Bánh Mì goodness, but this time in Monterey Park.
I’ve done the Mr. Baguette thing before. I enjoyed it…well enough. (What can I say? I’m a sucker for Banh Mi.)
Not the greatest Banh Mi I’ve ever had, but serviceable.
I was on way to another joint in Monterey Park, but…it was Cash Only and…well…
Fine, I was too lazy to hit an ATM, and the siren call of Banh Mi hit me again. Okay? Satisfied?
Ahhhh. Bánh Mì.
If you’ve read any part of this blog, I think my devotion to these little porky gems is both clear and abiding.
Still, do you think it’s necessary for me to try every single Bánh Mì restaurant in Los Angeles.
Well, sure…if I can.
So, now that we got that out of the way. It’s on to my next task, finding more Bánh Mì joints to try out. Now, I find myself at Mr. Baguette.
I think I’ve written before that a lot of Bánh Mì places are not…obvious. It’s not like they all have “Bánh Mì” in their names. There are exceptions of course…and for the most part, I’ve already been to them. So I want more. Where do I go?
Well even though I love ‘em, Bánh Mì is not a high end item, and like with Bánh Mì & Cali Che, or Ba Le, or even the remarkable Bánh Mì My Tho the places that sell them are repurposed from convenience stores of the past, or restaurants long gone.
There was something else in the Mr. Baguette locale I’d been too before. Probably a big Coffee Shop or Full-service Family restaurant.
But now they’re all about the Bánh Mì. Let’s rock.
It’s quiet inside, at least it was when I was there. It’s a huge counter. I mean huge, stretching the length of the restaurant. In back. A crew works making bread, Vietnamese bakery goods and other treats. The mood is mellow. Folks kicking back with a cup of coffee, reading Vietnamese language newspapers.
But I’m all about the sandwich.
The place is simple enough to work. Step up to the counter and order up. After that, wait for a couple of minutes as your sandwich is prepared. Sit. Eat. Enjoy.
The main difference between this location and the one in Rosemead…this one looked brand spanking new. I’m serious. Nice Retail complex. Nice modern design. Spacious. Well lit. The works.
Still, rather go to Golden Deli, but this will do you in a pinch.
WHAT SHOULD I GET?: The Grilled Pork is what I nabbed…originally. It was really good, through not lip smackingly hot and fresh pieces of Grilled Pork, on good bread (which is what I think Mr. Baguette concentrates on), with a very light smear of Mayo. Actually you can barely taste the mayo. And the usual suspects, carrot, cilantro, some peppers.
This visit, I went with a Meat Loaf, which…I don’t know…since it’s mostly what we’d view as Porky-good Cold Cuts…still does provide a taste punch that’s above the Grilled Pork. It was good, and I’d have it again…but more importantly…I’d have it again at Golden Deli in San Gabriel.
The Bánh Mì are not the best in town, by any means, but they’re not bad either. Is there such a thing as a bad Bánh Mì? No. The Grilled Pork was okay, but that explosion of flavors I’m used to, that wonderful melange of Jalapeños, Daikon Radish, Carrots, Mint Leaves and Mayo…not there, at least…not with as much punch as I’d get a Golden Deli (my favorite Bánh Mì, ever). Still the bread was good, and it’s not like I’d give back that sandwich ever. So, overall not bad. Pretty good even.
And since they don’t do sodas, I rolled with one of their Strawberry Smoothies. Actually pretty damn good, better than the sandwich, and I liked the Sandwich. I’d do this again.
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: Just like the other location. No sodas here. Just Fruit Smoothies for your beverage. Not a bad way to go, and you’ll still only be out ten bucks. Other than that…
PARKING: Plentiful and free. This Mr. Baguette is a part of a very large, and very nice Retail complex, and you won’t have any problem finding parking.
Mr. Baguette (Monterey Park)
400 S. Atlantic Blvd.
Monterey Park, CA 91754
Tel: (626) 282-9966
Daily: 7:00 am – 8:00 pm