You Say, “Good Bao”, I Say, “Hello!”


Baoguette | 61 Lexington Ave. (at 25th/26th Sts.), New York, NY 10010 | 212.532.1133 | baoguette.com


TO QUOTE AN Ice Cube ditty: “Today was a good day.” Moreso because I ws conflicted as to which activity to pursue last night: hang out with other revelers, or to stay in and sleep in reverie. I chose the latter, and woke up this morning primed to enjoy a creative, productive and enjoyable day.

That day started this morning with receiving a positive review of a spec design for a website page for a new client. That always buys me some time to reward myself with some fun, so I went to see the movie, Brüno, the local Loews theater on 86th and 3rd, which offers tickets for all film showings before noon for a price of $6 each. So I went; no line, and not that many previews. The movie itself was “meh”, but I was glad I went to a theater and didn’t do what I always do which is to wait until its on Netflix and topically no longer relevant.

Knowing full well I was going to check out this new place called Baoguette for lunch after the movie. Baoguette is the, I beleive, second endeavor of up-and-coming Vietnamese chef, Michael Bao Huynh, who also opened Bar Bao on West 82nd & Columbus. Baoguette has been getting a lot of press—in the food community—for its banh mí sandwich, having been touted as the best on many restaurant lists, food blogs, and menu search reviews. It’s the new hot sandwich of the year, so I had to check it out!

Baoguette is located on Lexington between 24th & 26th Streets, so I jumped down the stairs to the Downtown 6—which it pulled in a soon as I hit the platform!—and took a nice quick, air-conditioned trip down to the 28th Street stop with a handful of cute female tourists who asked me where Bryant Park was. (Thank you, theoretical God!)


86th & Lexington Ave. Subway Stop


Got off the subway, liking the fact that it wasn’t yet 12 o’clock; I wanted to beat what I had read/heard was a huge lunch rush, and was so excited about what would be my first meal of the day that I almost missed this stylish—yet—still—innocuous signage/awning for my intended destination:


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Looking in, I could see it was empty enough, and from the curb could smell the fresh bread that they spend the first 3 hours of the morning—before they open—making.


Baoguette Entrance 2


The shop is small—like the size of a Subway franchise shop—with the cashier abutting the kitchen station where they make each sandwich:


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I knew I had to try what is listed on the menu as The Classic; this would be my first banh mí, I would do it right. I only had my debit card—and they have a $10 minimum—so I had to order another. I chose the Spicy Catfish Sandwich, and and orange soda to wash it all down with.

The sandwiches take about 4–6 minutes to prepare, giving me enough time to grab a stool and take in the rest of my surroundings.


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If you can’t make out the last poster, it contains all the elements of this cracklin’, tasty hand meal. It basically lists the ingredients of the banh mi, which are ham, steamed pork roll seasoned with fish sauce, minced barbecued pork with a sweet glaze, pickled carrots and daikon radish, thin slices of cucumber, pork liver pâte, and fresh cilantro, all in a toasty baguette (banh mi is actually Vietnamese for baguette).

The sandwiches finally arrived; I unwrapped The Classic first:


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I then took my first bite…. The verdict? It’s a damn good sandwich. It’s actually very good! Now, would I recommend it to everyone? No. The flavor “profile” is very Vietnamese. If you’ve never had kimchee or are used to pickled veggies in your sandwiches, if you’re favorite sandwiches don’t get any more “outré” than grilled cheese and PB&J, then this might be a little overwhelming.

But if you like something that hits on all of your, salty, sweet, savory, spicy, acidic taste buds, with elements of cool crisp vegetables and warm bread—crunchy of the outside—and you actually remember if you’ve ever had paté and would not be freaked out that the ham is made from pig’s ear, (phew!) then this an extremely enjoyable sandwich to eat. It involves every part of your tongue, from the tip to the back of your throat. It gives the teath the satisfaction of getting a nice workout. It’s got a lot of aromatics that waft up through your nose. And it has the hot spice (especially with an added dollop of sriracha) to lift you off your seat by your nose and chest!


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The Spicy Catfish was just as good, with the flaky fresh catfish holding up to the texture of the bread’s crust and not getting lost in the extra “heat” that had my eyeballs sweating and my forehead crying….

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Once I finished, I realized that the place was starting to fill up pretty quickly and was still only 20 after 12. I snapped a few more shots as I walked out, sated with a great meal filling enough to carry me through the rest of the day (and only for $12!).


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I proceeded to do some shopping; all this “food”-ing has required me to buy a new pair of pants with a little wider waste. And I lost so much weight after giving up soda in the spring! But even they were on discount, with no tax, and no line to buy them.

I jumped back on the 6 train uptown—again pulling into the station as I went through the turnstile!—and even had time to get a haircut, no wait!

Now it’s 7:30 p.m., I’m still full, and I feel like celebrating such a great day. Party, anyone…?!

Bun Apple Tea!

.kac.

Baoguette on Urbanspoon


Baoguette | 61 Lexington Ave. (at 25th/26th Sts.), New York, NY 10010 | 212.532.1133 | baoguette.com



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