ChaPa’s Banh Mi is Decent But Far From Perfect

ChaPas Banh Mi

Is there such thing as the perfect sandwich? Perfection is subjective, but a proper bánh mì comes close to that lofty moniker in my opinion. In the pursuit of a good bánh mì in Midtown, we’ve tried fancy versions, we’ve tried bad versions, we’ve tried vegetarian versions, we’ve tried chain restaurant versions, and now we’ve finally tried the version at the newly opened ChaPa’s Noodle and Grill (on 52nd btw. 8+9th).

chapa's banh mi

It almost didn’t happen. At first I balked at the price of $6.75 ($7.35 after tax), but my hesitation was assuaged when I received my sandwich. It’s freakin’ big and more than hefty enough to fill the average lunch’er.

However, there’s a lot of room for improvement. I wished the pickled carrots and daikon radish were more assertive and zesty, hoped that the crumbled pork would have been juicier, missed the funk of cilantro (it failed to make a noticeable appearance), and hankered for some heat (I forgot to ask for it to be spicy, so this is my bad). The baguette was uncomfortably doughy and possessed only a faint crust, falling well short of the crackly crunch that is key to a successful bánh mì. But to be fair, these guys are just starting out and still working out the kinks, and the sandwich was amply filling for the price. You can be sure that I’ll return again to see if they’ve improved, and besides, who needs perfection when this bánh mì is right on our doorstep?

ChaPa’s is Open for Lunch and Will be Serving Banh Mi


  • I look forward to trying this…I actually like Bai Cha though I see it didn’t get good reviews here. I have had fancier, better Banh Mi, but it’s kind of like comparing burgers at a fast food chain to burgers at a fancier sit down spot. You don’t go to McDonald’s when you want a burger, you go when you want a Quarter Pounder with Cheese (or when there are no other options). My office moved from Chelsea to Midtown. I used to love Co Ba on 9th and 17th. But since Bai Cha is close I have enjoyed it as an option. But ok, ChaPa is close enough that it might best them since it’s a new option. FYI, Bai Cha has expanded it’s menu and remodeled a bit since your last review. I only order the classic sandwich, but I’d love to know if anyone has tried the Pho…

  • OK. ChaPa’s Banh Mi is better.

    I’d still have Bai Cha over Subway. It’s all relative.

    Thanks for the tips! I look forward to trying the Pho.

  • Even though my head hurts from the yapping above

    Chris, we must know… does it have mayo?

  • Hmm, Chris what time did you go? I was there today and Friday, I thought the Banh Mi was perfect. Sounds like you got a little bit screwed, mine had both mayo and cilantro. The bread was amazing too, perfect crunch and soft on the inside. Only complaint I have is they don’t put enough meat in it. For 6.50 I can’t really complain though. Also always ask for a side of the spicy dipping sauces to add heat to your sandwich.

  • Baoguette and Chinatown banh mi are enough choices for me at the moment.

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