Twenty-four taps spout a river of mostly Belgian ales: dubbels, tripels, blondes, and Flemish reds, any of which tastes better when friended by one of the kitchen’s enormous Reuben sandwiches. Chef Matt Levin obsesses over his pastrami, made tender after a weeklong process of intense brining, smoking, and steaming.
Few sandwiches have as much to live up to as the pastrami Reuben, considering it’s a staple of such legendary spots as New York City’s Katz and Carnegie delis and Greenblatt’s in Los Angeles. Happily, in the Bay Area, the sandwiches at Refuge Pastrami, with locations in and Menlo Park can stand up to such pedigreed pastrami Reubens.
This trip, Guy’s signing up for a meat-crazed master class. In San Carlos, Calif., the pastrami-crazed neighborhood spot crankin’ out burgers, cheesesteaks and signature sammies.
The classically-trained chefs at The Refuge in San Carlos combine beer with traditionally prepared pastrami.
The meat specialists at the Refuge, a popular San Carlos gastropub, are now piling on the pastrami in Menlo Park. Here, as at the original location, chef-owner Matt Levin and chef de cuisine Michael Greuel (they met at Viognier in San Mateo) are making inhouse what many customers call the Bay Area’s best pastrami, along with hamburgers ground daily and ribeye cheesesteaks.
The Refuge started as a restaurant in San Carlos. The owners recently opened a new location in Menlo Park. The dining experience is all about meaty sandwiches and Belgian beers. Take a look at the video to meet the team behind the counter.
Fans of pastrami flock to this funky neighborhood spot in San Carlos. It’s made and hand-carved in-house, served on toasted rye with house-made pickles. The heavyweight beer list features more than a dozen Belgian beers and microbrews on tap, many more in the bottle, and a reserve list. The beers are lovingly described, and served in appropriately specialized glasses, and the pastrami (top it with chopped liver if you’re feeling extra decadent) is first-rate.
The Refuge is an uncommon eatery that makes uncommonly tasty food. It’s more a pub than a restaurant, and its claim to fame is ridiculously delicious house-made pastrami. Pastrami is to deli meats asZeus is to Greek deities. I don’t know what they eat on Mt. Olympus, but if the Refuge delivered I’m sure there would be a couple dozen Reubens headed that way.
Manhattan has Katz’s Deli, Los Angeles has Langer’s, and San Carlos has the Refuge, an under-the-radar wine bar that makes world-class pastrami. The fatty, hand-carved slices of beef are cured in-house and perfumed with pepper and coriander. Piled onto caraway-studded rye bread, they make a sandwich that apologizes to no one.
Yes, the great past-time of New Yorkers in San Francisco has been brought to an abrupt halt. There is now good pastrami to be had locally. Owner Matt Levin makes the pastrami and it is truly worthy. I won’t bother to try to describe it. You know what good pastrami is. Go try it and see if I’m not right (I am right, don’t even try it on). On a level with Katz’s,Langer’s, and whatever they serve in Paradise
…there’s a quirky brilliance in the formula conceived by owner Matt Levin and chef de cuisine Michael Greuel of the Refuge in San Carlos. After a stint working in Paris, Levin realized the similarities between French charcuterie and a proper deli. The Refuge is the result, less Jewish deli than monument to cured meat…
…this is more than a meal. It’s a rich cultural experience. The pastrami, thick hand-carved slices, rivals any found on my deli tour of New York City. The Belgian beer selection is also second to none. The 20 French wines by the glass cover tantalizing ground. There are Jewish classics — sparked by a chef’s fresh imagination — such as chopped liver and chicken noodle soup. Alongside regional favorites such as cheesesteak sandwiches, you’ll find European cheeses and charcuterie…