Okay, so there is some Banh Mi along Hyperion Ave.
Hyperion is neighborhood buried in a narrow crevasse in the heart of Los Angeles. You start in Glendale/Los Feliz and if you keep traveling through you’ll find your way to Hollywood. It’s a way I’ve found that gets me to the Arclight Hollywood in record time…sometimes.
It’s also a hipster neighborhood. Lots of theaters and tattoo parlors and a perpetually busy Trader Joe’s (which causes most of the traffic jams on Hyperion Ave).
They’ve also got food. Lots of it. Lots of new, and up and coming restaurants, and as a humble food blogger, it’s my duty to check ’em out. It’s my duty to check out O Banh Mi.
You will not find a place that is more low key than O Banh Mi.
You will not find a place that is invisible than O Banh Mi. Because at the time of our visit, the sign was hand-written in magic marker on the glass door.
Inside, is even more low key. A bench to sit and eat your grub at. A cash register. A small condiment station. That’s it. It’s almost as if the owners decided that all they had to do was show up, start making sandwiches and the people would just come.
The Sandwich I had at O Banh Mi was pretty good, not without it’s flaws (see below), but good. O Banh Mi could survive in Rosemead. The only thing is…even at the comparatively low low price of $7.50 these are still the most expensive Banh Mi I’ve ever had.
It’s a lot of work to get to, if you’re coming in from somewhere that’s not Hyperion. You’ve got a lot of work to do to find the place, and the price. These are the factors that are going to determine O Banh Mi’s survival in the future. Good luck to them.
WHAT SHOULD I GET?: For the $7.50, you are getting a pretty good sandwich on some pretty amazing bread.
I ordered their Number 1, the Thit Ngoui / Dac Biet (aka, Cold Cuts). The bread was amazing. Really fresh, golden brown with a tasty crust. The sandwich inside, the mixed meat-loaf I’ve had at places like Golden Deli was okay. That’s not fair, it was better than okay, it just didn’t knock my socks off.
My sandwich, and I’m guessing they were off their game a bit that day, didn’t have a lot of sauce (Mayonnaise in a typical Banh Mi case). The Mayo would have added a smooth creamy, tasty finish to what starts off as a good sandwich. What I tasted was all good, but….that little bit of flavor is what I was miss.
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: The Banh Mi at O Banh Mi are the most expensive in town.
No, I’m not kidding.
Granted, we’re talking $7.50 for a sandwich, which isn’t much compared to other establishments. But since I’ve been able to nab Banh Mi in the SGV for $2.50 or $3, the price is a bit of surprise.
Why? Well, I’m betting it boils down to location, location, location.
O Banh Mi is trying to bring Vietnamese Sandwiches to a hipster neighborhood in a tight crevasse of land. All well and good. But they’re a bit away from their supply (which is probably cheaper in the San Gabriel Valley), and the rents are higher here (as opposed to places like Rosemead). You factor those two things in, and all of the sudden, it makes a lot of sense that these things are costing $7.50.
But the good news is, they have the Banh Mi market to themselves.
Also, got to say. They only do lunch hours. Place shuts down at 3:00pm.
And needless to say, the place is cash only.
PARKING: No lie, this is a bit of a tough place to park. For one, you’re going to have to actually…you know…find the restaurant…which is buried in the shade amongst the trees, and scattered in with some residences
Straight up…you will not see it from the street. Need I remind you:
That is a picture of the restaurant. Good luck.
So, you’ll be parking along the meters on Hyperion. O Banh Mi Is the size of a Walk-In Closet, so to expect them to have their own lot is a bit much. The only question is how far you’ll be from the front door when you land that space. Look at the picture above. Make a mental not when you get there, and try not to park too far down the hill.
Like I did.
O Banh Mi
1997 Hyperion Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Tel: (323) 665-1941
Daily: 12:00 – 4:00 pm