Vietnamese burritos exist, and they’re in Midtown. That’s what I learned when I stumbled into Boi Sandwich (3rd Ave. btw 44th+45th) looking for a quick lunch the other day. They’re taking Bahn Mi-style ingredients and stuffing them into flour tortillas, and the result is a tasty bit of fusion.
Archive for 'Boi to Go/Boi Sandwiches'
The Boi restaurants were at one point a God-send for those of us in Midtown East: pretty decent Vietnamese, only slightly overpriced for what it was. Plus, Boi To Go was one of the first places to offer the elusive banh mi in Midtown; granted it wasn’t Chinatown-cheap style banh mi, but we take what we can get here, don’t we? For a while they’ve been going through some changes, beginning with Boi To Go shuttering back in August which wasn’t a huge shock considering that Boi Sandwich is practically identical and one avenue over. But when we heard yesterday that they had closed Boi Restaurant, their slightly upscale Vietnamese flagship (on 44th btw. 2+3rd), that was kind of surprising. Even more surprising? The new name. Ladies and gentleman, meet “Foodie”.
Last week Lunch’er Christene floated the idea of a banh mi tasting in the connections section of the forums. Yesterday 7 Midtown Lunchers gathered in Grand Central to turn her dream into a reality. Here is Christene’s report…
With open minds and empty stomach, 7 Midtown lunchers gathered to rate 7 different banh mi-style sandwiches in a head-to-head competition. To ensure nuance and balance in the competition, representative banh mi’s were to include Chinatown (Paris Sandwich, Banh Mi Saigon), East Village (Nicky’s), Gramercy (Baoguette) and, of course, Midtown (Ma Peche, Yushi, and Boi To Go). We rated the sandwiches with 5 points assigned to each of 6 categories: bread, pork, vegetables, overall taste, authenticity and value. To ensure purveyors and/or price-point did not prejudice the taste ratings, we labeled sandwiches A-G and provided price on the flip side of post-its, so that tasters could self-reveal price after eating the sample and thus rate value independently.
The results are after the jump…
More on Boi Noodles: Got a bit more info on Boi Noodles, the pho place set to open on 40th btw. 7+8th. They're shooting for an April opening, and the menu will have pho, bun, sandwiches, and more. In related news Boi Sandwich (on 3rd btw. 44+45th) has added 3 new banh mi to their menu including a smoked duck banh mi (!?) and a traditional "Saigon" banh mi.
Posted at 8:30 am, January 15th, 2010 | 0 Comments
It only took seven weeks, but the Midtown Lunch Sandwich Challenge finally has a banh mi entry courtesy of Boi Sandwich, the take out place on 3rd Ave. btw. 44+45th owned by upscale Vietnamese restaurant Boi. Midtown Lunch’er “Clues” was on this one early, and filed this report in the comments:
I just had their special “Curried Chicken Meatball” sandwich. It was awesome in two respects: size and taste. First, this thing is big. It’s probably almost 2x the size of a Sophie’s sandwich. The “baguette” is more like a 7″ x 5″ slice of a large loaf. The bread is, however, one of the strongest elements of the sandwich – crisp on the outside and very moist and airy on the inside. The French influence in Vietnam definitely pays off here. The combination of flavors is very good – curried chicken meatballs, cilantro, some sweet pickled veggies… all comes together well. None of the flavors are overwelming (the curry is very mild). I highly recommend it. The $7.50 price is high but you do get a lot of food and they are giving away promotion cards where you get your tenth meal for free – so ten sandwiches works out to $6.75 each plus tax.
Well, after reading that endorsement, how could I wait any longer to try this thing for myself?
Boi Sandwich (on 3rd Ave. btw. 44+45th) has just sent word that they will be introducing a “Chicken Meatball Sandwich” today as their entry in the Midtown Lunch Sandwich Challenge. I’m guessing this will be a Vietnamese version of a meatball sandwich, and while their banh mi aren’t considered the best in the city- they are better than most of the sandwiches in Midtown. Early adopters, let us know what you think.
The long awaited Vietnamese take out place Boi Sandwich has finally opened on 3rd Ave btw 44+45th. Unlike its sister restaurant Boi to Go, which has some seating, the new sandwich place is take out only (and cash only for the time being.) I know a lot of you refuse to pay $7.50 for a banh mi, but it’s all we’ve got (and now one ave closer to Midtown proper!)
In addition to the banh mi, which appear to be the same as Boi to Go, they are also offering noodle bowls, rice bowls, Asian burritos (hello!), and salads ($7 to $8). It may take awhile, but I think I may
have to eat through the entire menu.
Oh what a difference an avenue makes! When Boi to Go, the fast food Vietnamese offshoot of the restaurant Boi, opened in May of last year, it caused me to walk one avenue farther than I think any Midtown Lunch’er should have to walk (it’s on 2nd Ave btw. 42+43rd.) But for the only banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich) in Midtown, a man will do crazy things. That is also why I didn’t complain too much about the price tag ($7.50). Compared to Chinatown or Sunset Park, what Boi to Go serves is a not entirely authentic (what’s with the avocado?), overpriced sandwich. However, you put it next to most Midtown deli sandwiches, it is competitively priced- and freakin’ delicious. And now, it’s going to be one avenue closer- in proper Midtown Lunch’ing range.
In about month, Boi to Go will open a second offshoot on 3rd Ave. btw. 44+45th called “Boi Sandwich”. I haven’t heard exactly what the menu will be, or if it will effect what is going on at the original Boi to Go, but if they serve the same sandwiches I’ll be pretty damn excited. (Even though I could probably use the extra walking…)
Damn you “Midtown version” of banh mi! Why have you foresaken us??? In the 10 months I’ve been doing this blog, no food item has been requested more than the Banh Mi. Usually it’s dreaming of working in a place where banh mi is plentiful, but more often than not, it’s people asking for banh mi to come to Midtown. Well, Boi to Go has answered our calls… but maybe we should have been more specific. We wanted super cheap, Chinatown style Banh Mi- not overpriced, fancy pants “Midtown Style” banh mi!
If you don’t know what banh mi is, but have still managed to get this far (confusion and all), let me try to break it down for you. Banh mi is a Vietnamese sandwich, served on a crusty french bread style baguette. In its most basic form, it comes with some sort of meat (pork, vietnamese “salami”, chicken and/or pate), covered in any combination of shredded carrots, daikon radish, cucumber, cilantro and some sort of sauce (sweet, spicy or both.) There are tons of variations- with many different ingredients, including vegetarian versions for people who don’t want meat.
But that description leaves out one key quality of the increasingly popular banh mi. In the most popular banh mi shops, these large vietnamese style “hoagies” sell for an unbelievably cheap $3-4. Understanding this part of the banh mi experience is key to understanding why Boi to Go was not welcomed with opened arms by the clammoring Midtown lunching public.
It may also be proof that the huge popularity of banh mi has just as much to do with price, as taste. If Saigon charged $8 for their sandwiches, I don’t think as many people would trek to Chinatown, and if Boi to Go cut their price in half, than this place might be your new favorite Midtown Lunch. Is it the banh mi we wanted? Maybe not. But it is a good freakin sandwich? You bet.
More on this, pictures and a +/- after the jump… Read more »