I noticed a small sign outside Don Day offering bulgogi burgers and stepped inside.
This seems to be the third iteration of lunch at Don Day, as the more standard Korean fare mentioned in a post-burrito-phase thread on the location page no longer appear. The brief laminated lunch menu did indeed list burgers and cheeseburgers but gave no hint that they were other than standard burgers; however, Don Day’s special sandwich (“with a mountain of vegetables”) caught my eye and I went that route instead, choosing bulgogi from among several options.
$7.99 gets you a soda (not soju- I asked), a small cup of potato salad & a sandwich on a toasted roll filled generously with deeply-flavorful, moist bulgogi and topped with a really nice, fresh slaw composed of red & green cabbage, slices of cucumber and jalapeno, and flecked with minute red chile flakes whose heat subtly enhanced the sandwich’s flavor with a restrained note of spiciness over time. The beef itself was topped modestly with a well-melted mozzarella-type cheese, which worked quite well with the tasty beef and slaw. The slaw was well-proportioned to the meat and bread rather than mountainous.
The potato salad was more bland binder than spud but was supported by chunks of cucumber and carrot, as well as a generic shelf-stable pickle spear & a single pickled yellow pepper.
The top of one half of the sandwich (and one half my colleague’s as well) was overtoasted a bit, and some moisture from the slaw had soaked into the sandwich’s paper wrapper, but neither detracted from the sandwich.
The charming young woman was unfamiliar with Don Day’s burrito-slinging past and happy to have customers; lunchtime service is something new they’re trying and it seems the verdict is still out on whether it will last. The pickle spear and potato salad suggested to me that they are going for a less Korean, more Americanized lunch menu than I think they could get away with; this was corroborated when the staff was surprised when I expressed a great fondness for kimchee over the course of our conversation. For now at least, it’s another interesting sandwich to add to the downtown Oakland lunch rotation.
346 14th St, Oakland, CA