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Cure for a deep cultural hunger

Rachel Levin | Photo: Jen Siska | June 17, 2011 | Story Best of the Bay

East Coast transplants starved for a decent slice of pastrami, as well as folks who have simply wondered what their New York friends have been bitching about all these years, were thrilled to pieces about Leo Beckerman and Evan Bloom’s Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen. This January, the two UC Berkeley friends started the weekly pop-up restaurant in the otherwise nondescript Jackie’s Vinoteca & CafĂ©, on Valencia Street, and the lines just kept getting longer. Their almost entirely homemade menu was a trip back in time for anyone raised on legendary East Coast deli, and, this being the Bay Area, there was a hefty portion of the local and the sustainable thrown in. Every Saturday, Beckerman and Bloom would go through 150 pounds of pastrami and corned beef that they’d spent 10 days brining and perfecting (then they’d smoke the pastrami) at the incubator kitchen La Cocina. But the chefs insist they care as much about old-world haimishkeit (Yiddish for homeyness) as they do about old-world food. “We want to know everybody’s name, everybody’s order,” says Beckerman, and let’s just hope their memories are as good as their matzo balls. The deli duo lost their original space in May, but quickly found a new one at Heart wine bar, a few blocks down the street. Saturdays, 1270 Valencia St., S.F., 415-285-1200


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