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Mar 22, 2008 08:23 PM

K Sandwiches sd

Walking into K Sandwiches at lunchtime is like going to a rock concert. Orders are being called out, the drone of the flat screen hums, blenders are blending away and tables of people are enjoying themselves.

The first thing you see is grandma working away at those eggy waffles which perfume the air. Then the viet and american menu.

I was intrigued by Banh mi Chay - vegetarian banh mi because of a veg friend I wanted to bring here. I ordered this.

After checking out all the goodies and pastries which I hope some one out there will steer me to and reccomend my order was called #1.

So as far as deconstruction goes - the bread was not my cup of tea. The overtly yeasty and powerful wheat flavor threw off the requisite balance of a good banh mi for me. I don't think that they were using the half/half rice flour and wheat flour ratio of a proper saigon baguette. This thin bag. was almost all crust as well.

The innards on the other hand were spot on. I loved the flaky and mock 'bi'-like soy drenched fried tofu a lot. The thicker cut pickles were killer - lending a better sweet sour element. They were generous with the herbal sparkling fresh cilantro and the jalapenos were redeeming in the heat department.

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  1. -The Pate Chaud next to the cash registers is excellent and reminded a friend from France of home.
    -The plain croissants are excellent and always fresh.
    -I like the ham and cheese croissant (next to the baguettes) for breakfast, although the egg and bacon/andor ham one (on the wall above cash registers) they make for you is lighter because of the fresh airy croissant, as are all the croissant sandwiches.
    -I only get the BBQ Pork bahn mi. I have tried all the rest.
    -I am not into the sweet croissants, but The Mister likes the chocolate cream cheese one.
    The food from teh steam tray area is good, depending on the time of day. I get the stew when it is raining out. Very satisfying and with deep flavor.
    The beverages are excellent.
    They have free wi-fi. I have posted from there many times.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Cathy

      How funny - the Bbq Pork Bahn Mi is all I get there too - but I've also tried the chicken, it's good too. I love the Cafe Sue Da also.

      1. re: Alice Q

        Always the hot coffee with breakfast...but in summer, the icy fruit drinks are excellent, as is the iced cafe sue da.

        I got the hot soy drink once and loved it with a sweet croissant.

      2. re: Cathy

        They have bothe Viet curry and Bo Kho - have you had both? When do you recommend as far as timing?

        1. re: kare_raisu

          I liked the curry and The Mister liked the Bo Kho more. . After about 6 p.m. if the trays are empty, they don't seem to refill...although one time I got the bottom/end of day Bo Kho and the gravy was a very rich concentrated flavor...

          Oh, and the tuna croissant, not Vietnamese at all, is excellent.

          1. re: Cathy

            Interesting! Josh was telling me how much he enjoys the tuna salad - is there anything that makes the tuna salad particularly Vietnamese?

            I hope he reports what he had there today.

            So, Cathy - how does the curry and bo kho stand up to versions you have had elsewhere? The bo kho is looks quite enticing - I can get past the beautiful reddish color and herbs I have seen floating in it.

            Curious if anyone dared tried the sardines?
            I want to start exploring the che - any reccs?
            Why don't they explain what the bananna leaf wrapped meats are? There is a triangular one and another one that I am assuming is cha lua.

            1. re: kare_raisu

              I tried the grilled chicken banh mi today. I really liked it. It was dark meat (good), seasoned with five-spice and grilled (also good). It's not quite as good as the tuna, but it's close.

              I think I prefer K's bread to Dore's. I like that it's crusty, and that it's got a heartier flavor to it. Dore also uses too much mayonnaise for my liking, and it doesn't seem to be the sweeter Asian mayonnaise like K uses.

              1. re: Josh

                This calls for a Cafe Dore - K battle since those are fighting words, son. lol. I can't picture a hearty bread for a Vietnamese sandwich - it seems to go against what I gather as a Vietnamese sensibility for balance and lightness in their native cuisine.

                I just don't understand it - K's has the stout Saigon Baguette in the back with its other baked goods yet it uses a wheat heavy french demi baguette that hurts the top of your mouth. Can you explain the reasoning?

                I have not been to Vietnam, yet I would imagine a lighter than air 50/50 saigon baguette would be better suited to the weather and be much more fitting for the sparse innards which only lend to the focus of the bread.

                I dont think that the amount of Mayo is excessive in Cafe Dores banh Mi....who knows maybe that day the cook laid a heavy hand?

                1. re: kare_raisu

                  Bread didn't hurt the top of my mouth, but then I like crusty bread. I did like Dore's bread, but not as much as K's. It could just be a matter of personal preference, I don't think there's some objective standard for it. Also, I don't think the innards are that sparse at K - certainly the protein-based sandwiches I've gotten there have had ample (yet balanced) amounts of meat and vegetables.

                  At Dore, the mayo was coming out of the end of the sandwich as I ate it. Not a lot, but it was noticeable. Also, like I mentioned, it wasn't the sweeter Asian mayo, but American stuff. To me that kind of ruins one of the big flavor components of the sandwich.

      3. where is this place of which you speak? It sounds interesting.

        1 Reply
        1. re: beth1

          Linda Vista Rd at Mesa College Dr; San Diego, CA

          K Sandwiches
          7604 Linda Vista Rd, San Diego, CA 92111

        2. Actually, their non-Vietnamese sandwiches are all quite good.

          4 Replies
            1. re: kare_raisu

              I think I've had the one with roast beef and there is also a sandwich with mixed meat but I can't remember what kinds but they went well with the bread.

              1. re: jessicah

                I go there every morning for hot, black, great coffee before work. I most usually have pate chaud...little pastries filled with spicy pork..if there are any left. The fresh ones don't come out till about 7:30 but I like the day old. It seems to me that their baking has changed. I used to have a raisin roll but it got too doughy. I like their pork meat loaf bahn mi and breakfast croissant now and again. They have started labeling some of the packages with contents listed in English. I guess they didn't have time to keep answering all of our inquiries. I don't have any idea what anything is but they're pretty! Most of the stuff is too starchy for my taste..rice, banana, tapioca, etc. They do have plastic jars with dried, spicy squid that makes a terrific snack. I like the staff. And Alex, I love your refence to a "rock concert". Killer! It is definitely a fun,happening place.

                1. re: P Macias

                  I have often wondered about the pate chaud pastries. They look awesome.

          1. My wife has been a fan of K's for quite some time, so yesterday I made my first visit.

            I had the Banh mi Chay and found it to be excellent -- a sandwich that is greater than the sum of its parts. The bread was excellent -- crispy crust that almost broke into shards with each bite with the interior texture of a pillow that absorbed the fish sauce (making this a not so vegetarian sandwich afterall) and the clean crispness of the cilantro and pepper.

            I also had a bite of my wife's tuna sandwhich which was very good, with the cilantro and the pepper (although I would've prefered it without the slice of cheese).

            Bought a bagette which was fresh from the oven. It was delicious later that evening when I used it to mop up my mussels in coconut curry that my trip to Vien Dong III inspired.

            On my wife's suggestion we also bought some chocolate cream cheese croissants which were just OK, and clearly meant to be eaten warm and on the same day of purchase.

            A few hours later I stopped at Ba Le after shopping at Vien Dong III and tried their version of the Banh mi Chay. It was quite bland, and not a happy marriage of flavors.

            Although the avocado smoothie sweetened the deal a bit.

            Interested in trying the sardine Banh mi, but not nearly that brave ;-)