ChaPa’s Banh Mi is Decent But Far From Perfect
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).
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?