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Viet Sub on Robson is no more

Just a cryptic message on the door saying thanks. Don't know if they will be back, be back somewhere else, or if they are gone for good. Dang! Where am I going to get my downtown Banh Mi fix taken care of now?

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  1. Bummer! When we walked by on Monday last I got the impression they were closed for renos, but then again we all know what that can mean. I saw a newish Viet sub place on Hastings nearish Smile Cafe that might be worth a look for banh mi...

    20 Replies
    1. re: grayelf

      Ate for first time ever at Smile Cafe over Christmas holidays. Old-timers like these need to be preserved !

      Reminded me of the old Varsity Grill on W.10th, where I practically lived for a good part of the '80s !

      1. re: LotusRapper

        LR, you are the only person I know to eat at Smile! It's been on my list for ages. We nearly went on Monday but managed to nab a table at Finch's instead. Not to threadjack, but can you tell us more about your experience? What did you eat?

        1. re: grayelf

          Haha, I never been to Finch's actually. In fact while walking by Finch's (I was intent on going to Smile) I had to wrestle the decision. But I settled for Smile.

          Service is prompt and friendly (Chinese family-run, young-ish daughter was the only server working the room). Menu had the de-rigueur Chinese-Canadian offerings straddling both ends of the globe. I had standard daily brekkie special ...... 2 eggs over easy (check), 2 sausages (check), hash (check), white toast dry (check), and endless cups of joe. All for around $6, no frills, no thrills.

          You could blindfold me and I'd think I'm eating the same at any of the other classic old-style diners that sadly are no longer (Normandy, Molly's, Homer Cafe, Varsity Grill, Gray's Grill, Risty's Cafe, etc). Regrettably that RIP list is getting longer these days.

          Oh speaking of thrills, she did proudly point to a new digital juke box standing by the front door. Gotta check it out next time ...... they are open for dinner :-D Nothing like a classic veal cutlet dinner with creamy mash 'taters scooped from an ice cream scooper, artery-clogging gravy, frozen-cooked peas and carrots. Or chicken chow mein with julienned deli chicken loaf (LOL) and bean sprouts.

          And Smile's clientele. Some colorful characters, as you'd expect. Real people. Real lives. Exactly the kind of diner I like.

          1. re: LotusRapper

            Nice! Even higher on my list.

            Have you tried Sunny Spot on Main? Sounds like it would fill similar criteria for you. They have the 2-2-2 for $3.95 - 2 eggs, 2 sausages, 2 bacon and hash browns. I have a serious weakness for their Bigger Breakfast for $6.50: 2 eggs, 2 sausages, 2 bacon, 2 pancakes and hash browns. Will have to do Smile or Sunny Spot this w'end I think :-).

            1. re: grayelf

              Yeah I've been to Sunny Spot, a couple years ago. They may have been having a bad day. Terrible service, kitchen was stinking of grease, wet sloppy hash (oh the horrors). Haven't been back since.

              A block away there's Reno's, and a block past them (8th, south side of Goh's Ballet) is The Nice Cafe. Real cozy lil' spot. Standard brekkie/greasyspoon fare.

              1. re: LotusRapper

                Too bad about SS -- I went twice over the hols and it was solid both times on all levels. Agree they have HVAC issues but that never bothers me at greasy spoons -- smelling like bacon for the rest of the day is part of the experience for me :-). And FWIW they have some healthier options on the wide ranging menu, including freshly squeezed juices (!)

                Nice Cafe is a go to as well though it was closed over the Xmas vac. Sometimes their hash is SOOOO greasy though, and I don't love the wait times. Haven't ventured into Reno's as yet; doesn't quite fit the mold of what I'm looking for, at least from the outside and reports I have read.

                1. re: grayelf

                  Agree. Reno's is just ...... different. Not everyone's cup of coffee.

            2. re: LotusRapper

              You must try Finch's Prosciutto, Pear, Walnut and Brie sandwich. Holy Smokes.

               
              1. re: fmed

                Oh you got me there with that pic, Fmed ! I'm going.

                1. re: LotusRapper

                  There's an avocado and edam sarnie with walnuts that is pretty awe inspiring too. Soup can be hit and miss though...

