Baoguette Finally Brings a Good Banh Mi to FiDi


After seemingly interminable construction, the downtown branch of Baoguette has finally opened on Maiden Lane between Broadway and Nassau. And boy am I glad to have them. I had actually never tried Baoguette before last week, and I have to say I’m impressed. Their sandwiches are big, affordable, and delicious. The Baoguette on Lex btw. 25+26th is already Zach-tested, Zach-approved, and though I will miss the Klatch coffee shop that it replaced, this branch is a very welcome addition to our lunchtime area.

Baoguette lacks the charm of the banh mi cart, but also the excruciating wait. The space is brown and unremarkable aside from the strangely alluring array of coffee and sriracha behind the counter and this totally inexplicable chandelier:

The coffee, by the way, is fantastic. It’s Vietnamese style, blacker than night and cut with condensed milk. Seriously high-octane stuff. I’m hoping they come out with a breakfast banh-mi to go along with it. You hear me Michael Huynh? Get on that.

And speaking of Michael Huynh (the Baoguette Baron), he was there keeping an eye on things when my partner in crime Chris stopped by last week, but absent both times I’ve been. In his stead on my last visit was a guy wearing a heavy coat and fingerless mittens with a messenger bag over one shoulder, who was simultaneously operating the cash register, shouting out order numbers, waving a sandwich in the air, and arguing with someone on the phone about whether he would be able to reimburse him for some expense, the nature of which I was unable to determine. I don’t mind this sort of mania if it seems to come out of trying to get people their correct order as fast as possible, and that seemed to be the case here, even if I suspect he was failing. The messenger bag remains a mystery.

But now the food! As I said, the sandwiches are great. The eponymous Baoguette ($6) contains the banh mi trifecta of pork, pork terrine, and pate along with a slaw of pickled carrot and daikon, sliced cucumber, and a sprig of cilantro. The meat products are all delicious and also free of the gristle you sometimes get on a Chinatown banh mi. There’s just the right amount of pate so that you can taste it but it doesn’t overwhelm. The bread’s crust had a nice bite, and the vegetables are crisp and help offset all the fat. Technically, the sandwich is perfect.

And yet, it’s still not quite like a Chinatown banh mi. Not in any way I can identify or describe, but it’s just not quite the same animal. I think it’s like ordering pulled pork in a fancy restaurant: the setting itself just makes it taste not quite as good, and I really mean not quite, because this is a very good banh mi.

But on the flip side you can get some things you can’t find in Chinatown, like the unpronounceable Veguette ($7). It’s got “Vegetarian Kung Pao Soy Protein” instead of the three kinds of pork, and although I can just taste the incredulity already, it’s really, really good. I don’t think Kung Pao is a very good descriptor of the flavor of the main ingredient here. It’s sort of like a meaty hoisin flavor and the texture is like seitan. In fact, it may be seitan. Whatever it is, it’s good. Take a leap of faith.

I ordered both versions spicy, which appears to entail a spray of sriracha and a smattering of jalapenos. I’d recommend you do the same unless, you know, you’re a wuss.

THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)

  • A top-notch banh mi that uses high quality ingredients throughout.
  • Good options aside from the traditional, including a shockingly good vegetarian sandwich.
  • An average price for a larger-than-average and better-than average sandwich.

THE — (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • Banh mi are street food: They come from carts or dirty holes in the wall, not spiffy chains.
  • Um. Chinatown? Heard of it? It’s ten minutes away.
  • Given that it’s a chain, you think there might be some interesting sides to be had with your sandwich. There aren’t.
  • That chandelier freaks me out.

Baoguette, 9 Maiden Lane (btw. Broadway and Nassau St.)</e



  • good to know that employees at all locations are sketchy. cause the ones on Lex take the cake.

    when i was there over the summer, the cashier was a Vietnamese lady wearing a mesh basketball jersey with no shirt underneath. lots of side boob action, so take that Kevin, there is your side dish.

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    $6? last time I checked the classic Banh mi at the Lexington location was $5.00.

  • I had heard they raised the price for the new Downtown location…

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    There definitely is such a thing as a breakfast banh mi. The best I had was in Hoi An, Vietnam. Yum. I’m surprised no one has offered it here in the city yet.

  • Have ordered from Baoguette FiDi twice since they opened.

    A bit of a hassle in that they have a $20 minimum for delivery during lunch hours.

    Ordering on-line only. Prices are the same at all locations.

    We’ve had the kung pao veggie banh mi and the catfish banh mi. Delivery is quick (less than 20 minutes). Baguette is fresh and large. Fillings are generous and tasty. Spiciness is adjusted according to customer’s preference. Banh mis are excellent. Papaya shrimp salad a bit small for its price tag.

  • Folks, check out the summer rolls at Baoguette. I think they’re probably the best of all Viet restaurants in the city, albeit a dollar or two more expensive.

  • Pissed me off that the Baoguette is $6 but is only $5 at the original location. Plus, the bread is different. I saw them deliver as I was waiting on line but its not Tom Cat Bakery anymore. Last time I went to the Lex location a afew weeks ago, they were still using Tom Cat so I’m not sure if all of them switched. There is definitely something different and not better tasting about the new bread.

  • my wife works nearby and she was upset that they didnt offer the porkchop and fried egg banh mi

  • I am scowling at the screen right now because I went last week and had a completely different experience from you. I mean, word for word almost exact opposite. Boo.

  • @jonhack – FiDi is expensive. It sucks. More on this in future posts.

    @Yvo – Tell me more! Slow? Bad? Both? On my first trip, service was super slow, but that was like the day after opening, so I cut them some slack…

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