kama o deli in soma...they had me at pork belly, but the price?
Whether it be burgers or breakfast, I seem to be on some unconscious sandwich journey. Outside of the breakfast one, I'm not really looking for them, I just end up someplace that only seems to be serving them. This was the case with Kama O Deli in my hood in SOMA. What initially drew me in was a sign out front saying blah, blah, blah--pork belly--blah, blah, blah. I didn't really read it all as I hastily made my way inside.
It's a small spot with an order counter and some seats. The menu is Asian influenced and they do serve some bento boxes noodle bowls but I wasn't really drawn to those. They had a selection of something they were calling the Kama-rito. Basically Japanese dishes wrapped up in tortillas like a burrito. Not really a new thing to replace the traditional Mexican fillings, but it is always interesting to see what folks will come up with next. Here there are things like eel, sushi rice, beef sukiyaki, tofu, tuna and the aforementioned pork belly. Since that was what brought me in, it's what I got.
Initially I almost balked at getting it as it will run you $8.95 for what is technically a wrapped up sandwich. But like so many other times I eat out, I was there, it was raining, I may as well. It's roasted pork belly, sushi rice (means it's sticky), lettuce, tomato, carrot, pickled radish, red cabbage, house BBQ sauce and dressing in a toasted tortilla. I watched them make it and they don't skimp on the fillings. They roll and pack as many as they can inside. Plus, though it's not mentioned on the menu, you also get a side of edamame to get your soy bean fill. They packed it in a box and when they handed it to me, it felt really heavy. I'll say about 1.5 to 2lbs or so. Okay, maybe the price is reasonable, but how'd it taste.
It is definitely a mouthful when you bite into it. You get the crunch of the veggies, the sweetness of the bbq sauce and some smokey flavor from the relatively thick, tender slices of pork belly. It's kind of like a banh mi sandwich, no actually, it is a banh mi, just in a tortilla. For the most part, I did like it. Didn't love it, but liked it enough I would recommend it to folks, even at that price point. It was kind of a lot of food when eat the edamame too, and you could probably get two lunches out of this depending on how big an eater you are. I will say the tortilla did start to come apart so it gets messy with all the wet ingredients inside. Otherwise, it was tasty and filling, but could lead to an after lunch food coma, which I'm guessing is fine as many of the tech businesses in the area probably have nappy time spots in them.
Since they offered variations of their kama-ritos in sandwich form also, I felt it was my duty to get back here again and try one of those. And here it is.
The beef sukiyaki sandwich with beef and sweet onion, lettuce, tomato, cheese, sesame seed paste kind of thing, red onion, mayo and mustard--plus that side of edamame. This was a big heavy thing also. I got this to go and when I got home, broke out the scale and weighed it, because why not. It came in at just under 2lbs and the cost on this was $8.99. Surprisingly enough, I liked this one better than the pork belly, go figure.
I'll equate this to being pretty much like a cheese steak sandwich except the beef was closer to minced and slightly sweet and juicy. And while I'm pretty sure there was some cheese on here, I couldn't really taste it, but didn't matter. This beast is another big mouthful and holds up better than the tortilla in it's thick toasted French roll. It's also one lite eaters could probably get two lunches out from. Not me, of course, since I scarfed this all down including the edamame.
Two visits and two surprises at Kama O Deli. One half like and one really like. Together those add up to I'll be hitting this place up again while trying not to think too much about the $9 price, though I guess I could delude myself that at least it isn't $10. Still, for the money, you do get quite a heft amount of sandwich or rito which is always a plus when places don't skimp on the fillings. While I couldn't see getting this everyday, for that change of pace Friday lunch they'd be worth a visit. And the after lunch food coma won't really matter BECAUSE IT'S FRIDAY! and most of your co-workers probably "worked from home" anyway, SO WHO CARES! Eat, sleep, repeat.