House of Bagels on the north side of Geary at 14th. ave. is now serving a good sized menu of very interesting huge stuffed combo sandwiches and sides a la NYC's Carnegie Deli. I wished I had been feeling better, I've been ill lately and I just stumbled in on the way back from the High Holy Days services to get a couple dozen bagels for my freezer - so I really couldn't concentrate on the whole menu in order to do the kind of report I would otherwise have enjoyed writing for you.
But there were more people waiting on line, and apparently salivating, than I have ever seen at the House of Bagels before. The man waiting in front of me said he was back for the second day, that the pastrami sandwich he had enjoyed the day before was the best he had ever tasted and he just could not stop thinking about it and had to get another. When I hear something like that it is a red alert! So, I immediately decided to expand my own order to include a pound of that pastrami - thin sliced, please. But, to me, rather than buying a sandwich, it makes more sense and saves money to just buy my own ingredients and make the sand. at home. So, I have to admit...that WAS the best pastrami I too have ever eaten, and I have eaten a lot of pastrami. It was uniquely both extremely lean, really no fat at all, and inexplicably tender...two attributes of meat that are almost never found together. Moist and very flavoful too. But not sweet. So I used TJ's sweet hot mustard when I made a perfect sandwich later with House of Bagel's very good thick sliced corn rye. The pastrami is sliced to order for $11 a pound.
Their new sandwich menu seems to include just about anything you could possibly ask from a good NYC deli that was somehow magically transported to the Richmond district of SF. They have (and I bought) whitefish salad for $10 a pound. It is the bomb. And I love whitefish salad (on a bagel with thin sliced onions). As you no doubt know....whitefish salad is not a salad at all - it's a schmear. But it's so good you'll want to eat it with a spoon. House of Bagels now must have at least a couple of dozen interesting Carnegie Deli style huge combo sandwiches to choose from. For example, pastrami or corned beef, cole slaw, chopped chicken liver, and swiss cheese all together on rye. You can get the sandwiches grilled if you want. They are all available in three different sizes with commensurate prices.
House of Bagels seems to have also expanded both the sweet and savory bakery offerings. For example, I noticed a few different kinds of rugelach - cherry even, which I prefer to the standard raisin. I've always maintained their huge brownies were the best and best bargain (for a brownie) in town. And they have the special round Rosh Hashana challahs and also even challahs filled with dried fruits. You have to give them credit for that. It's hard to even find challahs at all in SF, let alone specialty challahs. Likewise the extrememly generous selection of rye breads: they must have something approaching a dozen different rye breads...well 8 or 9 anyway. All the sandwich ingredients and half sour pickles and pickled tomatoes are also available by the pound.
But do check out those new big crazy sandwiches!
Seating in the back. One of these sandwiches and something to drink would make the perfect lunch (for two?) if you were on your way out to the park or beach.