The Bánh Mì Taste Test: Boerum Hill

as Matt and I walked down Atlantic Avenue last weekend to browse their row of mid-century modern furniture shops, a Vietnamese sandwich, or bánh mì, at Nicky’s was definitely on his agenda. it was a beautiful day, people were out, indulging in as much of the springtime tease as possible (Saturday- warm, sunny; today- snow!)– it was the perfect day for a bánh mì for sure.

we found Nicky’s at the corner of Atlantic and Smith St., a tiny little place with just a few tables and a bar looking out into the street. this would be Nicky’s second outpost- their first being in the East Village on 2nd and A. Lydia (one of my favorite foodies who we just lost to the London fog- come back Lydia!) used to rave about Nicky’s in the city so this was exciting that they opened a shop in my borough.

i don’t know what i was thinking, but i completely forgot to take a picture of our sandwich at Nicky’s, so bear with me. we ordered the Classic, and for $4, it’s the best deal on Atlantic, as far as i can tell. the baguette was filled with pâté, ham, ground pork, pickled carrot, cucumbers, cilantro, jalapeño, and mayo. Matt says that the bread was warm and crispy (i don’t remember this, but he said he watched them toast it). the ham was not as good as it could be, but i loved the contrast of the spicy jalapeño peppers and the sweet ground pork. Matt said that he likes his pork roasted, so he wasn’t so into this.

when we were done with the sandwich, i wanted another. i had stupidly not ordered one cause i thought i wasn’t hungry, which is always a HUGE MISTAKE (Matt agrees here). but honestly, i wasn’t bowled over by the sandwich so i had this brilliant idea to hunt down this other Vietnamese sandwich place in Boerum Hill i had heard about.

so i used NY Mag’s new text messaging feature to find the place– i typed in “Food Vietnamese Boerum Hill” (seriously, you New Yorkers need to program this number into your phones) and a second later came the words “Hanco’s, 85 Bergen St., near Smith St.” right down the block! what luck! we were on our way.

right off the bat, let me say that Hanco’s makes a better sandwich. we ordered the pork sandwich (above- this time, i didn’t forget to take a pic!) which included grilled pork, mayo, butter, pickled carrots and daikon, and cilantro. the baguette came out hot and crispy (i definitely noticed this) and the pork was sweet and tender. we asked for the “spicy” version, and it was VERY spicy- my mouth was on fire when by the time the sandwich came to the last sad bite, but it was worth it. for $4.25, it was absolutely worth the 5 minute walk from Nicky’s. they serve different bubble teas too, for you boba tea fanatics (Anmol). inside, there are a few tables, and a magazine rack full of new magazines, so it’s a good place to kill some time– grab a bargain meal AND get the newest scoop on which country Brangelina are adopting from this week in US Weekly. awesome.

i must say that i am incredibly impressed by the fact that there is not one but TWO bánh mì joints within a 5 block radius in Boerum Hill. Matt still says that he likes the place on Mott and Broome in Chinatown better, but i would say this satisfied our craving just fine (right Matt?). i am yet to go down to Sunset Park where there are supposedly these shops lined up, but i sure am happy that there is one closer to home. *k*

foot note: there is this new, cute little gourmet grocer around Smith and Bergen called Chop Chop that was very minimal and sparse, carrying fresh pre-packaged salads, fruits and veggies, and racks of dry foods, such as these spices (i’m such a sucker for Colman’s mustard).

One Response to “The Bánh Mì Taste Test: Boerum Hill”

  1. tmonkey Says:

    Matt obviously has good taste, because the joint on Mott and Broome is my fave spot for banh mi. Other than the ones I make myself! 😉

    But thanks for the neighborhood tip! Awesome!

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