East Borough Pork Banh Mi
Tried the new Vietnamese joint in Culver City yesterday, East Borough. I was mainly interested in trying their banh mi. I haven't really found too many satisfying banh mis in Los Angeles, so I'm always hungry for a new option. Especially one that seems to use better quality ingredients.
I popped in for a late lunch around 2pm on a rainy afternoon. The place was half full. Sandwich came out pretty quickly. It was quite delectable. Best banh mi I've had in LA for quite some time. And probably my new favorite, assuming the quality holds up on subsequent visits.
The bread was nicely lightly toasted, and not overly toasted as I've experienced at some places which can lead to tiny cuts throughout my mouth. The grilled pork was tender and flavorful, and lean enough, but not overly lean. Plenty of pickled veggies, including daikon. And of course, a nice slater of aioli.
It's admittedly a bit pricey at $11, but considering how much I enjoyed it, it's worth it to me. Even if it is nearly $4 more than it's Costa Mesa location.
My other favorite banh mis for reference...
Banh Mi My Tho -- Favorite Banh Mi just a short drive from LA
Mendocino Farms -- Although hardly a traditional banh mi, it's still pretty good, especially if you swap the ciabatta out for something vaguely more traditional
Spice Table (RIP) -- They used to have some seriously amazing banh mi-esque sandwiches on their lunch menu before they closed
Slanted Door/Out the Door -- Located in SF, I used to enjoy their "Saigon Roast Pork Sandwich" nearly every week
Saigon Sandwich -- Also located in SF, traditional style banh mi with a large heaping of pate
I've noticed that most (if not all) of LA's banh mi shops do not include pate on their sandwiches. Wish they would... The addition of that to East Borough's grilled pork banh mi would be divine. Might have to ask if they'll do that next time.
They also have a "Pho" banh mi with brisket and a sidecar of pho which I'm interested to sample.
Looks good but $11 for a bánh mì is crazy! You could get 4 of them at BMMT for that price. I hope everything on that sandwich was organic, hand picked, shade grown, blessed by a monk, etc.
As for the pâté, usually you need to specify you want your bánh mì done "đặc biệt" (special/deluxe) style
Didn't have the BM (at least not THAT BM) -- they don't have it on the night menu, I don't think -- but I enjoyed my meal at EB.
Pork Belly and Egg
Head on Shrimp
Cauliflower - Long beans
All the food was tasty - and not too sweet which these fusiony places tend to over do. Trout had a big lemongrass stick in it that it was roasted around - clever.
Cocktails were good but took forever to get and required reminding.
Agree with what others have said, that it ain't cheap.
I'll add on here, went for lunch the other day as well. Had the pork vermicelli (couldn't bring myself to spend $12 on a Bahn Mi). I'd put it in the squarely in the "great for nearby, wouldn't drive for it" category. The dish overall was light and well balanced but the sauce was missing some flavor and didn't really add in the way that I've had it in other places. That said, I really enjoyed the roll that came with it, one of the better imperial rolls I've had. All in all I'd definitely come back to try more. Also J Gold was in the house at lunch so I'd imagine a review will come soon.