In this great country of ours, one could eat a different sandwich every day of the year—so that's what we'll do. Here's A Sandwich a Day, our daily look at sandwiches around the country. Got a sandwich we should check out? Let us know. —The Mgmt.
I'm a big believer in ordering dishes that match the restaurant you're in. It's a good rule of thumb, hence my hesitation to order a steak sandwich at Rhea's, which looks like any other moderately grimy corner deli where a turkey sandwich is the best way the go.
But we all know the other cardinal rule of eating: if everyone loves a random dish at an even more random hole-in-the-wall joint, you order it because it might be the best thing you'll eat all day.
The Korean Steak Sandwich ($8.50) is one of these unexpectedly delicious dishes. Rib-eye steak is marinated in soy sauce, garlic, honey, and spices. The meat is really flavorful, covered in a salty-sweet tang.
My only complaint is the meat is chopped too fine, resulting in a cheesesteak-like texture and a few chewy ends. Still, all is forgiven thanks to a variety of condiments that just keep layering on the flavor. There's a spicy chili-garlic sauce in addition to garlic aioli, lettuce, cheese, and jalapenos.
My sandwich-eating companion and I agreed that the best part about this was the three-way presentation of the onion. You get pickled red onions, grilled onions, and diced fresh onion. Each adds its own notes (acid, smokey sweetness, and crunch respectively) and makes the sandwich deliciously complex.
Rhea's Deli and Market
800 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110 (map) (415) 282-5255