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Venerable Vietnamese bakery and purveyor of banh mi.

Our Review

A while ago Lincoln Square upstart Nhu Lan Bakery snatched banh mi supremacy away from this venerable Vietnamese bakery, but Ba Le Sandwich Shop has continued to thrive, benefiting from cheap prices and a prime location at the mouth of Little Saigon, aka "Asia on Argyle." It's a bright, modish space with plenty of indoor seating, a patio, and even a tight parking lot. The banh mi are freshly made to order on a brisk, efficient line, and while they're still a bit understuffed compared to their betters, the vegetables are crunchy, the meats cold or warm as appropriate, and the bread (made with rice flour) crackles to the tooth. Tapioca fruit smoothies come in interesting tropical flavors such as durian, jackfruit, or sapote, and milky iced coffee is sweet rocket fuel dripped to order. In the bank of refrigerated cases are composed portions of xoi, sticky rice snacks, packaged plain, with chicken legs, pork roll, and vegetables, or flavored with pandan leaf or coconut; tubes of the house-branded patés, headcheese, and other charcuterie; and a selection of the layered sweet puddings known as che—perhaps custard or coconut milk dotted with mung beans and other legumes, basil seeds, Jell-O bits, tapioca, longans, or jujubes.

Mike Sula

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Price: $
Payment Type: MasterCard, Visa

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