A friend (Hi Galen!) recently posted a comment that made me realize a funny coincidence. I choose the blog name Samiwich because it’s food-related and I like the way it sounds, but coincidentally the majority of my posts are actually about sandwiches (or at least things served between bread)! So here’s another one to add to that growing list:
It was like the universe was pointing me in that direction. After seeing it mentioned in 3 different places in 2 days (here, here and one other place I can’t seem to find now), I knew I had to try Rhea’s (it's pronounced like “Ray’s).
You’ve probably driven past it a million times. It’s located inside an inconspicuous corner grocery/liquor store on Valencia & 19th in the Mission. And it’s the place to go for a truly wonderful and unique sandwich that I haven’t found anywhere else.
I’m talking about Rhea's Korean Steak Sandwich ($8.95). It starts off with Acme Bakery’s fabulously light and crunchy organic roll. Then comes sliced rib eye that’s been marinated in garlic, ginger, honey, spices and soy. Then house-pickled onions and jalapenos, grilled onions, lettuce, garlic aioli and your choice of cheese (sounds strange on an Asian-flavored sandwich, but somehow it works). Lastly, your choice/level of chili garlic sauce (medium is plenty hot for me). And that’s it. Sweet. Spicy. Meaty. And just a little bit messy like a good sandwich should be.
Rhea’s menu is pretty intriguing. There’s your typical deli offerings, like roast beef, pastrami and grilled cheese. But you can order 4 different kinds of aioli (garlic, lemon, fresh grated horseradish and red pepper & garlic) and there’s something called a Korean taco (with kim chi chutney) that I’m dying to try. Their deli case also features Cowgirl Creamery cheeses right alongside jars of homemade kim chi (which had kick but was a little too gingery, for my taste).
Other things to note? There’s barely a dining area (like 4 seats) and it takes a good 15-20 minutes for your sandwiches to be ready, so call in your order ahead of time if you’re in a hurry. And the deli closes long before (7pm/8pm) the store does (2am).
On subsequent visits I’ve also tried the Pork Katsu sandwich (fried pork cutlet with spicy coleslaw, house picked onions & jalapenos, spicy aioli and tangy katsu sauce) and the Van Ness (chicken katsu, bacon, melted pepper jack, spicy coleslaw, chili sauce, BBQ sauce and roasted pepper & garlic aioli.) Both were delicious, but the Korean Steak sandwich is still my favorite. It’s the one that I keep dreaming about.