Boi

March 12, 2013

One of my first posts for this blog was a review of banh mis from Baoguette. Since then I’ve been trying to find another server of quality banh and I’ve come up short every time. Little did I know that Boi Sandwich, the very definition of a hole in the wall, would be just what I was searching for.

HONEY GLAZED BEEF STEAK BANH MI

BoiSteak

On my first visit I ordered a spicy shredded honey glazed beef steak banh mi with mayo, cucumber, cilantro, and daikon radish on a toasted baguette. I ordered it spicy and jalapeños were added. After my first bite I knew this was the bahn mi I’ve been missing out on. It’s compact,spicy, and flavorful. This compactness allows the flavor profile to remain consistent throughout the entire sandwich and it stays together for the duration of the meal, both of which are always a good thing for a sandwich. The sandwich’s spiciness is a wonderful addition to every bite, however, it’s a little too spicy if you eat an entire jalapeño in one bite. Just chug some milk and it’s easily dealt with.) This sandwich’sflavor comes from the well-balanced list of ingredients. There’s a perfect amount of every ingredient. It helps that the steak is perfectly seasoned and cooked. Don’t be alarmed (as I was) if you find a thick piece of fat in your sandwich. This fatty piece is included for added flavor and it’s your choice to eat it or toss it. I’m in the latter camp. The fatty piece isn’t in everysandwich, but you need to be prepared for it when it is.

BoiSaigon

BAHN MI “SAIGON”

On my second visit I opted for the more traditional banh mi “Saigon” featuring jamoon, VN Ham, BBQ pork, and pate on a baquette. I wasn’t as enamored with this sandwich because it’s all garnish. There looks to be only one slice of ham and one slice of pork, which means there aren’t enough slices of either. And if there’s one thing I want on a sandwich, it’s a lot of meat. The rest of the sandwich is all cucumber, cilantro, and radish which overpower every bite and they make you feel like you’re eating a salad. The only positive of this sandwich was the dressing. The menu doesn’t list what kind of mayo/dressing concoction is used, but it is a very tasty mix that goes well with the garnishes.

 

HOISIN & GARLIC SHRIMP

On a Lenten Friday I ordered the hoisin and garlic shrimp sandwich. I chose poorly. Not enough shrimp Way too much dressing. The less said about this sandwich the better.

CONCLUSION

As much as I like Boi, the sandwiches can be a little inconsistent. One day your sandwich will have a hearty amount of steak, and the next day, it will leave you wanting more. The fact that I didn’t like the Saigon or shrimp sandwich is actually a good thing, because it makes choosing my sandwich very easy.

The staff at Boi efficient and courteous, and they create affordable, quality bahn mis. However, a good source has informed me that these are overpriced, Americanized bahn mis. Odds are I’ll never make it over to Vietnam, so I’ll take the overpriced, Americanized version if it’s the only bahn mi I’m going to get.

Boi is a solid sandwich option in Midtown. However, the window to get a sandwich is limited because they’re only open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Boi Sandwich is located at 708 3rd Ave and they can be found online at http://boi-restaurant.com

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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.