I’ve been looking forward to eating at Banh, but last night’s meal was a disappointment. I’d like to think it was an off night, or late in the evening, but that doesn’t change the experience.
We ordered the weekend special soft shell crab banh mi and the cha gio / crispy spring rolls (my absolute favorite Vietnamese dish). Thought about the banh guon too (mushrooms and pork rice rolls that they call dumplings) but my friend is pescatarian at the moment so I could hardly eat two apps plus a banh mi on my own, ha.
They came back a while later to say they were sold out of the crab, so we switched orders to the pork belly banh mi for me and the dry style vegetarian pho for my friend.
The vegetarian pho was “fine” as described. I was glad there was a vegetarian option (there are two - there’s also a vegan banh mi). It’s served deconstructed on a plate - noodles in the center, assorted grilled or pickled vegetables placed individually around, and a bowl of mushroom broth for dipping on the side.
The cha gio were disappointing in both flavor and texture. Refried, of course, but the oil pooled on the bottom of the plate was unappetizing. And the nuoc cham was just bad - all I could taste was salty.
My banh mi had good and bad aspects. The pork was tasty and there was plenty of it. But the bread was over-toasted (burnt on the edges) and dense for what it’s supposed to be. The assembly was just lacking. There was a patch of mayo, a patch of Maggi sauce, a few sticks of daikon and carrot, and two (yes, two) small stems of cilantro with a few leaves on each.
I’d like to think this was a Sunday-night tired-kitchen off meal (but I don’t know if that explains the cha gio and nuoc cham), so maybe I’ll try it one more time with some more interesting / less common dishes. Though I’m more inclined give Miss Saigon a try, just a block down.