A Sandwich a Day: Saigon Classic Bánh Mì at Bánh Mì & Co.
I've been rooting for the Bánh Mì & Co. in East Lakeview since I wandered in one night shortly after its December opening, when the owners made an entire sandwich just so my companion and I could try a sample before ordering. The freshly warmed baguette alone would have convinced us to try their bánh mì. In fact, months later, the baguette is the reason I returned. Whereas the bread on most sandwiches is at most a complimentary support system and at least a vehicle through which to ingest a bunch of meat and vegetables without using utensils, the baguettes at Bánh Mì & Co. are the star of the sandwich.
Individually warmed after ordering, they come out with a reinforced crackly crust. Order the Saigon Classic ($4.85), and the baguette comes stuffed with ham, thinly sliced headcheese, soft pork roll, and salty, unctuous liver pate. The usual cilantro, jalapeño, mayo, and pickled carrots and dikon appear as well, though the latter are shaved, so their sweetness plays a bigger role than their crunchiness. On the other hand, the cucumber is cut thicker than usual and provides all the fresh crunchiness necessary. The beauty of so many ingredients literally jammed into a split baguette is that each bite is different than the last, but thanks to the strong bread, every one is delicious.