A new deli in the Financial District is offering classic comfort food like pastrami sandwiches and chicken soup updated with local, seasonal ingredients, as per usual in S.F. The tagline at Shorty Goldstein's is "cure, brine, smoke, pickle," which refers to all the things that Michael Siegel and his team do in-house.
Breakfast brings cheese blintzes, matzah brei, challah French toast, a gravlax plate, and a pastrami or corned beef Benedict, which sounds like an amazing hangover cure. For lunch, there are meaty corned beef, pastrami, and turkey sandwiches, along with a beef tongue version of Thursdays, matzo ball soup, chopped liver, latkes, kniches, brisket, and half roasted Mary's chicken.
We stopped in for lunch the other day, and though the meatier sandwiches were calling our name, we'd recently O.D.'d on animal fat and instead went instead for matzoh ball soup and a farmer's market side salad. The soup's broth was great -- not too salty, tasted full of chicken and celery -- and the matzo were springy and buoyant. We'll be getting it on rainy days in the future. And we had no complaints about the salad: fresh greens, goat cheese, and walnuts at an affordable $4 for a half.
Though we took our food back to the desk, we would have happily eaten in the comfortable room. A chalkboard displays the day's menu, anchored by a line of house-made pickles for sale as well as decoration. The gal behind the register told us right away that everything was made in-house that morning from local, sustainable ingredients, and was happy to help the people behind us in line who had never heard of kugel or rugelach (we were eavesdropping).
The restaurant opens up in back to a bigger dining room decorated with a family tree and old family photos -- the name "Shorty Goldstein's" was inspired by Siegel's height-challenged grandmother. Some folks on Chowhound have complained about the high prices for the sandwiches, but we'll always happily pay a few extra dollars for sustainably sourced meat, and the location at Sutter and Montgomery is hard to beat.