Miller’s East Coast West Deli: Reviews

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Millers East Coast West DeliMillers East Coast West DeliMillers East Coast West Deli
Matzoh Ball Soup, Pastrami Sandwich, Brisket on Challah


BrianName: Brian
Occupation: Construction Manager
Location: San Francisco
Favorite Restaurant: Miller’s East Coast West Delicatessen
Reviewed Miller’s East Coast West Delicatessen: Friday, July 21, 2006

On Polk Street in San Francisco, where people from the Marina cross paths with people from the Tenderloin, you’ll find a hidden gem: Miller’s East Coast West Delicatessen. It’s as if they pulled a delicatessen from Manhattan and dropped it on Polk Street. Food ranges from traditional New York treats such as blintzes, matzoh ball soup, smoked salmon, meat loaf, hot pastrami sandwiches, barbequed brisket, toasted hoagies — the list goes on and on. I’ve been to Miller’s on numerous occasions and have brought friends and family from the East Coast who swear the food is fantastic, authentic, so much so that they feel as if they’re back in New York again.

The menu is loaded and ranges from traditional soups and salads, to specialty wraps, burgers, and full plate meals. On this particular trip I decided to dine on two favorites –- matzoh ball soup and a Rueben sandwich. It’s a lot of food and I’m rarely able to finish it all, but they complement each other so well it’s tough to avoid. The spices and flavor of the matzoh ball chicken-based broth is incredible — it pours through your mouth… The one large matzoh ball (the way it should be!) rests on the bottom of the bowl. It’s far and away the best matzoh ball soup I’ve had. I order it often. The Rueben, however, may be the best item on their menu. Fresh, toasted, light rye bread stacked high with thinly-sliced (again, the way it should be!) corned beef, fresh sauerkraut, Thousand Island dressing, and topped with Swiss cheese. It’s big, messy, and absolutely delicious! All the menu items are always fresh with robust tastes and flavors. I’ve also had the toasted hoagies, corned beef sandwiches, turkey sandwiches, beef brisket, lox and bagels -– each equally qualifying as nearly the best in its category.

The atmosphere is very comfortable with an eclectic mix of local neighbors, business people, and a lot of regulars, including older folks I’ve often imagined were New York transplants. The staff is extremely friendly and helpful, and the mood throughout the restaurant is very upbeat and enjoyable. Many of their meats are shipped in from the East Coast (however the corned beef is made by a local Irish San Francisco family that has been making corned beef in the area since the 1920s). Additionally, much of their bread is shipped in from the East Coast for that true genuine taste and style (the rye bread is half-cooked on the East Coast then shipped out here and finished).

You could go to a normal deli and get a plain sandwich, or you could go to Miller’s and get the best sandwich of your life. I would imagine if you’re from New York, you’ll agree it’s as if you’re walk into a midtown Manhattan or Brooklyn local spot. In conclusion, I suggest you drop whatever you are doing and run, don’t walk, to Miller’s. Street parking is available on Polk and the surrounding blocks and is rarely a problem. Go now, thank me later.


RobertName: Robert
Occupation: Software Engineer
Location: San Francisco
Favorite Restaurant: Da Flora
Reviewed Miller’s East Coast West Delicatessen: Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Miller’s may be the most authentic NY-style deli we have in S.F. When you walk in and are confronted with the long counter you may not realize they have table service. Luckily the friendly staff quickly lets you know to have a seat. The counter offers a great chance to check out the goods, especially the desserts, but I was grateful not to have to order at the counter. Looking around you see that décor is pretty Spartan. There are a few prints on the wall and some photographs, the tables are set with paper napkins. It’s bright and I’m sure if it’s full, it’s loud. Bottom line, this isn’t a “destination” restaurant, but, I’m sure I’ll go back.

Having never been, I decided to have a meal of deli classics: borsht, potato knish, and a pastrami sandwich. Our waitress talked me out of the borsht saying they had a new “more traditional” recipe for the borsht and she didn’t care for it. Instead, I had the chicken noodle soup. I was happy with the substitution. If I lived in that neighborhood I would be stopping in for that soup to go on a regular basis. It was full of chicken, had a well-seasoned broth, and came to the table really hot. I’m sure I won’t catch a cold for months.

