Baoguette/Pho Sure

April 30, 2010

Banh mi are the latest sandwich fad to sweep Manhattan, tasty little Vietnamese sandwiches made with exotic ingredients and multiple sauces. I grew up on tuna fish from a can, Boar’s head, and PB&Js, so the ingredients (pork terrine, spicy curry beef, cat fish, etc.), are extremely exotic to me.

Although my first experience at Pho Sure didn’t go so well (I ordered incorrectly and didn’t like my sandwich), a friend insisted I try again. He came with me and helped me make my order. Because of him, I am now hooked on the Spicy Baoguette (aka the Classic). Consisting of porkterrine, pate, pulled pork, and fresh herbs, with cilantro and jalapenos thrown in to make the sandwich spicy.

When combined with the bread, a mixture of wheat and rice flour, the overall taste is better than the average white bread hero. This bread is hard and crusty on the outside, but allows the full flavor of the interior ingredients to be tasted with each bite. This combination makes for the kind of sandwich that will fill you up but, at the same time, leave you wanting another one as soon as possible.

The sandwiches come in three spices; Mild, Medium, and Spicy. If you’re like me, the spicy classic is the way to go. Loaded with jalapenos and cilantro, you’ll be gulping down glass after glass of water during and after eating this sandwich. This is actually a good thing. But be careful. These are full slices of jalapeno that we’re talking about, and you can eat an entire slice in one bite and not know it. Be prepared for the volcanic heat that will be emanating from your mouth.

One of the few drawbacks is the quality of the sandwich depends on the sandwich maker. For example, one would think all “spicy” sandwiches came with the same number of jalapenos but I have found this not to be the case. Regardless of the sandwich maker, this is a well-constructed sandwich, one that won’t have misc. ingredients all over your plate after each bite.

Another drawback is the side dishes. They’re not worth the cost (they’re about the same price as a sandwich) and they don’t taste anywhere near as good. Two weeks ago I accidentally ordered the vegetarian roll and it tasted like absolute cardboard. Dipping it in the provided sauce did not enhance the flavor whatsoever. The Fried Shrimp Summer roll, although tasty, isn’t worth the $6 because, after a quick review and dissection, you’re only getting 2 pieces of shrimp (1/2 a piece per role) and these are usually eaten in the first bite. Your second bite is all vermicelli and bean sprouts.

My biggest pet peeve is the fact that they’ve gotten my order wrong on numerous occasions. I blame the indifference of the people working behind the register. They act like they want to be somewhere else and your presence is a nuisance to them. However, even when the sandwich maker isn’t busy, he or she clearly hears your order yet makes the wrong sandwich anyway. It leads to a major case of disappointment when you get back to your office and take your first bite.

The wait is never an issue. If you have to wait more than 5 minutes it just means you’re there during peak lunch hour. The back restaurant rarely fills up which allows the sandwich maker and cashier to focus on walk-ins.

Although I will admit to not trying everything on the menu, eg, the cat fish, I’ve found that this is the kind of sandwich shop that once you find the sandwich that’s made for you, you will stick with that sandwich until you get tired of it. After 8 months, I’m not tired of the spicy classic baoguette.

With high quality sandwiches at affordably prices ($6 + tax for the majority of sandwiches [or, to put it in perspective, a dollar more than Subway]) and with multiple locations across Manhattan it’s easy to understand why these sandwiches have become the next big thing. Once you have one, you’ll be addicted to it (most people liken it to crack) and you’ll be going once a week. Trust me.

Baoguette/Pho Sure is located at 120 Christopher St.

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2 Responses to “Baoguette/Pho Sure”

  1. Seth Says:

    Love the reviews, keep ’em coming! I’m about ready to go out and buy myself one of these right now

  2. Seth Rogers Says:

    I finally did it, went over and got the Baoguette Classic, it was everything you promised. The ingredients were delicious and evenly spread out over the entire sandwich so you don’t end up with it all coming out in the first few bites. Be careful, I ordered the medium and even THAT was really spicy. I”m the type of person who gets distracted with the heat and even the sweat the appears on my forehead when I have spicy food, so I miss out on all the flavors. I’m definitely going back, but will probably get the mild so I can enjoy all of the great flavors the sandwich has to offer.

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