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The Sandwich: The Bulgogi Hoagie
Where: CHIKO, 2029 P St. NW
Bread: White sandwich roll
Stuffings: Bulgogi marinated beef, kim cheese whiz
Thickness: 2.5 inches
Pros: The CHIKO team has finally figured out a way to turn up the flavor of a cheesesteak, which can get quite boring after a few bites. A salty-sour combination of melted cheese and fermented cabbage cuts through the rich beef and makes your mouth pucker while you chew. Fortunately, the beef is tender enough that you won’t have to exhaust your masticating muscles.
Cons: Though it does come toasted, the sandwich roll is too soft for these ingredients. Within a few bites, the wet beef softens the hinge of the roll and the whole thing starts to disintegrate. To make eating easier, these ingredients demand thicker bread or a roll that gets another trip through the toaster.
Sloppiness level (1 to 5): 5. The sandwich only contains two ingredients, but they’re wet ones, and a mushy roll won’t contain their mess very well. Prepare to lick melted cheese sauce off your fingers as soon as you dig in and keep a large stack of napkins handy.
Overall score (1 to 5): 4. D.C. is awash in fancy cheesesteaks right now, so the addition of kimchi makes CHIKO’s interpretation stand out in a sea of offerings. The mess detracts from its quality, but maybe that’s part of its charm. Enjoy it late after a night of drinking or roll in early and use it as a hangover cure.