                  1. re: LotusRapper

                    Make sure you block off some time or avoid the lunch rush, because Finch's moves slowly (if you work in the area, as I do, it's often better to call your order in first). It's worth the wait though.

                    That's too bad about Viet Sub, my other go-to place for a cheap workday lunch. I did notice Creme de la Crumb opened up at the foot of the CBC building, and they often have good sandwiches (and even better scones).

                    1. re: clutterer

                      Thanks for the about scones at CDLC. A good scone is hard to find.

                      1. re: grayelf

                        Yes ! Esp. cheddar scones. Let me know if you have good scone sources. I'm a sucker for cheese scones & Earl Grey tea (masculinity not being threatened here ........ )

                        1. re: LotusRapper

                          I'm relatively sure (read: not entirely sure at all) that there's an apple/cheddar scone, though it's been a few months since I've been (check V Slop). I do recall being taken with the lime/coconut one. I think their Granville St location is still open, which is within staggering distance of the Canada Line station. http://www.cremedelacrumb.com/

                          1. re: clutterer

                            Mmmm, looks good. Thanks Clutterer !

                            1. re: LotusRapper

                              Good baking on Granville btwn Pender and Hastings? Who knew? Thanks clutterer. I like my cheese scones unadulterated by other things but might give this one a shot.

                              LR you might not like the same scone genre as moi. I prefer the ones that are almost like baking powder biscuits. Lately I've been enjoying the ones from Swiss Bakery which although sometimes a bit overbaked suit my palate. And they freeze well for scone emergencies :-). I'm over the asiago ones from T Haas -- way too greasy for me.

                              -----
                              Swiss Bakery
                              143 E 3rd Ave, Vancouver, BC V5T, CA

                              1. re: grayelf

                                That sounds about right. The baking powder is what makes them light, airy and crumbly, if one can describe it like that. Inside should be dry, not with any hint of moist or mushy. At least that's my preference for a proper scone.

                                1. re: LotusRapper

                                  Then maybe you would like Swiss Bakery. Let me know what you think if you try it. I've only had their cheese version but the SO gives the cranberry thumbs up (I have six of each in the freezer now!).

                                  -----
                                  Swiss Bakery
                                  143 E 3rd Ave, Vancouver, BC V5T, CA

                                  1. re: grayelf

                                    Oh that place, across from Nuba. I never really took notice, I thought they were a commercial bakery. Hey, on my way home too :-) Thx Grayelf, I'll report back when I get some of their goodies.

                                    -----
                                    Nuba Cafe
                                    322 Hastings St W, Vancouver, BC V6B1K6, CA

          2. re: grayelf

            Went down today to the Vietnamese place next to Smile Cafe. 2 "Subs" on the menu, but they didn't have any bread so that was that.

          3. Too bad. Theirs were good. I had it for first (and I guess last) time back in November.

            I'm quite sure I read recently another shop in downtown makes/sells banh mi's, but it's not a Viet shop. Meat & Bread ? One of the new food carts ?

            2 Replies
            1. re: LotusRapper

              Not sure if it is still available, but Oru at the Fairmont Pac Rim and Bao Bei (IIRC) have upscale banh mi.

              1. re: LotusRapper

                I had a quite good bahn mi-esque sandwich at Meat & Bread in March. Their ciabatta was stacked with light and dark shredded chicken, although there could have been more of the carrot, daikon and cilantro. Haven't seen it on subsequent visits.

                I was fairly put-off by the service on my first couple of trips, but have grown accustomed to it. Anyone else?

              2. I believe One Saigon has bahn mi, but I haven't checked them out yet...

                1. Passed by Viet Sub today, saw a "For Lease" sign.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: clutterer

                    the jap skewer place is for sale as well.... high rent , high rent ...

                    LR, have to go to finch's!. it's defi worth it. and agree the soup is hit or miss. note: limited seating

                    have been to smiley's . kinda worried the food is full of MSG.

                  2. trying to think of where else had Banh Mi in DT. besides the one Fmed mentioned the only Viet places I can think of are Pho Central on Davie And the Pho on Denman. Both with lacklustre review. The is also Chau.

