FiDi’s Yushi Tries Its Hand At The Banh Mi, Mostly Fails

Sometimes curiousity gets the best of me and I end up eating something that I know full well is probably going to be terrible. You see, I love a good banh mi, even if I have to shell out more than $5 for it. A good sandwich is a good sandwich and sometimes you have to pay more than rock bottom Chinatown prices, especially in the Financial District. The thing is, though, that we have several sources of Vietnamese sandwiches in the area that are actually good so when a chain steps up and sells something called a banh mi, it had better be solid. Yushi on Pearl St. (btw. Maiden & Pine) tried its best, but really they should just stick with their Yu Bowls and overpriced dumplings and leave the sandwich game to someone else. After the jump I will tell you what happens when you try to make a Vietnamese sandwich with sourdough bread.

There are four sandwich fillings to choose from at Yushi, with fillings mostly repurposed from the Yu Bowl ingredients: Saigon beef, BBQ pork, firecracker chicken and baked miso tofu. They’re all $8.50, which is enough to scare most people away, but I soldiered on, ordering the firecracker chicken variety which was made to order and handed to me within a minute. Pro tip: Don’t take the fake sandwiches sitting on the top shelf. They’re paper.

This was a nicely-sized sandwich, so no complaints in that department. It was maybe a touch smaller than a regular banh mi, but not by much. And it was stuffed full of pulled white meat chicken in whatever firecracker seasoning is, a bunch of pickled carrots and cucumber strips, spicy mayo and sweet chili sauce which I didn’t detect any of.

The chicken was fine if you like white meat chicken, but it was pretty bland and I resorted to hitting the sauce bar up by the cash registers for some hot chili sauce. There was nothing wrong with the pickled vegetables, although I wish they would have not cut the cucumbers into long strips as they made for messy eating. These were the good parts about the sandwich.

The awful part was the bread. It’s not hard to source a baguette, but Yushi chose to go with a super chewy sourdough roll that also wasn’t really toasted. Every time I bit into it, the filling started squishing out the top and I was thankful I hadn’t gotten the much messier BBQ pork. As if that wasn’t enough, the spicy mayo and other moisture turned the inside of the roll into disgusting mush and I only finished the sandwich because I was super hungry.

I saw at least two other people ordering this sandwich while I was there, but I’m going to advise you to walk the extra few blocks in either direction to the Banh Mi Cart at Hanover Sq. & Pearl, or Nicky’s Vietnamese Sandwiches at Nassau & Ann, or Baoguette on Nassau (btw. John & Fulton) if you need your fix.

Yushi, 100 Maiden Lane (entrance on Pearl), (212) 742-2150; World Financial Center food court, 250 Vesey St., (212) 945-3096


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