Kolette’s Kitchen’s Kosher Banh Mi is Surprisingly Not Terrible

Kolette's Kitchen

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…

Kolette's Kitchen classic banh mi

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


  • i went i tried, i thought it was ok, nice to try but not again

  • always look for the kosher label when you crave less taste and higher cost

    • User has not uploaded an avatar

      @wayne: Yes, Kosher food usually costs more (and may be not as tasty although that’s a matter of opinion). The clear majority of people eating there don’t care or know why it costs more (and also don’t care) or else they wouldn’t eat there. They’re probably “keeping kosher” and hey, good for them.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    Amy: In your writeup, you said that “the baguette was surprisingly fresh with a crisp crust and soft insides”. The article posted in the forums says that the owner of Kolettes ran the supplier of the bread to the Michael Bao-Huynh restaurant empire….namely Baoguette, which won the “Banh-Mi-Palooza”. I’ve never had Baoguette, but my bet is that the bread is very similar if not the same.

    I liked the chicken shawarma sandwich better than the veggie/turkey sandwich.

    I’m pretty sure that they don’t refer to any of their sandwiches as “Banh Mi”, but “Vietnamese style”, so they’re not trying to be something they aren’t.

    Finally, everytime I stopped in, there were different people assembling the sandwiches. My orders were a bit inconsistent as a result, so hopefully they’ll get some permanent staff.

  • daikon isn’t kosher?

  • I ended up here the other day but didnt spot the Banh Mi until after I ordered (since its on the back of the menu). Ended up with a Meze Platter but they only gave me 3 of the 4 things I ordered. It tasted fine but I was underwhelmed by the service (obviously). Maybe I’ll give them another try for the sandwiches

    • User has not uploaded an avatar

      I’ve also heard from someone else that service was spotty. However, when I went there last week the guy at the counter was really nice and attentive – even prepared me fresh samples of the banh mi. Maybe it depends on how busy it is (only 1 person waiting when I walked in – and then 3 or 4 people came in a minute after).

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