Mikkeller is not your average beer bar. Despite its questionable neighborhood surroundings on the cusp of the bad part of the Tenderloin (we actually watched cops draw guns on a crackhead in the street a block from the place on our way over), it’s actually a very large, spacious, clean, polished space with a comfortable and appropriately adult, European vibe.
It’s a lofty space with high ceilings and a distinct artistic style that feels rather Scandinavian. And it makes sense because Mikkeller only has one location in the US, this one in SF, with other outposts in various Scandinavian cities as well as in Bangkok. Mikkeller’s namesake founders, Mikkel Borg Bjergsø and Kristian Klarup Keller, are also world famous brew masters so it’s quite nice to have such easy access to their delicious crafts close to my home in SF.
But, beyond being a fantastically civilized place to drink, it’s also an outstanding place to grab a satisfying bite to eat in a bar. As far as bar menus around go, theirs is the tops. Most of the menu revolves around quality charcuterie or sausage sandwiches, but there’s one item on the menu that I can’t help but get just about every time I go – their epic pastrami Reuben Sandwich.
As an ex-New Yorker, Jew, and passionate pastrami lover, I’ve been anxiously seeking out suitable pastrami purveyors in the Bay Area capable of quenching my nearly unconquerable cravings. I’ve enjoyed Miller’s East Coast in SF in the past and still have a number of potentials on my to-do list to check out, but Mikkeller Bar had already proven itself an impressive solution to the problem.
Their sandwich is massive. And it comes piled high with thick, juicy, meaty slices of house-cured and smoked pastrami along with a mountain of sauerkraut stuffed between two crispy, toasty, well-buttered pieces of bread. This thing is rich and greasy – that’s for sure, but it’s also so incredibly satisfying and delicious. I think it’s absolutely perfect when paired with one of Mikkeller’s quality brews.
Their fries are also quite excellent. They are thick-cut, crispy, and well-seasoned. All in all it’s kind of a perfect bar meal though if we’re getting down to the nitty gritty, I still think the famed pastrami at Katz in NYC is better (by far). But, that’s just not a fair comparison to make. For now, this mammoth $16 sandwich will be more than sufficient to quench those intense pastrami sandwich cravings in SF.
So, while I’m sure you could do pretty well ordering just about anything at Mikkeller, their excessively decadent pastrami sandwich has earned itself the right of becoming an essential part of every single Mikkeller visit. It’s just so damn good – I can never resist its call. Check it out for yourself, you won’t be disappointed.
Got another pastrami sandwich in SF that I need to check out? Let me know in the comments below.
34 Mason St. San Francisco, CA 94102