580 Grand Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Our Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Cards: Cash Only
Hours: Noon-10pm Daily
Subway: L to Lorimer St.
TAGS: Cheap, Lorimer, Recommended, Vietnamese, ★★★★ Great
Great news for all Vietnamese food lovers-Bánh Mì has opened an expanded Williamsburg location in the former Curves Gym on Grand Street. The owners Vu Bui, Dung Trinh, and Thomas Bui are three Brooklyn-raised Vietnamese (“Brooklyn-mese”, as they called themselves) friends who met on a handball court as children. Now they’ve joined forces to open their third Vietnamese restaurant in Williamsburg (they also own the sit-down restaurant An Nhau on Bedford Avenue).
The larger Bánh Mì location on Grand Street is airy and bright with a colorful mural painted by okMitch who has also done work for Tarif, Northern Spy Food Co., St. Anslem, and many other local eateries. okMitch received inspiration for the mural from photos the three owners took during their various trips to Vietnam. Owner Dung Trinh said they wanted to expand their menu from the Bedford Avenue take-out shop and offer more rice dishes, pho, additional appetizers, Vietnamese milk shakes, and bubble tea along with ample seating. The dark wood tables scattered around the restaurant all have Café Du Monde coffee canisters to hold the spoons, forks, and chopsticks. When asked about the containers, Vu Bui said, “we’re Vietnamese, that is what we do. We take everything and recycle it, even the canisters from our coffee”.
We tried the Chicken Pho ($8), which is served with rice noodles, shredded chicken, bean sprouts, lettuce, chives, and fresh mint. The pho wasn’t too oily and had the perfect balance of broth and noodles. We also sampled the Lemongrass Chicken Sandwich ($5.50), which came on a toasted baguette with cucumber, pickled carrots, daikon, cilantro, and French mayo. Often Bánh Mì shops go overboard with the mayo on the sandwiches, but the mayo to sandwich ratio was perfect. If ordering the sandwich, we’d suggest getting a side since they aren’t particularly large. If you’re looking for something more filling we would suggest the Grilled Pork Chop served over rice ($9) or the Grilled Salmon with Sweet Lemongrass sauce and sugar snap peas on the side ($12). There are also a few options for vegetarians: Spicy Lemongrass Vermicelli with Tofu and Mushroom ($11), Vegetarian Banh Mi with Tofu and Mushrooms ($6), and the Summer or Veggie Roll (($5).
Slow dripped Vietnamese coffee is served with condensed milk ($2), along with home brewed Iced Tea ($2.50), Iced Coffee ($3.50), and Limeade ($2.50), which is a homemade traditional fresh-squeezed lime juice drink. The owners are working on their Beer and Wine license, which should be finalized in a few weeks. There is no dessert offered yet, but except to see bubble tea, ice cream, sorbet, and chocolate lava cake in next month or so. Delivery is coming soon.