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Jan 6, 2009 09:54 AM

Baoguette, curry hill

I finally had a chance to try this place today and wanted to make a quick update here.

It's a very, very good little banh mi place, particularly for where it is in the city. Nothing like it nearby, for sure. And much better than the banh mi you can get at Bao's Noodles, down on 2nd and 23rd (the only other banh mi I know of in the area).

The bread is really the best part for me. It was very a fresh, nicely browned torpedo of a baguette with a good crackly crust. That, to me is usually the failing of most banh mi places in the city.

I had the pork, which is a mixture of bbq pork, pate and what they call a terrine. I think next time I'd just go for the BBQ pork, but regardless, it was very good. My only complaint is that even though I asked for it spicy, I could hardly find a pepper on the sandwich.

For $5 even, it's a good lunch bargain. Next time I want to try the catfish banh mi ($7).

My all time favorite banh mi in the city is still A Chau Deli on Mulberry in Chinatown (which always seems a little more fresh than saigon banh mi to me), but this place holds up pretty favorably even to those.

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  1. glad to hear the bread is improved. The week they opened all the bread was stale....

    1. I finally tried it last night on my way home from work. I also got the pork banh mi, which I enjoyed. I too asked for it spicy and it wasn't very. My guess is by "spicy" they mean a little dash of sriracha. I was very pleased about the amount of other stuff on the sandwich too.... the cilantro, carrots and daikon were great. Some people noted in a thread last week that the bread was stale, so I was conscious of that. My bread was perfect. I was half expecting it to be stale because I went in at about 7:30.

      I have been ordering from Bao Noodles because that was the only game in the hood for a while. This was a far superior verision, in my opinion. In fact, the Bao Noodles version nearly turned me off of banh mi because they use too much mayo and not enough of anything else... giving it a heavy, too-rich feeling.

      Since it was dinner, I also got the green papaya salad. This was also a nice surprise. There were a lot of herbs and fried shallots, as well as shrimp.

      For $10, it was a great bargain. I'll definitely go back. Probably too often, in fact.

      21 Replies
      1. re: egit

        ginsbera, yeah, the bread was perfect today. More fresh than any banh mi place I've tried in the city, actually. I was there at lunch, but given egit's dinner experience, maybe they are just doing a better job with having fresh bread?

        egit, ooh... nice tip on the green papaya salad. I don't know that I've had that at a Vietnamese place. But I love it at Thai restaurants.

        I had the same experience at Bao Noodles. They were the only game in town, so I went there. Baoguette has completely replaced them. Better food and cheaper prices.

        Has anyone tried the noodles at Baoguette? They were advertising spicy beef noodle soup when I was there... (Bún bò Huế maybe?). No idea if it's good or not.

        1. re: adamclyde

          It seems to me that they're more about banh mi than anything else. I'll probably give one of the soups a try when (if!) I burn out on the sandwiches.

          They had a few improbable sounding offerings too... something like a beef stew banh mi or.. i dunno, something like that. I figured for my first visit there I should check out what they view as their Standard. I wasn't disappointed.

          Thai/Viet Green Papaya salad: I think they're the same. You'll probably find fried shallots in vietnamese versions... but even so, not all of them.

          1. re: egit

            yeah, the beef was "sloppy spicy beef" or something like that. From the looks of it, it was a ground beef kind of concoction, that, frankly resembled sloppy joe meat.

            It really didn't sound/look appealing at all to me. But given the strength of the other sandwiches, my guess its better than it's billed.

            Regardless, my next visit will be for the catfish banh mi.

            1. re: adamclyde

              I had the sloppy beef sandwich last week and loved it! It's not like a ground meat sloppy joe, but a thick spicy beef stew that's been braised for hours. The meat was very tender and flavorful, and it was a perfect warming sandwich on a snowy day. Definitely give it a try!

              1. re: KiwiGirl625

                The spicy beef stew (aka "Bo Koh Banh Mi") is a classic Vietnamese dish. When properly made is very thick, spicy, and nothing akin to sloppy joe. Did they serve it with the baguette on the side (as is usually done), or were the beef chunks tucked inside the baguette sandwich style?

