Banh Haus is a Vietnamese takeout counter that gives you the freedom to custom-tailor your dream vermicelli bowl or hulking sandwich on a classic baguette or banh tieu, a type of Vietnamese doughnut.
It's run by the family behind Avenue Road's alterations shop Dinh Tailor and Dinh Tailor Coffee which used to exist next door to the original tailor shop location on Eglinton Avenue East.
Ryan Dinh and his older brother Steven created the menu that consists of foods from their childhood with several of the items brought to life using their mom's own recipes.
Ryan, who grew up watching shows like Fun Food Frenzy and Chef at Home with Michael Smith, also uses his five years of experience working under Toronto chefs to put a culinary twist on the traditional Vietnamese eats. And most everything is made from scratch.
The original banh mi ($9) comes on a baguette with the triple protein threat of Haus-roasted pork belly cold cut, soy-based Vietnamese sausage and chicken liver pâté
Pickled carrots, pickles, cucumbers, cilantro and a Maggi-mayo spread also join the mix. Fried egg, which always completed the Dinh brothers' banh mi growing up, can be added for an extra charge ($2).
Another one of their signatures is the banh mi pho ever ($14) with a serious amount of smoked beef alongside pickles, caramelized onions, dijon, aioli and herbs. Pho broth comes on the side for dunking.
Banh mi bo kho ($14) gets a side of Vietnamese slow-cooked beef stew with corn, onions and lemongrass. On the sub are pickles, onions, herbs, aioli and overnight braised beef.
Make sure to visit Tuesday to Thursday for bo kho tacos ($12), which are basically a Vietnamese take on birria tacos. They come in grilled Peking duck wraps instead of corn or flour tortillas and are deliciously messy.
Besides the Haus specialties, anyone ordering can build their own meal. First, choose between rice ($16), vermicelli ($14), banh mi sub or banh tieu ($11) for the base and then pick your protein.
Fried chicken, sweet pork sausage and tofu in a homemade coconut curry are all options. The latter vegetarian choice goes great on the sesame-covered banh tieu, a sweet milk bread that's more traditionally eaten as a dessert.
You can also get fried chicken on fluffy bao buns ($11).
The easy drink of choice around here is Vietnamese iced coffee ($5). They use a locally-roasted arabica made with beans from Vietnam and the strong coffee is balanced with condensed milk.
Bags of the house roast ($16) are available at the counter, as well as a few pantry goods like housemade pickled carrots ($12), mustard greens ($11) and fish sauce ($8). Balanced with added acid and sugar, the fish sauce can be poured right over your food.
Anime fans will recognize characters like Sailor Moon, Spirited Away, Hamtaro and a dancing Pikachu (use the QR code) on the wall mural inside of the small takeout spot.
The big, bright red door gives the lower-level restaurant that would be pretty hidden otherwise away. During the summer months, an out-front barbecue draws even more attention.