Since I first drove past this restaurant two months ago, I have been excited to eat there. This past Friday was my chance. Having eaten a Vietnamese sandwich at the Eden Village in Washington DC this Summer, I knew that it could be a great experience.
As you turn in to the parking lot off of State St. you find that it’s not a parking lot but more of a driveway. It’s an old converted bungalow home with a few parking spots in back but most people line up on the side of the driveway. Much of the character has remained in the building and adds to the experience.
While waiting in line and reading the menu, you get hit with price shock. Not shock at high prices, but low. The Banh Mi (Vietnamese Sandwich) section of the menu has prices ranging from $3.98 for the Bi (Shredded Pork) up to $5.28 for a Bo Dai Han (Spicy Beef Short Rib). You immediately wonder if you need two sandwiches but then see them coming out of the kitchen and realize that you will be fine with one.
I ordered the Bo Dai Han Sandwich; not because I read the ingredients but because of the name. After ordering, I did read the ingredients and was excited: Kim chee, ginger, oiled scallions, cucumber, cilantro, siracha, and garlic-chili fish dressing. Sounds like an interesting combination.
The verdict: It’s Good, and has some fire with the siracha. The Kim chee, ginger, scallions, cucumber and cilantro adds a lot of freshness to the sandwich. The beef is crispy (I wonder if there is a little batter on it) and delicious. Rib meat is fabulous. All the Banh Mi are served on a 8″ baguette. These baguettes are baked to perfection with a soft inside and a crunchy exterior. Is it as good a sandwich as Caputo’s or Gandolfo’s? They are in totally different classes.
Sous Chef Jesse enjoyed his Dac Biet (Original) sandwich. It has steamed pork roll, jambon ham, pork head cheese, garlic-butter, pork pate, mayo, cucumber, cilantro, pickled carrots & daikon, salt & pepper, and jalapeno. He especially liked the daikon. My friend ordered the Dau Hu Xao Xa (Lemongrass Bean Curd) and also loved it.
|Sous Chef Jesse with his Dac Biet|
You have to admire those brave souls who open a restaurant. I was assisting a Chef this week who owned his own restaurants for 15 years. He spoke of the long hours and often low pay. He frankly burned himself out. The workers at Oh Mai certainly have passion and are very enthusiastic about their restaurant. Just last night I told three people how wonderful the food is and that I can’t wait to get back. Give them a try.