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Mar 25, 2009 08:19 AM

Banh mi in Wmsburg?

Has anyone tried the new banh mi joint on Havemeyer? Just walked by, S2 St range, don't remember name.

They're also putting one in on Bedford next to the Charleston.

I hope at least one of them is good....

Any early reports?

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  1. Thanks for the heads up. I will go for lunch today and report back my thoughts.

    3 Replies
    1. re: dhs

      Went to Nha Toi for lunch. I went for the original with pate. Quite tasty. I really liked the meat. It seems better quality and a little more abundant than most places. The carrots and daikon in the sandwich were not 'pickled'. I found I missed the expected sweetness. I also tried the bulgogi and kimchee summer rolls. Excellent.

      It is really a take out place only right now. There is only one small table with a couple of chairs.

      There are two basic options, Summer Rolls or Bahn Mi. Within those options there are a half dozen choices for each. Varying from the traditional to the innovative.

      In speaking with the owner, I learned they have only been opened for two and a half weeks. There was an obvious passion for what he was doing when he spoke. That is always a good thing too see.

      I will definately be going back.

      1. re: dhs

        I went too! Although after the time of your post, I think.

        Concur on good ingredients. good sandwich. (I got the lemongrass pork.)

        Definitely not your Chinatown banh mi -- in price, or ingredient quality. The cook owner is going for a little David Changdom.

        I'm ok w/ that -- he was nice -- and with paying $6 for the sandwich. I'll be back.

        (Will not, however, order another summer roll. Got a chk one to try -- they don't have shrimp -- and found it unremarkable.)

        (Will have to try the Monday banh mi @ Simple Cafe. Had heard of it but yet to hit. Price on that one?)

        1. re: dhs

          Went back for round 2 today (I could eat bahn mi for lunch most every day). Had the shredded pork with skin version and the shrimp and bacon summer rolls.

          I found the summer rolls to be excellent again. They are made fresh right in front of you which I think is part of their appeal. Bacon a little warm everything else cool, the wrapper is just right, these are good.

          Sandwich was better this time, the veggies were pickled. Meat was quite good, it was a roast pulled pork variety although I did not pause to taste it on its own. Even had a little extra cilantro I love. I am guessing my last sandwich was made with veggies just into the marinade and did not have time to soak any flavor up. Anyway, a thumbs up for me. Glad to have the place in the area.

      2. The one on Havemeyer is called Nha toi. Pretty good but I really like the banh mi on that monday Vietnamese restaurant Bep on Bedford and South 3rd at Simple cafe. So far I tried both sandwiches...goood BBQ pork and grilled pork Banh mi.

        17 Replies
        1. re: F.N

          Could anyone please provide specific names, addresses & Tel #s ?

          1. re: Peter B Wolf

            I tried Nha Toi today and wasn't crazy about it - maybe it's my Western palate, but I love the versions at Nicky's and Hanco - grilled pork or chicken and jalapenos or spicy sauce - but pork skin and pulled pork or bland shredded chicken didn't do it for me. I'll give it another chance and try different options, but this sandwich might have been a little more authentic, but it wasn't for me. And I don't get the David Chang reference.

            1. re: dark knight

              I wasn't to crazy about Nha Toi, some of the combinations seem too esoteric for me.

              Nha Toi
              160 Havemeyer St, Brooklyn, NY 11211

            2. re: Peter B Wolf


              Nha Toi
              160 Havemeyer St, Brooklyn, NY 11211

              346 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211

            3. re: F.N

              HIt the Bep today. I read about it awhile back but had not yet been -- so thx for the reminder.

              Very sweet operation. (As you say Monday only.) Seemed to have a decent crowd.

              Got the spring rolls and bbq pork banh mi for $10 + tax. Spring rolls were excellent, preferred to Nha Toi summers.

              And I was perfectly happy with the sandwich. However my vote is with Nha Toi for a banh mi that had more life and flavor across the board. Better bread; better quality meat (it seemed to me) w/ more distinctive flavor; more vegetables; more piquant sauce.

