Back when The Queens Kickshaw opened a couple of years ago it made a name for itself with such fancy—and frankly outlandish—grilled cheese sandwiches as gouda with black bean hummus, guava jam, and pickled jalapeños. Last week I popped in to the Astoria eatery to try one of its latest creations, a kimchi grilled cheese ($10). It’s one of the more interesting sandwiches I’ve had in a while. The combination of cheese and kimchi has reawakened my curiosity about budae jjigae, the infamous “Korean army base stew” that combines kimchi, hot dogs, and American cheese, among other things.A healthy serving of housemade kimchi, extra sharp cheddar, and a slather of charred scallion cream cheese are sandwiched between two pieces of sweet dark bread. Two pieces that barely contain their contents. Gooey cheese and kimchi spill out of the sides forming a new flavor sensation: kimcheese, which is greater, and tastier, than the sum of its parts. Korean-American Chef Youngsun Lee’s creation is a flavor bomb of a grilled cheese with the sharp cheddar and sour spicy kimchi playing nicely against the sweet toasty bread. I paused between bites of this thoroughly Queens sandwich to nibble at the bright and crunchy napa slaw shot through with caraway seeds and thought to myself that budae jjiage will have to wait for another day.
The Queens Kickshaw, 40-17 Broadway,Astoria, 718-777-0913