We have visited Kimchi quite a few times over the 5 years. Whether it was the change in the economy or ownership of the restaurant I couldn’t tell you but a couple of years ago the quality seemed to slip a notch. We noticed that they started filling our soda glasses only 3/4 of the way full, very odd. They also chose to remain closed on Tuesdays about that same time.
In a little strip of shops where Cherry Lane cuts across South Atherton Street, Kimchi is one place we can count on not being crowded during Penn State football games.
Currently, the menu does still have vegetarian options like Tofu or Vegetable Dolsot served in baked hot sizzling bowls and a side of Seaweed Soup. Before a couple of years ago, the “ketchup” bottle of Korean Red Pepper Paste used to be on every table. Now when you order Dolsot you even have to ask for it despite the fact they mention on the menu that the paste is usually added to the Dolsot.
I would say the Vegetable Tofu and Vegetable Denjang have been consistent over the years. Served with white rice, they are quite good.
All of the mentioned vegetarian dishes come with roughly 5 shared side dishes (Banchan) of which, curiously, you rarely if ever are served any kimchi. The quick pickled cucumbers, potato salad (eggs in it?), and pickled radish are all very nice. Important to note, even though you are clearly ordering vegetarian meals, they will still bring you Fish Cake as one of the sides unless you ask them to substitute it for another vegetarian choice. For that matter, make sure you request all vegetarian Banchan since they change and might have a squid option sometime.
The Korean pop music is fine but the uncomfortable fast food booths and dining area scattered with some half decent decor is so-so. Only kids that have a palette for different foods are going to enjoy eating at Kimchi.
They used to be more like a 3 star before things slipped a little, after all they do have the vegetarian dishes listed separately in the menu. I think the thing that makes me wonder the most is, what they consider a vegetarian to be if I order from the vegetarian menu and they consistently bring me fish cake as a side. Not knowing exactly what to expect (is there fish paste in anything I am eating?!) and the typically slow service even to wave them down to get your check lands Kimchi and average vegetarian dining experience in my opinion.