We’ve clearly established my love for all things Reuben and fermented foods in general. That’s why as soon as I saw this masterful article from DC Eater and spotted number 3 on the list, I nearly lost my mind. Cafe Kimchi is a place not too far from where I live. I’d walked by dozens of times, puzzled by all the kimchi propaganda that adorned its entrance (and I love kimchi!) But to find out they had a kimchi reuben? This had to be investigated. I had to know more. And, even more important, to find out they were a breakfast joint? In a land where typically most establishments eschew the criticality of breakfast to jump on the lucrative brunch bandwagon and leave those of us wanting food prior to 11 with almost no options, this was welcome news indeed.
The first time I went with my wife and was greeted by the woman at the register (who was basically “I have my shit together” personified, Korean variant,) I stood mystified at the tiny short order flat top and space where they cranked out this ridiculous menu. I knew exactly what I wanted, but a menu this big made me question that, what was physically possible from a short-order grill, and my existence in the universe.
I ordered the kimchi reuben. It came on a sub roll. I didn’t take a picture, because I was hungry, paralyzed by how delicious it looked, and ate it so fast I might have traveled back in time. Cafe kimchi won me over pretty thoroughly then. We have come back, and enjoyed diving into their diverse menu that features kimchi-based fusion delights and standard grill fare if that’s more your thing. All is executed competently, and all is tasty and affordable. I had an incredible kimchi bulgogi omelette that was stuffed to the gills with beef and the cafe's signature kimchi, and my wife had a sausage potato burrito. Both were off the chain. It may not be the prettiest food, but it travels well. The place is often frequented by Marines and contractors alike looking to grab their huge breakfasts.
Anyone who finds themselves on Barracks Row at breakfast or lunch time is doing themselves a disservice if they never stop by and check this place out. It’s much more worth your time than its neighbor, District Doughnut, whose reach always exceeds its grasp and who is perpetually out of all the good donuts (don’t get me started on them, that’s a start for another time).
For now, I will loudly proclaim the battlecry written on the Cafe Kimchi t-shirt: #eatkimchi. #EATKIMCHI!