Monday, September 7, 2009

Bon Bon Vietnamese Sandwiches

...Thank God for a nearby bánh mì location. I live in Logan Square and it's nice to not have to travel all the way to Argyle Street for my Vietnamese sandwich fix...

Walk into Bon Bon Vietnamese Sandwiches (I call it this because there is a well-known chocolate shop in Chicago called Bon Bon) and you will feel a cool, alternative café vibe. There's local art hanging on the walls, colorful furniture, a great selection of exotic snacks, and an ever-eclectic music playlist emanating from a tiny corner stereo.

A very patient, nice gentleman named Jean-Luc helped me at the register while I paid in change for my sandwich. I probably would've been annoyed waiting for a customer to count out $4.35 in coins, but Jean-Luc was as cool as a cucumber throughout. I went with the Minced Pork bánh mì, probably due to the words "simmered with onions" in the description. The vague second part of it, "salty sweet seasonings", didn't hurt either, but still, I love me some onions.

When the sandwich was delivered to my table, it was a perfect warm temperature and beautiful. The baguette was fresh and soft and maintained a good flaky crust. I loved the heavy amount of carrots, but was disappointed by the few cilantro leaves.

As for the linchpin, señor pork, it was succulent and flavorful; there really was a nice mix of "salty sweet seasonings". It was fatty and greasy, but I have to admit, it wasn't really a big flaw in this sandwich that was hampered by dryness. There should've either been more oil/grease added to the minced pork or simply more mayo. I tried squirting some Sriracha onto a few bites to add moisture, but found that it killed the flavors with an overwhelming garlic-based heat blast.

In the overall bánh mì equation, the fresh pickled veggies were key. They saved the sandwich from dangerous dryness and cut through some of the mayo and pork fat to provide a blissful balance. Also, I appreciated the gentle heat. Other sandwiches on the menu should probably be a bit spicier, but since the Minced Pork is on the sweeter side of the báhn mì spectrum, it fared well without the addition of more jalapeños or Sriracha. Take note, other hot-sauce-happy banh mi spots...

BBVS is a quality, friendly bánh mì café. It's quiet enough to study in, there's WiFi, ample space, comfy seats, and a nice selection of satisfying sandwiches to choose from (all $3.95) with some cool vegetarian options like the Portobello, the Lemongrass Tofu, and the Vegan Classic. They also have bubble tea, fruit smoothies, Vietnamese coffee, and are super dog friendly (see pic below for proof).

Back or Forth? I will be going back.

Bon Bon Vietnamese Sandwiches - Wicker Park - (773)278-5800 - 2333 W. North Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 - Public transportation: bus 72 or the Western or Damen stops on the Blue Line.

Minced Pork (3.) - $3.95

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