Deli at Dawn

Because a wise son doesn't wait

San Franciscans have been hankering for a little Jewish comfort food, if the lines at three-week-old Wise Sons Delicatessen are any indication.

We like Reubens as much as the next guy, but not so much that we're willing to suffer a crush of humanity to get one.

But pastrami's siren song cannot be ignored, so we'll let you in on our secret: weekday breakfast.

At 8 a.m., the Wise Sons crowd is bearable. You can get a bottomless cup of strong Mr. Espresso coffee ($2.75), pieces of chocolate babka ($3.50), thick slices of challah French toast ($9), and the Semite Sandwich: a fried egg, Swiss, mustard and crispy pastrami on griddled rye bread ($5).

There are also bialys with smoked fish, and a few other breakfast items. But the sleeper hit is fried kugel with maple syrup ($5). The crisp balls are a reinterpretation of classic noodle kugel, that curious side dish of egg noodles bound with sour cream, cottage cheese, eggs, sugar and cinnamon.

Tangy and light, they're available all day. But order them at breakfast, and it will almost erase any disappointment about having to wait until 11 a.m. to order a sandwich. Almost.

Wise Sons Delicatessen, 3150 24th St. (at Shotwell St.); 415-787-3354 or wisesonsdeli.com