Deli Board sandwiches are boisterous yet delicate

Brian Molyneaux/Special to The ExaminerYum: The Gold-N-Berg-N-Stein is the signature sandwich at Deli Board

Brian Molyneaux/Special to The ExaminerYum: The Gold-N-Berg-N-Stein is the signature sandwich at Deli Board

Adam Mesnick’s premier Deli Board creation, the Gold-N-Berg-N-Stein ($10) — corned beef, pastrami, Kosher salami, Muenster cheese, house slaw, house Thousand Island on a sweet French roll — practically ruined me for any other sandwich. It sets the bar. Soft, salty, buttery, piquant and creamy, this sandwich transcends its components to become a higher food, some kind of manna.

He builds this sandwich on a house-baked white roll, filling it with paper-thin layers of meat, slaw, sauce and cheese, and warms the whole thing so it practically melts in your mouth. Though the Gold-N-Berg-N-Stein is as over-the-top as any sandwich could possibly be, it is constructed so precisely, it somehow eats light and stays neat.

Word spread among the kitchen brotherhood in town when Deli Board started selling sandwiches out of a shared catering kitchen on Howard Street. Crowds congregated on the sidewalk, waiting for their sandwich fix. For a short time, Mesnick delivered sandwiches by bicycle. Then, four months ago, he opened his own hip little shop with seating a block away on Folsom, across the street from Cleveland Alley.

He regards this location as a sign, since he grew up in Cleveland, started washing dishes at age 12 in Cleveland, and formed his taste at six different delis around Cleveland.

A presence at his shop, Mesnick elicits almost weeping gratitude from his clientele. Devotees see him rushing from the kitchen to hand out half-sour pickles or a taste of soup, and they feel compelled to say things like “You make the best corned beef sandwich I’ve ever eaten, and I’m Irish” or “You’re a genius.”

Mesnick, who wears his heart on the red sleeve of his Deli Board T-shirt, lives only to give his people pleasure. He’s pure.

Take, for example, the lrb, ($10) one of the most insane sandwiches I’ve ever stuffed into my mouth — chicken salad, Kosher salami, Muenster, cherry peppers, pickled onion and board sauce. This special sauce, which goes on many sandwiches, is based on Mesnick’s house-made ranch dressing, but I think the real secret is those plump, barely vinegary cherry peppers, which Mesnick doctors. They add juiciness and texture, but I really can’t put my finger on what makes the lrb so addictive.

From what planet did Fatty Matty ($10) descend, with tuna salad, falafel, Muenster, hummus, pickled onions, sprouts and board sauce on a sweet French roll? In this one, a layer of micro sprouts makes all the difference. Somehow, the tuna salad with the warm, crunchy falafel suggests crab. The wacky collection of ingredients tastes inevitable.

I’ve only given a hint of the possibilities here, since the menu changes often with sandwich specials, two daily soups and appetizers such as Mesnick’s house Buffalo chicken wings.

Frankly, I’ve never had the will to go beyond the sandwiches. One day I did order Mesnick’s chicken potpie soup ($4), which conjured the filling of the frozen American classic, though his was made with fresh chicken stock, moist shreds of chicken breast and cream.

Deli Board reminds me of my other favorite sandwich place, Crabby Jack’s in New Orleans, whose cochon de lait, roasted duck, and fried green tomato and shrimp remoulade po’boys, also play with the magic ratio of fat upon fat.

Deli Board

Location: 1058 Folsom St., between Sixth and Seventh streets, San Francisco
Contact: (415) 552-7687;
Hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays
Price range: $4 to $10
Recommended dishes: Gold-N-Berg-N-Stein; Fatty Matty; Boca; Munsoned; lrb; chicken pot pie soup
Credit cards: Visa, MasterCard
Reservations: Not accepted; food to go

Patricia Unterman is author of many editions of the “San Francisco Food Lovers’ Guide.” Contact her at

entertainmentFeaturesFood & DrinkFood and WineSan Francisco

Just Posted

San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler, pictured in July at Oracle Park, says team members simultaneously can be “measured and calm” and “looking to push the accelerator.” (Chris Victorio/Special to The Examiner)
How Gabe Kapler sets the tone for Giants’ success with strategy, mindset

‘There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s the hands-down manager of the year’

Artist Agnieszka Pilat, pictured with Spot the Robot Dog from Boston Robotics, has a gallery show opening at Modernism. (Courtesy Agnieszka Pilat)
Screenshots of VCs, Kanye and tech parties by the Bay

In this week’s roundup, Ben Horowitz’s surprising hip-hop knowledge and the chic tech crowd at Shack15

If he secured a full term in the Senate, Newsom would become the most powerful Californian Democrat since Phil Burton at the height of his career, or maybe ever. <ins>(Kevin Hume/The Examiner)</ins>
Firefighters extinguish burning material near Lake Tahoe on Sept. 3 in the wake of the Caldor Fire; environmental scientists say the huge fire is bringing to light deficiencies in forest management. <ins>(Max Whittaker/New York Times)</ins>
Cal Fire, timber industry must face an inconvenient truth

We are logging further into the wildfire and climate crisis

Speaker of the Parliament of Mongolia Gombojav Zandanshatar said his country and San Francisco face similar challenges on issues including COVID recovery and climate change.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins>
Mongolian leaders meet with tech, film leaders on city tour

‘I really want San Franciscans to meet the new Mongolian generation’

Most Read