rhea's deli, 19th & valencia, san francisco
I'm intrigued by this recent trend of recent trend of moderately-expensive gourmet deli counters setting up in otherwise unassuming corner stores (see also: Pal's Takeaway, Mission Burger). In fact, next time I'm in SF I think I'll try to do a comparison and determine who has the best liquor store sandwich. The thing that intrigues me about this is that these places aren't cheap- I don't know about you, but I don't normally spend almost 10 dollars on a to-go sandwich. That's restaurant prices, dammit! So, in some way I see these new shops as indicative of the further gentrification of the Mission, co-opting local foodstuff providers in order to pander to the nouveau-riche who can actually afford to eat these sandwiches. On the other hand, I love sandwiches. With that in mind, I couldn't resist checking out the new deli counter at Rhea's Deli, at 19th and Valencia. In addition to their $7 dollar gourmet sandwiches, Rhea's offers a cheaper grilled cheese sandwich that I'm told is quite good- but I was there to check out the good stuff. The Katsu Sandwich consists of breaded pork loin, coleslaw, roasted red pepper, garlic aoli and katsu sauce- and man, was it good. The varying textures in this sandwich- chewy pork, crunchy coleslaw, creamy sauce, soft bread- made eating it an engaging experience. I'm eager to try out their other sandwiches soon.