              Not to be polemical -- like I said I thought Bep was a nice operation and I'm glad it exists -- but in terms of mano a mano banh mi smack-down my vote would have to go to Nha Toi.

              1. re: Jack Barber

                Jack - what do you think of Nicky's and Hanco?

                1. re: dark knight

                  Have not been to either. Are they notable?

                  Prev had always been a Broome / Mott banh mi eater, and only when passing thru neighborhood.

                  (Haven't been to the Sunset Park joint either.)

                  In terms of non-C town Banh Mi I've only been to that Baoguette place in gramercy / murray hill. Liked Nha Toi better, I'd say without thinking much about it, but Baoguette is perfectly good if you're in the neighborhood looking for lunch.

                  In fact I'd say same about Nha Toi and the Bep place. I only went there bc I live and work nearby. I wouldn't say either are worth traveling for. But given that both are w/in 4-5 blocks of my office I'll be eating them again at some point.

                  (To give perspective on my rating, for what it's worth -- food I've specifically traveled for recently includes Little Pepper, hot cross buns from Rudy's (in Ridgewood), Mina, Srip, pannelle sandwiches @ Ferdinando's, Charles' Fried Chicken, artichoke pizza @ Difara's, red hook ballfields, etc. Neither the Wmsburg joints, or any of the banh mi places I've tried in NYC rise to that level.)

                  1. re: Jack Barber

                    Given your other preferences, you should really try Ba Xuyen in Sunset Park for Banh Mi (note, they close at 6:30). If your driving, it's also just a short hop to Lanzhou Hand Pull Noodle.

                    Ba Xuyen
                    4222 8th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11232

                    Wong Good Hand Pull Noodle
                    5924 8th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11220

                    1. re: bobjbkln

                      Ba Xuyen's bahn mi is the best I have ever had. I woud agree with bobjbkln it is worth a trip to try.

                      I am waiting for somebody to combine making bahn mi sandwiches and a bar together in nyc. I'd surely turn into a fat alcholic then :)

                      1. re: dhs

                        Thanks guys -- I am now suitably motivated to hit Sunset Park.

                        I'm guessing the new banh mi joint on Bedford -- to right of Charleston near N7; no name visible yet -- will have a bar.

                        However its aesthetics appear to verge on bad Wmsburg Thai so I've harnessed my hopes for the moment.

                        p.s. I know I can research this but is there clear winning choice in terms of Sunset Park Mexican I should include in the itinerary.

                        1. re: dhs

                          I'll add a 3rd rec. for Ba Xuyen.

                        2. re: bobjbkln

                          Ba Xuyen is as good as it gets when it comes to banh mi, but I prefer Nan Flavour Snack Shop over Lanzhou Hand Pull Noodle.

                        3. re: Jack Barber

                          I agree with the subsequent comments that based on your appreciation for Chinatown Banh Mi, you should check out Ba Xuyen. But to be honest, I've done a lot of traveling and eaten stinky tofu, scorpion and broiled eel's liver so don't usually think of myself this way, but I prefer the Nicky's version because the Ba Xuyen sandwiches are sometimes a little too "authentic" for me.

                          The link below for Ba Xuyuan didn't work for me, maybe this will:

                          I do travel to the places I mentioned for Banh Mi, but they aren't really in the class of places in your list. I just enjoy them a lot.

                          Don't forget Silent H makes Banh Mi as well in the neighborhood if you haven't tried it.

                          And Tacos Matamoros is worth a trip.

                          1. re: dark knight

                            I haven't been since opening but Silent H was *awful* then, and I haven't heard anything from friiends who've been in the intervening time to make me think it's gotten any better. Too bad bc the owner is a super nice guy. I also have much fond feeling for the space from several years of brunch/lunch @ Oznot's.

                            Hear you on "authentic" banh mi. Not a huge fan of the weird pates and other mystery meat. (Nor do I like fish balls or head cheese!) I usually go straight pork.

