Miller’s East Coast Delicatessen, a deli with a narrow storefront, can often be overlooked among the many hidden gems tucked away on Polk Street. Huge slabs of marbled roast beef with pink centers and packed fillets of smoked salmon sit behind a glass display in front of the industrial slicing machine where they freshly slice pastrami to prepare their famous sandwiches. The narrow walkway opens into a spacious dining area, where black and white cartoon panels reminiscent of 1940’s ads line the walls. Signs like “You name the sandwich, we’ll build it” and “Good foods served right” already have my mouth watering.
The menu is massive–stretching five pages long ranging from appetizers to toasted hoagies to seafood and benedicts. There wasn’t a wait at 1:45 pm on a Monday, but there were plenty of customers flowing in and out, and many seated, delightfully enjoying their sandwiches. I scanned the room to see what others were eating, but I already knew what I wanted to get–their Rachel. The Rachel is under Miller’s Reuben-O-Rama: grilled, on rye with Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Russian dressing. I asked for marble rye because it is one of my much loved breads which is not served often anymore.
My friend ordered their combo sandwich, The Chief, with a combination of pastrami, corned beef, coleslaw, and Russian dressing. Each sandwich is accompanied with a choice of macaroni salad, potato salad, or coleslaw.
The wait took less than 10 minutes to prepare our orders. The portions are massive! My friend and I swapped half of our sandwiches so that we would be able to try both. I loved the layers upon layers of pastrami stacked on top of each other in between two slices of toasted marble rye bread. The slices of meat were not too thick so the sandwich could be layered generously. The sandwich was served at the right temperature; warm but not too hot to eat. The sauerkraut and the cheese did not overwhelm the pastrami at all, and the edges of the pastrami that were coated with seasonings enhanced the overall flavor of the sandwich. My biggest problem with sandwiches? I dislike it when I bite into a sandwich without fully biting away the meat because it is too rubbery or thick. However, I was able to eat the sandwich easily without a constant tug-or-war battle. The meat was moist and tender and the Russian dressing was delish! It provided a delightfully tangy taste to my sandwich. The macaroni salad that accompanied my sandwich was a bit too watery for my taste.
The Chief was massive! I didn’t think my friend should’ve ordered the Dutch crunch, only because plentiful meat was packed into the sandwich already. My friend told me he only ordered it because he didn’t expect so much meat, and he would order Dutch crunch in other delis because it was more filling when deli’s skimp on the meats. For me, I thought the Dutch crunch was far too thick to be accompanied with The Chief– I would’ve preferred using breads such as rye which would complement the meats better. While the thickness of the Dutch crunch made it harder to enjoy the sandwich, their corned beef was delicious. Miller’s top two favorite meats combined into one sandwich is a definitely a recommended sandwich if you want to try their most popular items. However I must say the pastrami will rank number one above all else!
Looking for a meaty, classic sandwich? Miller’s East Coast Delicatessen is here for your calling. I must say this place provides hearty sandwiches for a fair price: you definitely get what you pay for, and more. This is one of the best NY Deli’s I’ve had in San Francisco.
Miller’s East Coast Deli
1725 Polk Street
San Francisco, CA 94109