Banh Mi Boys
Banh Mi Boys have returned from a hiatus at the corner of Queen and Spadina. It seems the Boys have retreated during their winter break for a complete reno having been closed for several months. Ditching the cheap and cheerful, they've arrived with a new sleek look and expanded menu. But for all that cackle and spackle, do the sandwiches offer more than the joints up Spadina?
In the vein of Salad King, Banh Mi Boys have added a glossy interior that masks any trace of their former self. Ample tables and counter seating are a welcomed addition - no longer just a grab-and-go place.
The menu is extensive for Banh Mi sandwiches ranging from duck confit ($7.49) and squid (5.99) to a more apt beef cheek (5.99) and pork belly (5.99). Modern additions that elevate this type of Vietnamese street food. A little late to the party, tacos (3.99), were added by customers requests. Steamed Bao fried chicken (3.49) definitely leapt off their flat screen menu - what did not was the Kimchi Fries that looked nothing more like luke warm kimchi smothering soggy fries.
We ordered: Pork Belly and Beef Cheek Banh Mi with a side of Jicama Papaya Salad (2.99) and the Steam Bao Fried Chicken. Within minutes, the place was slammed with a line up nearing the door - even still, our order was up in under fifteen.
The Banh Mi is good, not stellar, but maybe I've been spoiled by Matty Matheson's version. Way too many carrots and not nearly enough cilantro or scallions, the sandwich became more of a slaw towards last bite. Still, the price is on point and the ingredients are top notch - especially the baguette. The five spice pork belly was the favourite of the two.
Fried Chicken Steam Bao is a concept done right! The meat, moist and tender, is covered by a spiced panko crust with a dollop of spicy mayo. Oddly, it reminded me of a country fried steak on a biscuit. The Papaya Salad brightened the rest of the meal and was a good note to end on.
Last Fall, Bahn Mi Boys were the new kids on the block but much has changed in their absence. Just a stones throw, Come And Get It has become the go-to-go sandwich place of late catering to the biz lunch rush; albeit different menus but similar concepts, so let the boys duke it out and may the best sandwich win.
Photos by Peter Henderson