The knish also came to the table so hot we were unable to eat it as quickly as we tried. We shared it and everyone at the table enjoyed it. Now that they’ve passed the potato test, I look forward to the next visit to try the meat knish.

Next came the pastrami and my first impression was relief that it wasn’t the classic NY-style portion of about a pound of pastrami on two tiny slices of rye. Don’t worry, there was plenty of pastrami, and it was delicious. The meat was tender and moist with just the right amount of seasoning. I picked half of it out and ate it plain with my fingers leaving the other half laced with Hebrew National mustard to eat as a sandwich. On the side was a large crisp dill pickle (thank you, Miller’s, for not having those disgusting “fresh” pickles) and some of the best restaurant potato salad I’ve ever had. (Maybe even better than my own.)

One of my companions had the whitefish platter. This is totally not my thing, but he loved it and I think will be eating from it for the next two days. It was huge! Most portions I saw tended to be. Because of the size of portions and the amount of food we ordered, none of us were willing to order a slice of the gorgeous cheesecake we saw as we entered. Once I got home I regretted not getting a slice to go. Next time!

My only complaint is that a pastrami sandwich should come with a beer. Miller’s doesn’t serve alcohol but they redeemed themselves by having Barq’s Root Beer. I drank Barq’s (it’s good) in honor of my home state, Louisiana.

If you’re needing a deli experience, Miller’s is worth a visit. The food is good, the prices are reasonable, and I’m still singing the crooner classics we heard while we were there.


KristineName: Kristine
Occupation: Theological Librarian
Location: Richmond
Favorite Restaurant: Picante
Reviewed Miller’s East Coast West Delicatessen:
Saturday, July 8, 2006

We loved Miller’s East Coast West Delicatessen. From the moment my party of four (including three adults and a preschooler) walked in the wait staff made us feel welcome. Because Miller’s is a deli, we also liked the simple, kid friendly décor, and finding a table was easy when we were there in the middle of a Saturday afternoon. Even parking was easy to find on a nearby side street. Something non-San Franciscans can appreciate.

The menu reminded me of the East Coast delis I used to love when I lived in Brooklyn. Lots of corned beef, pastrami, brisket, and a wide assortment of fish was available. Ultimately, my dining party chose the brisket on challah, pastrami, and Swiss on a hoagie roll, and a kosher hot dog. Since I couldn’t make up my mind, I had the Chief, a yummy combination of corned beef and pastrami with coleslaw and dressing on challah. We also ordered up a half-order of French Fries and an order of onion rings.

It wasn’t long before the drinks and food came out. We liked the fact that the staff anticipated the junior member of our party might spill his drink and served it in a cup with a lid. Nice touch. When the food arrived the portion sizes were generous and we could have easily split the sandwiches. Once we dug into our sandwiches, silence hung over the table as we all fell in love with the food. The meat on each sandwich had a nice balance of fat to meat. The challah bread was soft and barely contained our sandwiches. Both the coleslaw and the potato salad served as side dishes tasted fine and went well with the sandwiches. We also all remarked at how good and not greasy the onion rings were that they served. Except for half of one of the sandwiches, we all cleaned our plates. Walking out of the deli, we all remarked that we wanted to come back and eat something else off the menu. Unfortunately, we were all too full to taste the desserts which looked equally as good as the food we had already eaten.

For us, this was a great place to eat and judging from the other diners, this is clearly a neighborhood favorite. The friendly and knowledgeable staff combined with a really East Coast menu made for a great dining experience. We also liked the fact that this was not a fussy place and besides, who doesn’t like that they play Elvis music?

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  • James

    I was at the deli this past Sunday at around 1:30 p.m. It was very busy at that time. Despite being busy we still got good service and a good lunch.
    My wife ordered the Chicken liver appetizer. It’s basically a chicken liver salad made of hardboiled eggs, chicken liver and other ingredients which we couldn’t discern. My wife and I loved it. It comes with a big scoop of the chicken liver salad, red onions, lettuce and three pieces of rye bread.
    We also had matzoh ball soup. It was enjoyable. It was great for the winter day.
    We also split a reuben. The sandwhich comes loaded with meat, that is tender and savory. The rye bread that it came on was flavorful also. The crust of the bread was a little tough but it was fresh.
    By the time we finished at about 2:30, the place lunch rush was over. I would say we had a good meal and leftover for dinner. It’s worth a try if you enjoy deli food!

