Banh mi in Austin?
my friend melissa used to work at a library way up north lamar, and when i went to visit her i swear i passed a few places that sold banh mi. but when i went back last weekend, actually in search of one, i couldn't find any. i grew up with givral's in houston, but i know there have to be a few places here in town.
More specifically, Tam Deli is at 8222 N Lamar, just N of 183. Ba Le is about 4 blocks north. Tam is a little fancier, and also offers other dishes. I think the banh mi are a little better at Ba Le, but you can't go wrong with either. For perspective, I liked Cali better than Givral's in Houston.
I'm a used Tam's fan myself so I vote for Tam's. Ba Le's bread has never done it for me (though I've only been twice). Down south, I've had bahn mi at Lee's Kitchen at William Canon/MoPac but they are disappointing.
Well, according to a post dated 9/3/06 on Metroblogging Austin, Ba Le is temporarily closed!
"A weekend ritual for my wife and me is to get some tofu sandwiches from Ba Le on North Lamar. They are my favorite sandwiches in town. Incredible cheap too. We usually pick up some of the french bread there. Four loaves for a dollar.
Bad news though. My wife drove out there today and a sign on Ba Le's door said "closed until December 2006." No explaination given."
This is not really surprising to regulars, at least observant ones!
The owner has appeared to be in a super funk for the last few months...for a while, most of the coolers were almost empty of drinks, etc. There was a weird vibe there for sure. Seems like I saw a Health Dept notice in one of the coolers a month or so ago...and it was empty. So, with any luck, they will reopen in December, maybe a bit cleaner? My pals all refer to this otherwise fantastic place as "Filthy Sandwich" because of the obvious sanitation issues. Oh, don't start me on the restrooms...
Hey, but I'd still eat there 2-3 times a week, regardless...
That's a shame about Ba Le, their prices are so good. Certainly no cleanliness issues at Tam Deli, it's a gem. Their charcoal broiled pork sandwich rocks--ask for extra veggies and jalapenos, and their quite different shrimp w boiled egg is comfort food deluxe with just the two items and mayo and maybe some lettuce. The little palmiers are worth the high price too. Really friendly service too.