Thursday, February 4, 2016

Banh Mi Place

Another day, another review of a banh mi spot. We visited Banh Mi Place in Prospect Heights in Brooklyn last year when signing up for memberships at the museum, but didn't get around to finishing the draft before the year was up. Jumping to a random spot in the drafts archive popped this up, so no better time than the present to finish it. Maybe I should see what other banh mi posts are languishing in the archives and just make it a week of banh mi.

Banh Mi Place was a really tiny shop, but they did have a few tables so we opted to stay. To start, we got some summer rolls which came with a peanut sauce. Each roll contained four pieces of shrimp with lettuce, vermicelli, and some chives. Overall they were pretty good but seemed to be missing herbs. (The chives didn't add much flavor at all.) We didn't taste any mint or cilantro or any other herbs, and for us, that seemed to be missing. We're big fans of adding herbs into summer rolls and that would have made these better in our opinion.

We ordered two banh mi to split and each chose a different one. A picked the classic sandwich, which came with pate, Vietnamese ham, and roasted ground pork. This was definitely the better of the two sandwiches. We're used to classic banh mi having pate and ham, but this one was different because of the warm, cooked ground pork. The ground pork had great flavor - slightly sweet, slightly salty - and was probably cooked in a sauce that included some hoisin. The pate wasn't that strong, but the combination of pork, pate, and ham worked really well together. Overall, the predominant flavor was that of the ground pork, but we were okay with that since it was very good.

Each sandwich was served on a French baguette with mayo, butter, cucumber, carrots, daikon, and cilantro. Pretty standard. The vegetables were all the usual toppings, but a little light in quantity. We definitely think the sandwiches could have used more vegetables, but especially cilantro as there wasn't much at all. The bread was nice, some good crunch but not too crumbly.

I picked the shredded chicken sandwich, described on the menu as "boiled white meat" chicken with all the same toppings as the other banh mi. That was pretty much what it was - boiled, shredded chicken put on a roll with little, if any, seasoning or sauce. The only sauce we could detect was some sriracha. We had ordered both sandwiches medium spicy which seemed to just mean the addition of some sriracha. The sandwich was okay, a bit boring, and it was not anywhere near as good as the classic sandwich.

Between the two sandwiches, the pork was definitely the better of the two, mostly because the meat was actually seasoned. Overall, our visit to Banh Mi Place was fine. We might return if we found ourselves in the area, but we wouldn't make a special trip there just for banh mi, especially not when we could head to one of the many spots in Chinatown (like Saigon) or a place like JoJu in Elmhurst. If we did go back, we would for sure stick to the classic sandwich.

Banh Mi Place is at 824 Washington Avenue in Prospect Heights, very close to the Brooklyn Museum.

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