I really wish someone would open a damn souvlaki shop in this city. None of this Souvla bullshit with f***ing kale and navel oranges and radishes and pea shoots and not some funky cheap mystery meat wrapped in a burito and doused with red sauce either. I want the real thing and I want it more than anything!
I don’t disagree, though I enjoyed going there infrequently. I think the owner’s insight about not getting on the office delivery bandwagon is spot on.
Merigan Sub Shop is now closed.
My favorite fried fish sandwich is $7 - crunchy with cornmeal crust on a hamburger bun with cheese, mayo, lettuce, tomato, red onion and pickles. I ask for extra pickles.
Auntie April’s Chicken-n-Waffles.
4618-3rd Street, SF
I haven’t been much since they opened, but I remember being impressed by the quality of the stacked meat at North Beach Gyros. Real beef/lamb combo and chicken, not some Kronos rubbish. Not a destination place, but good and cheap for in the neighborhood. Adequate salad and pita, and some interesting sweeties. Any other more recent visits?
speaking of fish sandwiches, the catfish sandwich from “catered to you” in downtown oakland is quite amazing. Definitely my favorite (though pricey) fish sandwich in the area by a long shot. The fish or oyster po-boys from queen louisinia’s po-boys on san bruno ave in SF are also quite good
The burger at Dirty Water (Market & 9th/10th, sf). Only available lunchtime or after 10pm. They changed the chef unfortunately and the new chef no longer knows how to grill their hanger steak properly but the burger is still solid, with a huge beer list. Wish they had kept the pretzel bun.
Looking at the photos on Yelp, I’m sorry to say it’s not right. Souvlaki should not be loaded with iceberg lettuce and runny white sauce that looks like salad dressing. The pita is not right either. They’re using some kind of Middle Eastern shawarma style wrap. Greek style pita should be round, thick and fluffy. Contents should be relegated to chicken or lamb from a spit, thick sliced tomatoes & cucumbers, onions (optional) and garnished with a thick and creamy tzaziki sauce. Greek style peppers on the side. North Beach Gyros might be good, but what they’re serving is most definitely not traditional Greek style gyros or souvlaki.
Well, if you want to argue authenticity, in Greece, street-food souvlaki is a skewer of grilled lamb or pork with a chunk of bread speared on the end. The forcemeat gyros are entirely American, arising in New York and Chicago in the early '70s. “Pita” is a middle-Eastern import and wasn’t known in Greece until they imported American-style gyros. Greek “pita” is a sweet bread baked for holidays.
But speaking of stacked-meat, I’m sad that the Kurdish place in Berkeley at University and MLK has switched to generic Kronos cones for their gyros. I asked the owner about it, and he just smiled and shrugged, saying it took too long to marinate and stack. At least their chicken is still stacked meat, and they do have chunk-meat souvlaki.
Of course, but I’m not arguing the regional origins of grilled/rotisserie meats and wraps… tell me you haven’t come across something like this in Athens:
There are plenty of pitta-souvlaki shops that serve similar fluffy pita wraps with skewed meats, sliced tomatoes, sliced onions, occasionally cucumbers, tzatziki, and fried potatoes. See here: http://thetravelporter.com/blog/2016/6/21/souvlaki-guide-the-ultimate-greek-street-food
THIS is specifically what I’m talking about and what I’m craving more than anything else in San Francisco. I haven’t found anything like this in the entire Bay Area.
I’m just saying the meat was good and properly stacked. You can buy just the meat and source the other stuff elsewhere. But anything is an improvement over Kronos mystery meat. I suspect the staff is Turkish ( they say “guy-rows” not “yeeros”.) And one had hair growing out of the top of his nose.
To be fair, I haven’t been to Greece in many years, and apparently what I remember is only part of the constellation of grilled meats pointed out in the article.
I took your advice and ordered in from NBG last night and it was indeed good, although it’s 100% Middle Eastern and has little to do with Greek food culture, from my experience. I had a chicken shawarma (what they call a gyro for some reason) and I asked them to hold the lettuce. It was one of the better ones that I’ve tried in San Francisco. Admittedly, I wasn’t fully sober so my account may be slightly skewed, but as I remember it, it was indeed very tasty. I also ordered some falafel balls as an appetizer (which was absolutely not needed and could have easily served as a meal itself) but I found them way too dry, hard in texture, and just not very good. I actually had tickets to CUESA’s Sunday Supper at the Ferry Building, but I let my wife go with her girlfriend so I could stay home, eat shawarma and watch badly dubbed 70s martial arts movies on Amazon Prime.
