Out of Bounds: Boi to Go

It looks like Banh Mi has finally come to Midtown!!!  Well, sort of.  It’s on 2nd Ave., which is technically outside of the Midtown Lunch range but- come on!  It’s Banh Mi.  If you’ve never had Banh Mi, it’s a Vietnamese Sandwich made with some sort of meat (usually pork) and pate, topped with shredded carrots and cilantro, and served on a french bread type of roll.  They also make vegetarian versions that usually come with glass noodles.  Really delicious, and possibly worth the trip to 2nd Ave.  Here’s the early word on this place from tipster Dan:

“Just wanted to let you know about this new Vietnamese shop that just opened on the east side of 2nd Ave between 42nd and 43rd. They boast some pretty great Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwiches, with a bit of a twist. I ended up getting the banh mi ga, which had chicken and arugula rather than pork. They also allowed you to make your own sandwich, bowl, or burrito type meal, but i didn’t pay much attention to that because i went there for one reason.

The Banh Mi was good, and when i brought it back to my office people were asking about it because of how good it smelled. I just don’t know if it was $7.50 good. The staff still seemed to still be fairly new at it and the space is really empty– no tables or anything, despite the fact that there’s room for at least a few. hopefully they’ll get their act together.” 

$7.50!!!  Isn’t that just a bitch.  Leave it to Midtown to take something cheap and amazing (they are usually between $2 and $3 in Chinatown), and turn it into something “chic” and expensive.  I guess I can’t say I’m that surprised.  I’ll probably still check it out… while secretly praying that somebody opens a cheap Banh Mi cart in Midtown proper!  Here’s the menu.

Boi to Go, 800 2nd Ave (btw. 42nd & 43rd).  212-681-1122


  • $7.50 gets you like, two and a half banh mi anywhere in Chinatown/Soho. They can keep their arugula banh mi. That just sounds as criminal as their price anyway.

  • No way! Banh mi 2 blocks away! That is the best news of the day…even if it’ll cost me $7.50. I don’t care: I am SO sick of everything else in my neighborhood.

  • D’oh. What a morning tease. Imagine my delight when i saw a heading with Banh Mi in it. And then even better that its out on the east side. But 8 bucks is just silly.

  • What is up with the avocado in their banh mi?

  • agree with moe. what a tease, but i think i’m still going to try it. does anyone have suggestions for some banh mi outside of chinatown?

  • Nicky’s in the East Village makes great Bahn Mi’s for 3.95 per sandwich. Momofuku Ssam bar also has a fancier Bahn Mi sandwich, but it’ll cost you around 9 bucks.

  • Hanco’s in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn is fantastic banh mi.
    There’s a bunch more way into Sunset Park, Brooklyn, too.

  • “Momofuku Ssam bar also has a fancier Bahn Mi sandwich, but it’ll cost you around 9 bucks.”

    and its 2 bites. Smallest thing ever.

    I live on the same block as samm bar (salty rip off is what I like to call it…), and will get Nicki’s delivery – usually 2 sandwiches, which is like 8 times the value, if you do the math.


    There will be no insulting of Momofuku Ssam Bar on my blog!!!!  David Chang is my hero and comparing his three terrine sandwich to a Nicky’s banh mi, is like comparing a Big Mac to a real hamburger.  Both taste real good, but it’s like eating two different kinds of food!  -zach

  • This place is an offshoot of the Boi restaurant located around the corner – http://www.boi-restaurant.com/Information.html

  • I just came back from Boi to Go, and as both a fan of bahn mi and used to the low quality/high price food that permeates Midtown, I was very nervous about opening up my sandwich (it didn’t help that at Boi they are not Vietnamese). Well, I was right: it was awful. I love Hanco’s and Nicky’s both, but the sandwich that I just ate (half of) in no way can be called the same thing. The size is decent (since it’s $7.50), but my sandwich was mostly daikon, carrots, pate and avacado. No cilantro. No mayo or butter. No hot side/cold side harmony. No jalapenos, and the hot sauce resembled watered-down harissa. Frankly, no soul. Hate to say it, but don’t buy your bahn mi from a cracker.

  • I went for the first and last time last Friday. As my friend’s sandwich was being prepared, the counterguy accidentally knocked a bottle of dressing all over the sandwich. He proceeded to take the dirty cloth that he’d been using to wipe the counter and dab at the sandwich! They argued with us when we asked for a fresh one, and then when our backs were turned, grabbed some sandwich from the back somewhere & stuck it in the microwave. We didn’t notice till we got back and opened a piping hot, soggy sandwich. Unbelievable! Plus, even if it was made properly it wouldn’t have been worth $7.50.

  • I don’t understand all the negative posts about Boi to Go. So it isn’t exactly the same as all the other Bahn Mi’s in Chinatown it is still a great lunch. Just an FYI on my tastes, I am not the biggest fan of Nicky’s Bahn Mi (Love Saigon Bakery).

    The meat and pâté at Boi are great and the vegetables are fresh and crunchy. If the $7.50 price is too high, wait till 5:30-6ish and they will make you a sandwich for 5 bucks. The place is defiantly worth a try and I love going once every week or two.

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