Kolette’s Kitchen’s Kosher Banh Mi is Surprisingly Not Terrible
There have been some heated debates around here about where to find the perfect banh mi in Midtown. After we mentioned Yushi was pushing the Vietnamese sandwich on Wednesdays, they quickly sold out in subsequent weeks. Then there was the epic “Banh-Mi-Palooza” organized by Lunch’er Christine and a gang of other awesome ML readers. So, naturally, we were gonna freak the eff out when we heard that Kolette’s Kitchen (a new place on Lex btw. 55+56th) was offering kosher (!?) banh mi complete with porkless (natch) pate. Banh mi without its signature meat ingredient? See how it did on judgment day…
Instead of pork pate and and slices of pork, Kolette’s Kitchen uses veggie pate and turkey terrine to get that look, feel, and, to some degree, the taste of traditional banh mi. You can order it spicy, medium spicy, or mild. I usually prefer things spicy, but for the sake of getting the average, I went for medium spicy.
For a place that looks like a bare bones deli, the baguette was surprisingly fresh with a crisp crust and soft insides – an excellent and appropriately-sized loaf of bread for the foundation of fake banh mi! Even more unexpected, I realized I didn’t miss the sliced pork roll much since the turkey terrine does a decent job masquerading as pig-based protein. Then there was the veggie pate, which has the texture of a thick tomato paste and tasted like ragu. So if you’re OK with a Vietnamese sandwich with an Italian twist, go for it. On top of all this, you have crunchy cilantro, carrots, and thin-sliced cucumber, so it doesn’t fall behind in the fresh category either.
While it won’t make any “Best of” lists, this guy is definitely a worthy stand-in for those too far from the closest Baoguette, and is deeply satisfying if you keep kosher but have always been curious about banh mi. Lastly, for a sandwich that stayed in my bag a bit longer than it should have, it held up pretty well.
Now that the non-pork experiment is over, I clearly need to go back for that other freak sandwich we’ve been reading about in the forums: “Kolette’s special Vietnamese style chicken shawarma”…
Kolette’s Kitchen, 672 Lexington (btw. 55+56th), (212) 593-2222