                            Will check out Nicky's next time I'm down that way + hungry. (Although could be a difficult call giiven proximity of Porchetta and Ramen Setagaya. Maybe I'll fast through a morning then triple up for lunch.)

                            1. re: Jack Barber

                              Or go to the Outer Borough's version. :)

                              85 Bergen St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

                              Nicky's Vietnamese Sandwiches
                              311 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11201

                            2. re: dark knight

                              Ba Xuyen is still the best -- AND they have grilled pork (very lemongrassy) or chicken and Viet meat ball sandwiches if you're not feeling the headcheese/pate. Their bread and pickled veg is great. Sardine and vegetable options available. Hanco and Nicky's are twice the price and less delicious, so I wouldn't ever recommend those unless you happen to live close by.

                              Totally keen to check out the new styles in Williamsburg...the NYT article will do well for them.

                              As for Sunset Park, I have not been yet, but one of the Red Hook vendors has opened a restaurant : Casa Vieja, 5th Ave (between 60th and 61st).
                              I still pick up takeout tamales from Ricos Tamales on 5th Ave near 45th St. Love the Oaxacquenos....

                    2. do either of these places have any veg options?

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: emma

                        nha toi has 2 mushroom banh mi and a pho banh mi. It also has a veggie summer roll and a portobello version

                        1. re: emma

                          Nha Toi also has seared tofu as one of the options for sandwiches/summer rolls, as well as a pickled vegetable summer roll. the seared tofu is really tasty.

                        2. I'm going to try a banh mi today at Nha Toi . So how do you pronounce that... is it "bon me"? or "my"?

                          9 Replies
                          1. re: malibu

                            bahn (like barn without the 'r') me

                            1. re: dhs

                              Great thanks. unfort i just tried to go to Nha Toi and they were not open (gate down, no sign of life at all). Says they should be open. I hope it's not going to be "like that". Annoying.

                                1. re: dark knight

                                  Love Nha Toi. Was just in there getting my lunch and he is getting slammed right now - maybe because of the article? My bahn mi is very tasty to say the least!

                            2. re: malibu

                              NYT article had it at "bun mee"

                              1. re: bigjeff

                                i'm viet - i guess phonetically it's neither 'bahn' or 'bun' - actually something in between. i live in wburg and i agree silent H is a realll disappointment. that ny times article is making me want to open up my own place. my viet roommate and i are always whipping up amazing viet food in our kitchen! interesting how viet food is finally picking up in ny!

                                1. re: mspamplemousse

                                  yes, all those places in the NYT article, plus, walked past Thai Me Up on east 14th, as well as the Nam Pung, and then walked past the new baoguette on st marks; peeked into the window at An Choi in LES; that sandwich is really blowing up; it's amazing and hopefully, a sustained explosion.

                                  the one thing that tempted me on the menu of An Choi (LES) and Nha Toi (W'burg) was the pork belly + Pork skin banh mi. Was watching both places assemble sandwiches (not really impressed with how they looked); baoguette's sandwich looked pretty huge though.

                                  1. re: bigjeff

                                    Does anyone know what the deal is with Nha Toi's hours, or if it's even open. Never seems to be open when I stop by.

                                    1. re: CobblerNYC

                                      they're open every day except tuesday

                            3. i heard the one on bedford opened. has anybody been?

                              9 Replies
                              1. re: subinai

                                I've heard it's not as good as Nha Toi, but I haven't tried it yet. I want to try it though.

                                I had a duck bahn mi at Nha Toi tonight - it's an occasional special - and was really good. Really like it with the spicy peppers he gives you.

                                1. re: dark knight

                                  that sounds awesome. i'm gonna check that out.

                                2. re: subinai

                                  I had a #2 (cold cuts - $5) at the place next to the Charleston yesterday, it was quite good. The pate was exceptional; had a lot of black pepper.

                                  1. re: cmballa

                                    the #2 is pretty good. Mine wasn't that spicy but the meat was the star. I was in a pork coma for an hour afterwards.