  • Bob

    BAD NEWS we drove up from San Jose on Sunday 1/21 and entered at 5pm to find that they closed early because they were busy all day. Normally they are open until 9pm. We were looking forward to a good Deli sandwich and were turned away!!! Please call ahead to see what time they are going to close.

  • Jen

    I live in the neighborhood and eat at Miller’s frequently. My favorites are the the pastrami and the creamed herring platter–it’s hard to decide which to order. And despite the fact that both the portions are HUGE I somehow manage to eat it all. The latkes are also excellent–crispy, not at all greasy, and very flavorful. Sometimes you just need deli, and Miller’s is the place to go when the craving strikes.

  • Jen

    Good News! Miller’s just launched their new menu and website. The new menu includes crab cakes (the owner’s originally from Baltimore) and a big selection of hot dogs; I had the Chicago Dog for breakfast yesterday–it was fantastic!

  • william perry

    Well, after all the hype and reviews this place has taken a sharp turn south. For the past three months the pastrami is dry and tough at least half the time. They no longer get their rye bread from New Jersey and that’s a darn shame. They cut their soup and sandwich special to a cup instead of a bowl of soup. It’s supposed to be chicken noodle matzoh ball, but there’s never any chicken in it. Service is good but what’s the difference if the food stinks? I asked the manager about the decline in pastrami qualitly and he just looked at me as if I was crazy and got very defensive about it. I’m sorry to have lost this place but it just isn’t good anymore.

  • Mike

    Having lived in New York City for many years and loving New York deli food, I recently went to this restaurant with much expectation. What a total disappointment. The only authentic item here is their potato knish, but I am not sure if that was worth the hike from San Ramon to San Francisco. NY-style deli, you must be kidding.

  • Robin

    This place is a disaster, terrible service (and the place was 1/3 full), dirty tables, no silverware, dirty looking kitchen. The meat slicer looked as though it had never been cleaned, just a general look of uncleanliness. Food was adequate – not great. Definately not a New York City deli in any sense of the word. It was a complete disapointment.

  • kevin

    This had to be one of the most unusual eating events in my life. I saw the show reviewing the place Sat. a.m. and decided to go for a bike ride into SF and invite a friend to go to this place, from my house in Mill Valley, so I was good and starved!

    The menu board is unbelievable. Have you ever been to Max’s, say about 5 years ago, when they actually served NY deli sandwiches. No more now. But who cares, you got this place!

    It literally took my 4-5 min. to make up my mind, all the other people in line were so cool to me. The deli kitchen staff were having an unusually good time, I think! Sort of bizarre, really. But not as bizarre as the drag queen contest going on next door! As is sat in front, watching my bike, I had a hard time concentrating on my delicious chicken liver, pastrami and some other entrail sandwich! Delicious!

    The only thing is is that this is a true E. Coast place! When my order was ready, it was sent to a part of the counter that I didn’t expect it. Fortunately, the person who ordered in back of me pointed that out!

    Portions: Massive!
    Price: Fair
    Tables: yes, but u’re not there for the decor
    Wait staff: they’re there
    Food: the best
    Street atmosphere: Polk St…..it’s great, bring a friend who’s not afraid of change!

  • Lamar

    I just had lunch there and was not impressed. After reading the “Check please” review in which on of the guests said “The knish also came to the table so hot we were unable to eat it as quickly as we tried. We shared it and everyone at the table enjoyed it.” The spinach knish I ordered wasn’t that hot and was very dry and bland. I also ordered the latkes and they weren’t very good either. Both items seemed like they were made the day or more before and weren’t “New York” quality. That said, the pastrami sandwiches everyone else was eating around me looked rather good. Next time if I go, I’ll order one of those instead.

  • art

    This place way way way over rated. The service is terrible–somethng out of a concentration camp. Then they cop an attitude like they are doing you a favor for even existing…like you are supposda pay to breath their air. The food is only so so and not worth the bull s*** involved especially the waits when crowded…

  • niceguynsf

    It is the ONLY deli I go to in SF. LOVE the food. Attitude
    of the staff is nice. Never had a bad meal. And I have
    eaten there over 30 times.