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Rhea's Deli [San Francisco]

mariacarmen Jan 14, 2011 02:12 PM

Just had the Korean Steak Sandwich at this corner liquor store deli. a good pile of marinated rib-eye, sliced thin, tender, served on an acme roll, with choice of cheese, chilli garlic sauce, house pickled red onions & jalapenos, grilled onions, fresh red onions, iceberg lettuce and garlice aioli. they asked me if i wanted it spicy, mild or hot and i said hot please - extra hot. he asked if i'd had their sandwiches before, and i said no. he then said maybe i should try the medium hot. i said no, please, HOT. he said, ok, extra hot? another customer chimed in saying they're pretty hot. and the counter guy said I'm Korean and i think medium is hot. So by then of course i'm scared and i say ok, not extra hot, just your regular hot. they didn't ask me what else i wanted on it, tho, so i think i got the works.

bring it home the 2 blocks, it's delicious - juicy, tasty, messy, big.... BUT NOT HOT. a little nose sniffly, but no burn in the mouth whatsoever. Dang. but i really liked it, and i'll get it again, next time extra extra hot. $8.45 and it was big enough to share. also want to try the pork katsu sandwich - $7.95. they also have the korean steak in tacos - 2 for $6, and an assortment of Boar's head cold cut sandwiches. AND a Panini on Tartine's country loaf! And they sell the owner's mom's homemade kimchi, but i don't know how hot that is because i didn't see it until too late to add it to my sandwich.

Rhea's Deli
800 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

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  1. s
    SFDude RE: mariacarmen Feb 18, 2011 11:36 AM

    I love Rhea's Deli -- both the Korean Steak sandwich and the katsu (chicken or pork) are excellent. I usually get the mild versions because I find the spicy versions too much (and I enjoy zesty food). I am surprised that you didn't find the hot version at least reasonably spicy -- either you have a very high heat tolerance or you got the mild version.

    Rhea's Deli
    800 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

    1 Reply
    1. re: SFDude
      mariacarmen RE: SFDude Feb 18, 2011 12:28 PM

      the guy making the sandwich made a point of acknowledging that he was making me a "regular" hot, as opposed to an EXTRA HOT - and had heard the whole discussion. my boyfriend had half - not spicy for him either. we do love really spicy food.

      haven't tried the katsu yet - looking forward to it.

    2. augustiner RE: mariacarmen Feb 18, 2011 04:27 PM

      i had the korean steak sandwich once, but found the sweetness of the meat jarring with the other flavors, or rather with the cheese. i guess i just can't get into the korean bulgogi fusion thing, like the tacos taking over the country.

      however i frequently order the pork katsu sandwich. the katsu is pounded thinly before breading and frying, and comes with the pickled onions, jalapenos, slaw, spicy aioli and katsu sauce, the worcestershire-like condiment usually served with tonkatsu. i find the medium to actually be medium hot, so maybe you do just like it spicier.

      i did pick up a jar of the kimchi and its pretty good. $6 for a small mason jar, spicier than the stuff i usually buy at woori market on fillmore, but that kimchi isn't really spicy at all. i'd try to describe it better but its been in the fridge for awhile, so now its just pretty ripe, about ready to be cooked rather than eaten straight up.

      but do go try the katsu sandwich, it is quite yummy.

      1 Reply
      1. re: augustiner
        mariacarmen RE: augustiner Feb 18, 2011 11:06 PM

        thanks, i think i may do that tomorrow, with the kimchi!

      2. k
        kairo RE: mariacarmen Feb 19, 2011 12:15 AM

        I just have to give a "shout out" to the BBQ Vegetarian Chicken Sandwich. Now that is a messy sandwich, the pieces of fake chicken don't stay in the roll. And the "coleslaw" (pretty much just shredded mixed cabbage/carrot thankfully) gets everywhere.
        I love it.
        The katsu is great too.

        Please don't let this place turn into Ike's Place. They do good business, and one weekends around 1 or so the wait can be 45 minutes.... but so far I can call in a sandwich, get there 10 minutes later and it's ready, unlike Ike's got to be.

        3 Replies
        1. re: kairo
          mariacarmen RE: kairo Feb 19, 2011 07:46 AM

          anyone know how late they serve? i think i'm getting home early evening, thought i'd make the pork katsu my dinner.....