The CT style lobster rolls I’ve liked out here were a one-off special at Woodhouse Fish Co. on Fillmore and the consistently good ones I’ve had from OTG’s Lobstah Truck; prices were around $22 (I think) and $14 (this was the price that included extra lobster). They both kept it super simple: meaty chunks doused in melted butter, piled in a squishy, buttered/griddled bun. LT’s lobster was sometimes a little tough but the flavor was good. It was more about what they don’t do. Yankee Pier in Larkspur, for example, ruined a perfectly nice (and very expensive) hot lobster roll by adding shallots and some kind of herb. It was like putting lipstick on the Mona Lisa.
YMMV of course but I’ll always go for the lobster roll in the more casual setting (truck, shack, cafeteria-style).
I’ve had a few bad take-out experiences at the Woodhouse on Fillmore, including one time this past summer when I ordered separate Maine lobster and toasted-buttered Dungeness rolls for pick-up, and got two gross King crab melts with heavy layers of plasticky yellow Kraft looking cheese on top instead. I ate about a third of one of them before deciding it was totally disgusting and giving the rest to the homeless guy who sleeps next door. The most frustrating part about it was that when I called to complain about the order mixup, the woman who served me acknowledged that she made a mistake but wouldn’t refund me over the phone and said I’d have to come in again to swipe my card, which is really stupid. I took sandwich credit instead but then every time I’ve tried a sandwich on Fillmore, I’ve been disappointed. Their french fries suck too… and I’m not crazy about their chowder either. I do like the Castro restaurant for their raw bar and Louies; especially before a film if I can get there early enough to beat the long queues.
Whoa, THAT’S a mix-up. And those are not inexpensive items. Hate to imagine being the people who had their taste-buds on the gooey-cheesy setting and unpacked nothing more than melted butter. (Though fish melts of any kind are definitely not my thing, a craving’s a craving.)
Service really does make a difference. We get take-out from La Mission maybe once a week and theydo make mistakes, like forgetting the chips and salsa. But they’re SO NICE – and their food is delicious and reasonably priced – about making it up to us. Once my husband actually drove back and I think we got comped for the whole (embarrassingly) large order. Mostly he just says, “Hey, you guys [error],” and they offer desserts or whatever. Everyone’s very pleasant about it. It adds a lot to your day.
Oh to be fair Woodhouse was nice enough about the mixup. I just thought that it was a huge inconvenience to ask me to go all the way back to swipe my card again for a refund. Woodhouse is kind of out of the way and was only convenient for take-out when my wife would occasionally go to some yoga studio in the neighborhood, so it was kind of a hassle to truck all the way back for their error. I would’ve expected that they could easily take care of it on their end. As you said, it wasn’t exactly a cheap order at around $25 for each sandwich, sides, etc. Anyhow, I took restaurant credit which was used on a second take-out order after another one of my wife’s yoga classes, and I’m sorry to say it was not much better. I’m with you btw - cheese and fish just don’t mix; at least not in a sandwich! Yeccch!!
Not very French. But echo’ing @Mr_Happy’s love for the buttermilk chicken sandwich with slightly spicy coleslaw from Grégoire. Got mine in Berkeley.
Chicken was moist and crispy. The star was the coleslaw- it was tangy, mildly spicy, and very delicious.
Augie’s Smoked Meats is my choice for pastrami - Augie’s Montreal Deli at 875 Potter Street in Berkeley.
For best value, I order The Meat Plate $15.
Craving an extra pickle or more coleslaw? Just ask!
Finally tried @atomica’s suggestion of [Canyon Market (and the Glen Canyon Park).
Got 3 hot sandwiches to eat fresh and warm in the car and we all thought they were quite fab.
Turkey & bacon with sundried tomato spread and cheddar. Originally got this as the safe choice for the kids but it turned out to be the favorite for the adults. The intensely-tomato-ey sundried tomato spread was great. And it elevated the normally safe and boring turkey bacon sandwich to a whole new level. All sandwiched between crisped up grilled soudough.
Steak & onion with caramalized onion, provolone, dijon mustard, mayo on a baguette. At first the sundried tomato spread totally overshadowed the flavors of this sandwich and I thought it was a bit bland. But after a few bites on its own, the subtlety of the flavors shined through. The steak was well marinated. We liked it.
Chicken & gruyere with bacon on a focaccia. This turned out to be the relatively safe choice. The gruyere was my favorite part of the sandwich.
Wonder who supplied their bread and the cheese for the sandwiches, because those were very good.
Canyon Market sandwiches can supply for a fancy picnic lunch at the nearby Glen Canyon Park. The park itself is fab too.