potato croissant) was very tasty.
Pickles: Apparently, The SF NY Deli ran out and had to borrow a jar from Klein’s.
Dr. Brown’s black cherry: Amazingly, yes. My guess is, they read the Jewish deli manual and that was the first thing on the “establish your legitimacy” list. And then they stopped reading.
Summary: You’ve really got to see it to believe it. I’m not sure if the immense disappointment will be as palpable in the air as it was for me, but take a few minutes – it’s there. I’m not sure if this is “SF”, but it sure as hell ain’t “NY”.