          1. re: mariacarmen
            Cynsa RE: mariacarmen Feb 19, 2011 08:37 AM

            the Deli is serving until 7 pm today

            1. re: Cynsa
              mariacarmen RE: Cynsa Feb 19, 2011 10:05 AM

              thanks! i looked online and couldn't find that info, so thanks for your research for me!

        2. Atomica RE: mariacarmen Feb 19, 2011 08:11 AM

          The chicken katsu is a huge favorite of mine. I get it mild and it's still a bit hot for me.

          1. v
            vulber RE: mariacarmen Feb 19, 2011 09:50 AM

            Rhea's Deli is indeed good, but I find that sometimes the sandwiches can be unnecessary complicated, which is when I like to go to the simpler yet delicious Guerrero Market and Deli 1 block away

            Rhea's Deli
            800 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

            3 Replies
            1. re: vulber
              Frosty Melon RE: vulber Feb 21, 2011 07:35 AM

              What do you like at Guerrero Market?

              1. re: Frosty Melon
                vulber RE: Frosty Melon Feb 21, 2011 01:04 PM

                i especially liked the salmon BLT - very high-quality ingredients, large portions, and very friendly service

                1. re: vulber
                  mariacarmen RE: vulber Feb 21, 2011 01:34 PM

                  oooh, salmon BLT! going to have to try that too. love this site!!

            2. mariacarmen RE: mariacarmen Feb 21, 2011 11:55 AM

              in the midst of eating the Pork Katsu sandwich, EXTRA SPICY! they guy taking my order over the phone asked, "mild, medium or spicy?" EXTRA EXTRA SPICY! he said "are you sure?" i said yes, please! i asked if I could have kimchi on it too, and he said they typically don't put it on the sandwich but sell it on the side because then all you'd taste is the kimchi so i said ok, i'll take it on the side.

              It's delicious, and yes, finally, spicy enough. got the mouth burn, the runny nose, the whole bit. the 6 minute walk home did not uncrisp the cutlets, tho i think maybe it had a little too much hoisin - just a tad sweet for my taste, but this is a quibble. love the pickled onions. as for the kimchi - wonderful. i don't know very much about kimchi, except for what i've had as banchan at korean bbq, but this one (made by the owner's mom) is pungent and fresh and crispy and juicy, good amount of heat, and with a faint whiff of the sea! really good. i opened up the sandwich and got rid of a little slaw and added in some kimchi for a bite or two, and it was really good - cut the sweetness. i'm going to get a jar of it next time.

              by the way, i think all they did to ramp up the heat is add more sriracha, and maybe an extra marinated jalapeno or two - i can taste a lot of the vinegary-ness of them.

              so happy to have this place 2 blocks from my house.... (wow, still gasping - lurrrrrve that heat!)

              8 Replies
              1. re: mariacarmen
                Melanie Wong RE: mariacarmen Feb 21, 2011 01:12 PM

                Hoisin on pork katsu?

                1. re: Melanie Wong
                  mariacarmen RE: Melanie Wong Feb 21, 2011 01:33 PM

                  sorry, misspoke. Can't remember the name of the typical katsu sauce..... sweetish, brownish....

                  1. re: mariacarmen
                    Melanie Wong RE: mariacarmen Feb 21, 2011 01:46 PM

                    Tonkatsu sauce?


                    1. re: Melanie Wong
                      mariacarmen RE: Melanie Wong Feb 21, 2011 01:50 PM

                      that's what it's called?? who knew!

                2. re: mariacarmen
                  drewskiSF RE: mariacarmen Feb 21, 2011 04:03 PM

                  sriracha? ask them to use Gochu Jang (Korean hot pepper paste) next time . . . and maybe some raw garlic slices! :)

                  1. re: drewskiSF
                    mariacarmen RE: drewskiSF Feb 21, 2011 04:50 PM

                    oh - they have that? maybe that's what they used..... is that saltier than Sriracha? more like olek sambal?

                    1. re: mariacarmen
                      drewskiSF RE: mariacarmen Feb 21, 2011 04:59 PM

                      just guessing since they are Korean. i haven't been there

                      yes, it's saltier and thicker than Sriracha made with chilis & fermented soybeans

                      1. re: drewskiSF
                        mariacarmen RE: drewskiSF Feb 21, 2011 09:23 PM

                        ok, i'll ask next time i'm there. thx.

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