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Oct 21, 2010 09:06 PM

Dinosaurs (banh mi sandwiches) in SF Castro District

I've been wanting to try it, just having gotten over to the City. The SF Weekly has a coupon Free sandwich with purchase of sandwich & Drink expires 10/30/10. Anyone try banh mi sandwiches from here?

They got soy-marinated chicken thigh; crispy tofu; pate, less than $5.

3518 16h St @ Prosper
Daily 10a-7p

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  1. I had a grilled meat sandwich a couple of weeks ago (i can't remember if it was pork or chicken). I really like banh mi sandwiches and this place satisfied - taosted bread, meat, cold pickled vegies. That said, they're about $1 more then standard prices in other banh mi shops. Worth it only because i don't have to leave my neighborhood but not worth a trip from other parts of the city.

    1 Reply
    1. re: boris_qd

      I agree with Boris_qd. This place was ok for banh mi, but I'm probably not visiting again. While I was there, there was a modest trickle of customers, so other people must like it. I thought the price of sandwiches were pricey for banh mi. $4.75 is way more expensive than Saigon Sandwiches. And for the price, a boost in quality is not there. First, the bread was a bit harder/denser than light, crusty baguettes I expect. And second, the sum total of the sandwich didn't taste like more than the sum of its parts. I think Saigon Sandwiches adds some sort of mayonnaise or fat or something to meld the sandwich into something euphoric. Dinosaur had a very straight interpretation with nothing special added to it. I would suggest Ikes (which is not totally for me either--I feel like I've had 3 meals after one of those sandwiches! but Ikes is literally on the other side of the building from Dinosaur--and they have a non-stop line). And I personally really like Super Duper, near by. Always a high quality beef burger and great service at Super Duper.

    2. It's in the Castro District-From Market look for Bagdad Cafe & walk down, it's on the Left, across from Eureka Valley/Harvey Milk Branch SF Public Library.

      Tiny shop. Order at the register. There's only 5 tables inside, 9 chairs. Most people take it to go.

      I had a coupon from SF Weekly. Buy sandwich & drink, get 1 Sandwich FREE. I got: The Special $4.75-roasted pork, fancy pork loaf & pate. Nice crunchy toasted roll w/ typical Vietnamese sandwich stuff. I liked it.

      The Spicy Tuna $4.75 - chunk light tuna w/ spicy mayo. Toasted roll & tuna w/ a mildly spicy mayo sauce. I liked it.

      Drink: They just have bottled drinks. I got Yeo's soymilk. Tasted fine.

      My total was $6, credit cards taken.

      Edit: They have a Frequent Buyers card: Buy 9 sandwiches get 1 FREE!

      Bathrooms: You need a key, they have separate men/women, but it's outside their shop - women's 2nd door to the right. Had 2 stalls & 2 sinks.

      Daily 10a-7p
      Note: Starting 11/1 open until 10pm.

      1 Reply
      1. re: hhc

        "Vietnamese sandwiches"

        Are you sure this place is in SF and not Idaho?

        Do they taste as nasty as they look?

        Cam Huong uses a whole chicken breast freshly de-boned for each of their $3.25 chicken Banh Mi.

        El Paseo for meo.

      2. Link:

        3559 16th St., San Francisco, CA 94114

        1. My partner and I have been there twice, having tried their combination (pate and a couple kinds of pork cold cuts) as well as their meatball sandwiches. While the price is a bit higher than the Tenderloin banh mi joints such as Saigon Sandwich, the quality is quite good, and we appreciate having a quality banh mi place in our neighborhood that has pleasant seating, both indoors and outdoors, with sunny outdoor tables, allowing us to bring our dog. It's also very reasonable for the neighborhood, and no long lines (I don't really get Ike's, having tried it once and found it disappointing.)

          The sandwiches are on (what appear to be) toasted rolls that have been hollowed out, resulting in a crunchy crust and a nice meat to bread ratio (closer to what I've had Vietnam, where the sandwiches are more snacks than the gut bombs we get at Saigon Sandwich), with the right proportion of meat, pickled veggies and mayonnaise.. We both loved their meatball sandwich, with a generous portion of nicely spiced solid pork meatballs sliced in half. Both the flavor and the texture of the meatball are different from the ones I've had at other banh mi places in San Francisco (Saigon Sandwich and Little Vietnam, where the meatballs are more crumbly), but I liked it just as much. I don't think their pork combo sandwich is as good as Saigon Sandwich's special combo, probably because they use cold cuts with the pate instead of the roasted pork that SS uses. I haven't yet tried their grilled pork or chicken, or their tuna or fried tofu sandwiches, but probably will.soon.

          I'll still go to Saigon Sandwich when I"m near the Tenderloin and want a sandwich to go (the two seats there are often taken and not too pleasant to sit at, with the customers waiting for their sandwiches standing over you) or Little Vietnam, when in the Inner Richmond But I must admit, now that I've had banh mi in Vietnam and at Dinosaur and Little Vietnam in San Francisco, I find the banh mi at Saigon Sandwich a little too much -- too much bread, too much meat -- like many ethnic foods in this country, where portion sizes get expanded to match American appetites. I'm not sure Dinosaur is worth a detour for people who aren't in the Castro already, but it's definitely a nice addition to the neighborhood. The Castro's other banh mi sandwich place, Castro Tart on Castro street, uses soft rolls that they bake themselves -- not a bad sandwich, but not the crunch I expect in a banh mi.

          Saigon Sandwich Shop
          560 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94102

          Little Vietnam Cafe
          309 6th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94118

          Castro Tarts
          564 Castro St, San Francisco, CA 94114

          1 Reply
          1. re: johnrsf

            A minor quibble. A Burrito is a gut bomb but I don't think any of the Banh Mi are large enough to qualify - unless you have a very very small gut. I wouldn't want anyone heading to Saigon Sandwich thinking they'd get something large enough to satisfy a serious case of the munchies or anything.

            Saigon Sandwich Shop
            560 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94102