Real Banh Mi at Pho Kim, Santa Fe
Not saying it's the best banh mi ever, but the newish Pho Kim, on West Alameda (next to La Montanita in the old Xiclo space) does Santa Fe's only real-deal rendition. (I like the faux banh mi special at Counter Culture well enough, but grilled chicken breast and prosciutto on a hoagie roll is really stretching the definition.)
Good toasted 12" baguettes, light and crusty. The veggies aren't pickled enough for my taste, and they add tomato, which seems wrong (I'll probably ask them to leave it out next time). Big slices of jalapeno with the seeds in makes some bites perhaps a little too spicy for good balance, but still glad they're in there. Nice balance of meat and veggies.
Just south of $7 for a traditional pork cold cut version, $6 for meatball or grilled chicken, beef, or pork. This is actually pretty outstanding value for the size; you could probably get two lunches out of it...two sandwiches for three people would be about ideal.
Banh Mi Coda in ABQ is still a major step better, but Pho Kim adds something unique to Santa Fe. Tip o' the hat to my better half (who is 10x the chowhound I'll ever be) for checking it out.
930 Baca St, Santa Fe, NM 87505
I wanted to add my review of the banh mi to the list. You recently recommended Pho Kim to me in another thread, and I later realised it is (like it seems so many place are!) in easy walking distance of my house.
I agree with what everyone else has said about this place so far. Not amazing, but definitely solid. My boyfriend and I took our dog for a walk in the park two nights ago and stopped by Pho Kim for dinner. We both got grilled pork banh mi and took them across the street to eat in the park. At a foot long, they were a good size for dinner, even after we were "forced" to share a significant amount of the pork with our would-eat-her-weight-in-pork-if-we-let-her chihuahua-dachshund mix. Overall, the balance of meat and veggies was good, although I wish there was more of both on there. The cilantro was a bit stemmy (the big thick stalk was left on, not only the smaller stems), but that was easy enough to fix and made things really easy on my boyfriend, who doesn't like cilantro in the first place (my fault... I placed the order and forgot to ask them to skip it). I too will probably skip the tomatoes next time. The pork was nicely seasoned, however, and the rolls were that combination of chewy and crispy that makes banh mi so great.
Overall, I'm really glad that this place is close by. I imagine that I'll be walking down there for a quick dinner or lunch fairly frequently when I don't feel like cooking. I'm looking forward to trying the other things on their rather extensive menu. The restaurant smelled great and had a really relaxed feel when I was in there. I enjoyed the service as well. The teenage boys who worked there had obviously been instructed to work on their customer banter. They haven't quite mastered it just yet, but they were trying really hard and it gave the place that sort of a human quality that's nice to have in a neighborhood restaurant. I will definitely be coming back here.
I can't claim to be a true connoisseur of pho, but my wife and I visited Pho Kim on Saturday and enjoyed two different renditions (mine with rare beef and brisket and hers with meatballs). Maybe it was the nasty weather, but this really hit the spot for me - nice balance of heat, asian spice, and beefy flavor in the broth, classic accompaniments of thai basil, cilantro, bean sprouts, and sliced jalapeno, rare beef that was actually still pink when the plate arrived (the brisket was a little chewy, though).
The place has a clean, cheerful vibe and the menu is extensive. We saw one couple splitting a banh mi and an order of pho, which might be a really nice way to go just to get a little more variety. Portions are large and more than adequate for splitting. Overall, a very nice addition to Santa Fe. Thanks for the tip, Finlero!