                                  2. re: subinai

                                    I went to Banh Mi 172 on Bedford and N8, and it was excellent. The bread is super fresh, the vegetables perfectly crisp and pickled, and the service was very quick and friendly. I would recommend a #2 if you want an authentic cold cuts banh mi experience. But I really recommend a #5, the barbecued pork. It's so tender and flavorful.

                                    Also, their Viet coffee is very good as well as their Vegan Roll, which is a summer roll, but Vegan. Make sure to specify that you want Peanut Sauce instead of their vinaigrette sauce for the vegan roll. The peanut sauce is just better.

                                    Anyways, I'm a huge fan. This place is going to become one of my staples what with its cheap prices and late hours.

                                    i can't wait for the Pho place to open up next door.

                                    1. re: kbnyca

                                      I went to 172 on Bedford last weekend and was sorely disappointed. I got the #5 (barbecued pork), which was limp, gristly and bland. The pork was the major problem - -totally unseasoned and fatty. The vegetables weren't crisp. For me, the best banh mi really sings when it is composed -- it transcends the sum of it's parts. The sandwich I got on Saturday was bland greasy pork with limp vegetables. I was really rooting for a great place in the 'burg, too.
                                      My favorite banh mis in NYC remain Ba Xuyen, Baoguette and Hanco's.

                                      1. re: chompchomp

                                        I went there (to 172) on a weekday two weeks ago for lunch and while not nearly and by no means blown away, I thought my #5 was credible. (Definitely none of the problems you encountered w/ the pork.) Summer rolls ok too.

                                        Not sure where I rank it in terms of Wmsburg options btwn Nha Toi and the Monday-only joint whose name I'm forgetting. But it's comparable.

                                        Comparable also to Baoguette I'd say.

                                        (None of which IMO are materially better than cheap chinatown banh mi from broome place or Mott place. I still need to get to Ba Xuyen, per some prev posts.)

                                        It's certainly good enough for the location. They're definitely going to print money.

                                        Hope the pho joint opening next door doesn't suck.... Good pho would be a real neighborhood resource. Even credible pho, since there's no good pho in NYC!

                                        1. re: Jack Barber

                                          Have you tried Pho Tay Ho?

                                          Pho Tay Ho
                                          2351 86th St, Brooklyn, NY 11214

                                          1. re: bobjbkln

                                            Resurrecting this thread for two reasons:

                                            1. Finally hit the Ba Xuyen, maybe 6 months ago, and you are all most correct, it definitely rules.

                                            2. I read a blog post last week ( about Nha Toi's expanded menu ( Hit it this evening and I have to say it's downright brilliant.

                                            Not saying much I know but possibly best Viet in NYC:

                                            -- Spring rolls + summer rolls excellent.
                                            -- Papaya salad great.
                                            -- I'm not a huge pho lover (prefer other species of Asian noodle soup like ramen, kuay teow / Thai, certain Chinese types) but I thought the pho was quite good. (Better than any I've had in NYC I think. [have still not been to Pho Tay Ho.] And I think possibly up there with a Jonathan-Gold-best-of-LA pho I had earlier this year in San Gabriel Valley.
                                            )-- Banh mi still good. (Might not rise to Ba Xuyen but then again I still haven't tried the "pho banh mi" at Nha Toi that everyone loves.)

                                            Definitely worth checking out. Possible that I back off my possibly-best-in-NYC claim after more visits. (Then again maybe I will double down.) However it's definitely good. A HUGE win in terms of neighborhood takeout/delivery. (Will definitely put a dent in my M Shanghai bill. ) Etc.

                                            Ba Xuyen
                                            4222 8th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11232

                                            Pho Tay Ho
                                            2351 86th St, Brooklyn, NY 11214

                                            M Shanghai
                                            129 Havemeyer St, Brooklyn, NY 11211

                                            Nha Toi
                                            160 Havemeyer St, Brooklyn, NY 11211