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East Coast West lost a Deli Trial against Moishe's Pippic

East Coast West Delicatessen
1725 Polk Street/Clay, SF
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Pretrial hearing at The Bigfoot Lodge


Quite frankly, I'm about as goy as they come. But I like to think I know a good deli sandwich when I taste one, even if I don't like caraway seeds on my rye bread. East Coast West makes a good deli sandwich, but unfortunately I did not order it that fateful night.

Atmosphere-wise, ECW seems more like a cafe near the SFMOMA than a real East Coast delicatessen. Bright and cheery, weird paintings on the walls, whatever. We came for food, and we started with potato pancakes and knishes. The tater cakes were top-notch, and I can't say I've had better. Big, brown, crispy, what's not to love? I pass on applesauce, myself, and go for the sour cream. Two big ones for five bucks, not bad. Get those. I wish the knish was better, but it wasn't. They were out of everything but spinach, I think, and the crust was kind of dry and unsatisfying. Of course, I think that was my first knish.

I decided to take a sandwich chance and ordered the Hot Brisket of Beef ($8.95). Let the other judges take the safe route and order pastrami and corned beef, I thought. Branch out! Get all adventurous! Mistake. While they piled the brisket high on my kaiser, it was a letdown. Somewhat dry, compared to pastrami or corned beef, and bland in comparison as well. I decided this was a sandwich for the grandmas and little kids who don't care for the spicy-greasy experience that The Deli Twins offer. The nice plump pickle and cole slaw on the side could not save me from the depression of misordering. The other two judges scoffed at my misfortune, and threw me pieces of their superior sandwiches like I was a begging deli dog. Shameful, considering I usually order with laser accuracy.

And so, I struck out at East Coast West. But you don't have to. They've got a huge menu aside from meaty sandwiches, with hot plates and all kinds of real-sounding Jewish goodness, gourmet sodas, salads, and desserts. Worth checking out, just don't bother with the brisket.



A big thanks to reader-eaters PH, Otto and Thomas for sending us north on Polk Street to East Coast West Deli. It's kind of a dumb name, and surely sends a lot of easterners in with understandable chips on their shoulders. But I just ask you to be objective, like they told me in the jury box last week. I bet you're surprised they put a judge in the box -- well, I was too. Strangely, in their closing arguments, neither lawyer mentioned corn dogs or roaches. I was dismayed. And we weren't served any füd. But I got to go around singing that Alice in Chains song all week.

Anyway, if you sit down and stare straight at the sandwich on your plate and put it in your mouth, I think you'll be pleased. Better yet, get it to go. The ambience stinks. There's nothing of the regional charm and warm service of Moishe's or the classic bustly feel of a 2nd Ave. or Carnegie Deli in New York. But the sandwich itself -- at least my pastrami Reuben (called here "The Rachael") -- stacked up very well with piles of meat, heaps of sauerkraut, and oozy cheese between nicely grilled rye. A pickle on the side and a generous bowl of excellent coleslaw rounds out a pretty large meal for, I believe, $8.95.

Taste it!



Ah, just what Polk Street needs: a really good deli. Sorry if I've overlooked somewhere else but, where are you? There's no reason you shouldn't rush right out and test 'em out. I left wanting to drive my very own pastrami. I can see it now, tooling around town in my brand new tastefully flavored hunk of cured meat. I was out with the "Deli Twins" that night, "two fresh rolls piled with corned beef and pastrami, one each." Those two don't disappoint and for only $8.95 it was a relatively cheap date.

I get ahead of my meal though. We started off with some potato pancakes. It's a nice deal for $4.95: two good sized dense potato rounds with crispy crunchy edges to be pulled through the applesauce, quite chunky, and sour cream. No complaints from this driver. Next came the knishes. So unimpressive they were I can't quite remember what was in 'em. I do know they were out of meat and I think we had the spinach, too bad. The filled pastry was bland and a bit dry -- they could at least give you something to lube your palate. Oh no, a flashback, to that other deli, "Oh, so dry." No roaches here though, I can forget all about that dry business. My trip with the twins in my new ride was pure pleasure. We finished off with some Rugelach, not a bad little dessert, three sweet fruit/jam topped cookies for $2.50. Well we stuck pretty much to the same dishes, sandies all around, so I thought I might mention a few of the other items from their extensive menu: Monte Cristo, Hungarian Goulash, Meatloaf, Pickled Herring in Cream Sauce, Chopped Chicken Liver, Flanken in a name a few and there are many more.

So hop in your favorite bit of meat and squeal on over to the ECW Delicatessen and see if they can't tempt you into a new ride of your own.






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