Paying more than 4 bucks for a banh mi is stupid, it defeats the whole purpose of cheap street food.
No wonder this town is getting full of places selling $12 burgers and the like and idiots lining up to pay.
How could you pick (kinda crappy) Asia Express, and not even mention (really pretty good) Huong's at the 10th and Alder pod?
Good piece Chris, thank you
I surprise people when I say Best Baguette on 82nd and Powell is my favorite restaurant in Portland (considering price, quality, consistency, etc... not saying it's "better" than something upscale like Le Pigeon). But what can I say, their meatball banh mi and sardine banh mi are consistently great for the price.
Chris, did you try Luc Lac? You shouldn't forget about them. The place is mouthwatering!
Would it have killed you to put restaurant addresses on the scorecard?
10 dollars for a bahn mi is a bit silly and kind of misses the point to me anyway
Ooh. Meat Cheese Bread's banh mi is shitty. Everything about it is wrong.
All totally excellent points from @extramsg.
I was so-so on the MCB banh mi -- that bread was tough (/mouth-destroying) and the Nueske's bacon was too smoky for my personal taste.
Don't agree with your An Xuyen eval. The Best Baguette in Beaverton does a totally serviceable banh mi (and it was my first, which probably counts for some nostalgia) -- and it's one of the cheapest, quickest, tastiest things you can get around there. Tan Tan is also great though -- just a bit more of a traditional sit-down Vietnamese place.
Surely Tails & Trotters does not serve beef, perhaps you should check on that and amend the article.
Chris, nice work. This should be a model starting point for future surveys, especially by the higher paid, but for some reason lazier, print media in town.
That said, I think there are some serious weaknesses:
1) You note that it's unfair to compare a $3 sandwich to a $10 sandwich, but with balance of ingredients playing such a large part in your rankings, it's probably unfair to compare a $3 sandwich with a $6 sandwich, too. Note that you can at most banh mi joints ask for "double meat". You'll pay more, maybe bringing a sandwich up to $4.50 or $5, but you'll get the proportions you're looking for more often, I suspect.
2) I have a feeling you weren't always comparing apples to apples on the fillings. You don't really say, but it sounds like you were mostly comparing dac biets, #1 on many banh mi menus, and generally a mixed meat "special". However, places sometimes use different meats for this. They pretty much all have a pate (which may or may not be made in-house and it's a question worth asking), but after that it can be a range of meats. So one may just fit your palate better. But some of the place mentioned don't have this. And some places won't even have a thit nuong or if they do, they'll be very different styles.)
3) Finally, the various banh mi joints have different things they do well, in my experience. eg, you don't recommend An Xuyen, but they actually make a pretty darn good xiu mai (meatball) banh mi and have some of the better bread in town. (For future reports, I'd recommend you ask where they get the bread because while some make it in-house, most get it from somewhere else which can be a leading indicator, as with the pate.) You don't indicate if you ate more than one sandwich per place and you don't indicate which filling you actually chose.
btw, just as an aside, Meat Cheese Bread has had a banh mi on their board for a while now. I haven't tried it, though. If you ever want to do a follow-up for a blog post or whatever, hit me up.
Binh Minh Sandwiches & the Binh Minh Bakery on Broadway are indeed the same owners. I think the Broadway location is MUCH better & slightly cheaper. I believe their daughter also owns a Vietnamese restaurant in NW with higher quality ingredients & price.
The one on Powell is excellent, though.
^^then go to Tan Tan which is right down the street and much better. And cheaper
Thank you for the note, I'mrightyerwrong. I have had a couple of banh mi at the Best Baguette in Beaverton and they suck, though they seem to get plenty of business.
You recommended Binh Minh Sandwiches, which is on SE Powell, but I didn't see a mention of Binh Minh Bakery, on NE Broadway. Are they connected businesses?
Note: Best Baguette is a chain and not all of the Best Baguettes out there are good. The Beaverton by Cedar Crossing shopping center serves their banh mi with stinky gristly meat and the place itself is kinda meh.
Not sure you reviewed the Viet joint by Rose City golf course in NE. Best Banh Mi sands i have had in the area.
dude, this sentence:
"The baby octopus served with delicious fresh hummus and chive oil ($9) was three bland, distracting animals that I wished were pita."
makes no sense any day of the week in any language. Stop trying so much you're fine.
That was Colonel Blake.
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