                    Guess you'll have to cross Georgia Viaduct and make it to Ba Le or Kim Saigon(Garden??) in Chinatown or try the new one at Lous Butcher shop.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: betterthanbourdain

                      There is a place on Hornby across from the law courts and you can get one (if you are desperate) in a teeny place next to the Sutton hotel, but neither are anything to write home about. Hornby is too expensive, and you don't have much choice or freshness at the Sutton place. Damn! I really like Banh Mi.

                    2. It's Back! Walked by today and noticed Viet Sub had put up signs stating that they are re-opening. They are moving into the Zakkushi space (I will miss the P-Toro Onion Box).

                      Maybe they were able to negotiate a better lease agreement.

                      It didn't say when they were going to re-open though.

                      9 Replies
                      1. re: moyenchow

                        That's good to hear, moyen -- too bad about Kushi Box though. I never got a chance to try them out as I usually got sucked in by the other options in the area. Will deffo be back for more from Viet Sub when it reopens.

                        1. re: moyenchow

                          I meant to write Kushi Box not Zakkushi.

                          Viet Subs is moving into the space formerly occupied by Kushi Box which is 1 store front east.

                          1. re: moyenchow

                            FYI: It opened. It's the same people running the business with the same menu.
                            Nice to have a sandwich option that doesn't cost over $10.

                            1. re: moyenchow

                              So, after all that, is Viet Sub any good? How is it compared to our favourite Kingsway sub places?

                              1. re: flowbee

                                IMHO, it's the best option for the right price in the downtown core. Paid $4.20 for their regular ham sub. It's the right amount of nicely pickled daikon & carrots, with fresh cucumber, cilantro, onion and jalapeno peppers. The cold cuts they use is a little different, one of the cold cuts reminds me of Chinese BBQ pork. I wish they use more pate but that's just me.

                                I like the bread they use, it's crispy and soft and doesn't hurt the roof of my mouth. Which is why I don't like the subs from Ba Le on Main.

                                As for the Ba Le on Kingsway, it's been a while since I've been to Ba Le on Kingsway so I feel I can't give you a fair comparison. Maybe that'll be my foodie mission for this weekend. :D

                                  1. re: flowbee

                                    I haven't had a bahn mi at Viet Sub since before they were closed for renos but I thought they were more than decent. You can ask for extra cilantro or hot peppers, and their minced pork sausage (forget the name) is quite good. I think maybe it comes from Kim Chau who apparently supply a lot of the banh mi shops around town. I agree with moyen about the bun, it has a nice crumb and is not too hard, but also not just fluffy. Worth a try for sure.

                                  2. re: moyenchow

                                    Ba Le is much better and cheaper than viet sub. Though I prefer the bread at hung hing, iirc on 1100 kingsway. Both places the subs are around the $2.75 - $3.50 range.
                                    Viet Sub is ok considering there are not many options in the dt core. But not chowhound worthy for sure.

                                    1. re: betterthanbourdain

                                      I think their meatball sub is pretty decent. Not the best Banh Mi I've ever had for sure, but I haven't found anything downtown that comes close for quality and price combined. I think the meatball sub was around $3.75, but I haven't made it down to the new venue.

                            2. Roaming Dragon food truck has Viet-inspired subs for $6. My first bite sez it's pretty good. Fresh-tasting fillings. The pork looks like roasted pork shoulder sliced 2mm thick. Nice change from the usual deli meat.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: flowbee

                                now with crappy cellphone pic

                                 
                                1. re: flowbee

                                  I have to second this, hubby is obsessed! There is a Vancouver food cart app that tracks where you can find the roaming dragon!

                                2. There is a place on commercial called Paris Bakery (across from Marcello's/Santa Barbara). Cheap subs and really great!

                                  It was the one of the first places I went to after being in central america for a year!

                                  -----
                                  Paris Bakery
                                  1403 Commercial Dr, Vancouver, BC V5L, CA

                                   
                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: mrstkach

                                    Out of desperation (long story) I bought baguettes from Paris bakery a few years ago for a fondue, and when I got home they reeked of nicotine. Haven't been back since, but good to hear of a bahn mi option in my neighborhood.

                                  2. Viet Sub will be re-opening within a few days. Please check their Facebok page for updates:

                                    http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?i...