100 Favorite Dishes 2013: No. 63, Bánh Mì at Les Givral's Sandwich & Cafe
To make a great bánh mì, a restaurant must have great bread, and Les Givral's, once a bakery in Paris and Saigon, certainly does. It has a thin, crispy crust and a soft inside that soaks up the juice from the meat, cucumber and sauces.
Photo by Kaitlin Steinberg The chargrilled pork and paté variety is sweet and smoky.
The veggies are also an important component, though they differ slightly from place to place. Some restaurants pickle carrots to sprinkle on top, while others add onions or shredded daikon. Les Givral's keeps it simple: carrots, cucumber, half a fresh jalapeño and a whole heckuva lot of cilantro.
Les Givral's offers about a dozen different protein options on the bánh mì, which is why this favorite dish is described simply as bánh mì. I couldn't pick just one favorite. Arguably the best options come from the pig, though, as the cooks at Les Givral's know their way around some pork.
The thit nuong paté is loaded with chargrilled pork -- a Vietnamese specialty -- and a bit of paté, which adds a creamy element to the spicy, crunchy sandwich. The thit (roast pork) is also delicious, but more nuanced and more photogenic. The bright pink edges of the roasted pork -- served cold, as opposed to the warm chargrilled pork -- make for a beautiful contrast against the green and orange vegetables.
So, sorry, folks. I cannot pick just one. And you don't have to, either. At $2.50 each, these sandwiches are so cheap, you can afford to eat two. Or five. I won't judge.
The list so far:
No. 100: Bangkok Fries at Boheme
No. 99: Almond Croissant at Phoenicia
No. 98: Bulgogi Tacos with Kimchi at Chi'Lantro
No. 97: Soft Pretzel from Mongoose Versus Cobra
No. 96: Chicken and Waffles at Adair Kitchen
No. 95: Sweet Potato Gnocchi at Brooklyn Athletic Club
No. 94: Foie Gras Mac & Cheese at BRC Gastropub
No. 93: Vuelve a la Vida Soup at Connie's Seafood
No. 92: Homeroom at Bernie's Burger Bus
No. 91: Lobster Cake Benedict at Sorrel Urban Bistro
No. 90: Uncle Daryl's Cake at The Chocolate Bar
No. 89: Porchetta e Fagioli at Giacomo's Cibo e Vino
No. 88: Sesame Soft Balls at Golden Dim Sum
No. 87: Crab Daddy Bao at Fat Bao
No. 86: Ham, Egg & Cheese Crepe at Melange Creperie
No. 85: Pork Tamales at Irma's
No. 84: Greek Burger at Hubcap Grill
No. 83: Lobster Roll at Maine-ly Sandwiches
No. 82: Grilled Ahi Tuna at St. John's Fire
No. 81: Catfish and Grits at The Breakfast Klub
No. 80: The Marie Laveau Sandwich at Sandy Witch
No. 79: Carnissima Pizza at Coppa Osteria
No. 78: Mortadella Sandwich at 13 Celsius
No. 77: Lamb Lollipops at Américas
No. 76: The Heights Burger at Gratifi
No. 75: 'Date With a Pig' at Sparrow Bar + Cookshop
No. 74: Taco al Pastor at Taco Keto
No. 73: Chili Cheese Mac from Jus' Mac
No. 72: Chicken Pot Pie at Kenny & Ziggy's
No. 71: Lazy Lane Frites at Brasserie 19
No 70: Banana Split at Cloud 10 Creamery
No. 69: Dozen Raw Oysters at Pappas Seafood
No. 68: Green "Hurry Curry" at Nit Noi
No. 67: Bad Ass Hambur-Torta at Pistolero's
No. 66: Enchiladas de Mole at La Guadalupana
No. 65: Shorty Mac at H-Town StrEATS
No. 64: Squirrel Master Burger at Cottonwood