                1. re: kathyyl

                  hey kathy,

                  got any specific recs? please see me link below:


                  love that stuff!

                  1. re: kathyyl

                    They serve it in the bread. Mmm, I think I'll go get one for dinner tonight.

                  2. re: KiwiGirl625

                    yeah, my assumption was that this was one of those occasions where a dish is a lot more authentic than they make it sound!

                    Good to know. After I try the catfish version, I'll give the beef version a try.

                  3. re: adamclyde

                    At Baoguette, these are two different dishes. According to Ed Levine's review ( ), the sloppy bao "features minced spicy curried beef, green mango, and basil...but it doesn't pack much heat." It's served on the baguette, as you can see in the Serious Eats photo.

                    The spicy beef stew I tried today includes chunks of beef, carrot, and daikon; on behalf of his wife, who speaks little English, Mr. Huynh added that the stew is also flavored by anise and lemon grass. The baguette is served on the side, though where it ends up is up to you ( ).

                    1. re: DaveCook

                      that baguette looks nice and crusty, unlike most of the pillowy bread you get with at dish at most viet places. yum!

                      1. re: bigjeff

                        in my opinion, that's what sets baoguette apart. I've had better filling. Certainly spicier (I haven't found any heat there, and nary a jalapeno). But the combination of good filling with outstanding bread is what makes baoguette special. Oh, and it's location...

                        1. re: adamclyde

                          sorry; referring specifically to the beef stew dish; very rare to find a great banh mi stand that also happens to have those hot-type dishes (or a great viet. restaurant that has great banh mi); with baoguette's fancy pedigree, that bread should be great with what looks like a nice deep stew. regardless, it must all be better than l'annam (probably the nearest, and most tired, alternative)

                          1. re: adamclyde

                            the bread cuts your mouth. they have made it better since they opened, but it is still way too hard and crunchy. Everyone at my office that has had food from here agrees, good filling, good price for the area, poor bread.

                            1. re: ginsbera

                              The bread is absolutely NOT poor. It's made in-house and it's quite fresh and crispy. A cut on the top of your mouth is no excuse for switching to gross, soggy bread.

                              1. re: anonymousfoodperson

                                I believe it's made at a bakery, specifically on Tom Cat Bakery bread, not in house. I don't know if it is toyed with at Baoguette or not, but it is just too hard. I'm not looking for soft, soggy bread, that would be a crime, but rather something with a bit more give. I'm not the only one with this gripe, I've seen it on Serious Eats and on this board. I'll return and eat the banh mi here, it is an improvement over some of the other area lunch spots, but I will not crown this the best banh mi in the city by any means.

                                1. re: ginsbera

                                  Ok fair enough... it definitely did cut me a little =) I guess I'm just so happy that there's a banh mi spot near my work...

                          1. re: LeahBaila

                            thats what I need to try, looked amazing when I saw someone eating it the other day.

                            1. re: ginsbera

                    's good stuff. I like spooning mine over their white rice.


                    2. re: adamclyde

                      I had the BBQ Chicken sandwich today and the Spicy Beef Noodle soup. The soup was good, not exactly super spicy but it had a little kick to it. The beef was pretty good inside and man there was a lot of it! They really didn't skimp on the beef and noodles. For $13 my SO and were beyond stuffed. Nice addition to the neighborhood

                      1. re: roze

                        I've only had that Hue-style beef noodle soup at one other place (world of taste, in the bronx); I'd like to try it at this place although of course, I should really be going for the sarnies. can you describe this soup a bit more?

                  4. Went here last night for my first ever banh mi. I obv have nothing to compare it too, but I thought it was really good. I had the BBQ chicken, bread was fresh, good amount of mayo and spice. Delish, filling dinner for $6, can't beat that!

                    1. It's gotta be the best $5 lunch in the neighborhood but just want to let people know that this is a small take-out place with a few stools, not a real sit-down place to eat.

                      1. I had the catfish Bahn Mi last weekend and it was EXCELLENT.