Mike Seely, aka Bottomfeeder, is the king of the multipurpose restaurant. Tomorrow's column focuses on a diner secretly upping its Greek fare, while Seely's October 27 Bottomfeeder sung what praises he could conjure up about Pacific Highway South's convenience restaurants: "Here, teriyaki places aren't just teriyaki places," he wrote, "nor are burger places just burger places. Rather, teriyaki places are teriyaki-burger-gyro-fish-'n'-chip places, and burger places are burger-teriyaki-gyro-fish-'n'-chip places."
After passing over numerous teriyaki-burger-gyro places, Bottomfeeder settled on Midway Donuts on Pacific Highway South. "Only on closer scrutiny," he wrote, "do you see that its sign includes, in smaller print, gyros and Philly steaks. And once inside, you find that they too serve fish 'n' chips." Well, today I discovered a restaurant that kicks Midway Donut's ass in the culinary synergy department.
Not only does Deli Seoul, on Fourth Ave. S., specialize in deli sandwiches (egg salad, ham and cheese) and Korean food (bibimbap, japchae), it's actually the Dona Queen shop next door, too -- different signs and doors, same business. The lunch counter also sells fish and chips, naturally, as well as chili and meatball spaghetti. Instead of teriyaki, it offers curry chicken, Japanese style. That's ... let's see ... one, two, three, four, five, six, seven completely different specialties.
The owner was trying to sell me on a simple vegetable-tofu stir fry advertised above the cash register when I spotted Kimchi JaeYook-BokKeum ($7.45) on the menu. Never had that, I told the owner. He tried telling me it was too spicy for him. Really, it wasn't -- it was a pretty straightforward stir-fry of kimchi, sliced pork, and gochujang (fermented pepper paste) that only left my lips buzzing for 5-10 minutes afterward. The problem with the dish? The flavor clash of the sugary soy sauce the cooks squirted over the rice and meat. Guess they had to fit teriyaki in somehow.
Deli Seoul/Dona Queen
2445 Fourth Ave. S., 622-5127, open for breakfast and lunch Mon.-Sat.