Wholeness at Gestalt
I got off work at 2 today. That’s a major contributor to my love for sandwiches. I get to work early as hell and when I get off it’s a) time for lunch and b) usually happy hour somewhere. So when I got off the bus at 16th and Guerrero today pondering where I should get a sandwich, I was pleasantly surprised when I saw a sign advertising a combination of the two!
Free beer with sandwich, to me, is about the equivalent of finding a $20 on the ground. However, I was on a budget today. I had a roll of quarters to be responsible and do laundry with, and about $13 to get a sandwich and spend on other miscellaneous things (i.e beer). Also, I had never had a sandwich from Gestalt and, at that point, their sign was the only thing that had ever told me their sandwiches were awesome. If they weren’t connected to free beer, I probably would have wandered to Clare’s (reliably satisfying), or down the way to Ray’s Deli (seemingly good sandwiches for $4.75). But they were, so I gambled.
Now, a little about Gestalt. As far as I’ve ever known, Gestalt is a beer bar that caters to the cyclist and otherwise local crowd. They have bike parking, some couches, a pool table, Big Buck Hunter, a pinball game or two, several beers on tap, and food. The food consists of sandwiches (until 8), warm potato salad, sausages (including vegan ones), and maybe some other stuff. I’d only ever been there once before, spending most of my time playing pinball before deciding to head somewhere where I could actually get a cocktail. See, I’m not particularly fond of beer bars. Their beers are generally more expensive than other bars that serve liquor (assuming they are able to balance their losses with liquor revenue), their clientele is generally, well, that of a beer bar, and to sum it up, usually I want a whiskey at some point in the night.
Today, however, all of my previous perceptions of Gestalt held no ground because 5 of my favorite words were so elegantly displayed on their board outside: super, free, beer, awesome, sandwich. That, and the fact that the bar was empty I don’t drink whiskey until at least 5PM anyway.
Those who follow my sandwich rantings could safely assume that if they had a Reuben on the menu, that’s what I would choose. To be fair, when I chose it today, my decision was not based on blind enthusiasm. My inquiries revealed a sample of Robert’s corned beef. Unfamiliar at the time, I have a feeling I will soon be a loyalist.
Straying from the sandwich for a moment, I chose a Spaten Optimator to drink. The guy who gave me the meat sample, who carried himself like the owner, made sure that the bartender pour me enough head on the beer. Then I was asked what side I wanted: warm potato salad, cole slaw, or chips. SIDE?!?!! (I chose the potato salad.)
The sandwich arrived. Marbled rye. A generous amount of meat. A not overwhelming yet hearty portion of sauerkraut. All the Swiss cheese my tiny heart could have hoped for. And sweet sweet
thousand island Russian dressing. Oh, and a f**king pepperoncini AND a pickle!
It goes without saying that I thoroughly enjoy my purchase while watching reruns of 30 Rock at Gestalt. I sat in a moment of contemplation of every Reuben I have ever had after finishing and was content. I was whole.
Afterwards, my buddy Taylor and I went and drank beers at Dolores Park until sunset while throwing dice and watching dogs play. I won a bunch and dogs peed a lot. It was a hell of a day. I’m looking forward to doing again soon.
Place: Gestalt, 3159 16th St. btwn. Guerrero & Valencia, San Francisco, CA 94110
Sandwich: Haus Reuben ($10)
Ingredients: Robert’s corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, Russian Dressing, on rye.