Friday, December 18, 2009

Al and Pastrami King do Miller's

I recently had the pleasure of meeting a fan of the blog for lunch. His name is Al - I got into contact with him on yelp and he made it up to my office to talk about architectural products. To be honest, we talked business for about 2 minutes and the rest of the talk was a great deli lunch at the best, most complete deli in San Francisco - Miller's East coast Deli.

We arrived around 11:40 to beat the lunch rush, as I was entering I saw the owner Robby Morgenstein working hard someone's order. I had read about Robby in the Save the Deli book and I made contact with him on Facebook - so I was ready to finally meet the man, the legend. I pointed him out to Al as were went to sit down at our table "That's the owner. Let's go say hi to him when we get a chance". I approached Robby and handed him my pastrami king card. "Oh yeah, it's you! You looked a little different in the pictures." Al and I had a nice conversation with him about opening of the deli years ago and also about his meat suppliers. "I rotate between Sy Ginsberg and Robert's Corned Meats. Every week we get palettes of meat!" I know of Robert's Corned Meats - the office is actually one whole block away from my office and I walk past it daily on my way to get a soda from the Shell Station. I did a little more research and they also supply Tommy's Joynt and Brennan's in Berkeley - one of my favorite spots in the East Bay. I shall have to get a tour/interview in the near future.

Before entering Miller's Al gave me a small pep talk - "Anything you haven't had the guts to order here - order it today!" We were on a mission to sample as much as we could for his introduction to Miller's. We got three appetizers - tongue polonaise, stuffed cabbage roll, and stuffed derma (kishka). All appetizers were very good. The tongue had a sweet and sour cabbage sauce that accented the cured meat excellently. The stuffed cabbage rolls reminded me of the cabbage rolls my Polish Grandma used to make. It had meat with small bits of rice in the cabbage roll - very traditional style. I had read about the derma before I ordered it. Someone called it "Old school even compared to New York standards". It looked like small brown hockey pucks smothered in gravy. The taste reminded me of a very rich stuffing in gravy within every bight. These are all great, unique dishes that truly make Miller's the premier Jewish-Style Deli in the Bay Area.

As we were ordering our sandwiches I told Al about the grilled New York style the Miller's does. "The way they grill the bread is outstanding - you have to try it." I sold Al on it and he got a 3-way combo pastrami, corned beef, and tongue while I just stuck to the pastrami. As you can see, both sandwiches look so large they could humble even the hungriest fresser. As soon as Al bit into his 3-way he exclaimed "This is just as good as my favorite spot in LA (Brent's in Northridge)". Coming after the smorgasbord of appetizers, Al and I were only able to finish half of our sandwiches, but I was very happy to take them home. Al wanted me to take his half as well because he was headed to Saul's in Berkeley that night to check out the digs of the East Bay chic deli - What a true deli lover! I took the sandwiches back in my car to work. When I left my office at 5 PM, I stepped in my car and the smell of Miller's hit me in the nose...hmm that makes me think - Deli air freshener's for cars? I looked it up and they do have bacon flavored air fresheners but not deli. Who would buy them? Probably Al for one! I want to thank AL so much for coming to lunch with me. He gave Miller's such a good review on yelp, Mr. Morgenstein himself asked me to thank him. Check out Al's yelp reviews here. He's very through with his reviews and he does a great job with his photo spreads - an awesome yelp profile! Thanks once again to Al for the photos!

This is a nice corned beef sandwich I made at work. It's just Primo Taglio corned beef on Corn rye bread with Beaver's hot mustard. I used a whole package of the meat to make it proper size. All in all, it was better than the sandwich I had at a place in Berkeley called the Stuffed Inn. I read about the Stuffed Inn and made the trip with my friend the brisket baron. When I ordered the double pastrami with cheese I was upset to learn they were out of rye bread, and on top of that the pastrami was some lunch meat equivalent to the one above. The saving grace of the Stuffed inn was their vegan split pea soup and their cookies. I told my buddy "This is like a 3 star on yelp, but a complete fail for the pastrami blog." I have some pictures which were hi-jacked by the brisket baron on his trip to Florida - I'll post them later on.

I just found out that I have all of next week off of work. I previously said I was going to be in the Bay for the next for posts, but this looks like the next one is going to be in LA. I have 9 days to roam my old home and check out some spot's I haven't gotten around to trying, as well as the obligatory trip to Langer's.


Geoff said...

Knock 'em LA delis dead, yo!

alex said...

Since you are the king of pastrami I have a burning question for you. The Hat and Johnnies Pastrami in LA make the best sandwiches in the world in my opinion. I still cannot find any pastrami that is similar in San Francisco. What is your favorite pastrami in San Francisco, and is there anything similar at all to the hat? I only have a chance to eat at the hat once or twice a year and I am suffering some pastrami withdrawals here! Thanks