Serious Eats: Chicago
A Sandwich a Day: Le Banh Mi at Toni Patisserie and Café
As much as I've loved the sandwich offerings at Toni Patisserie and Café in the Loop, I've been putting off trying one in particular: Le Banh Mi ($9.95). See, I'm one of those killjoys who believes that a bánh mì is't a bánh mì without a crackly rice flour baguette. Getting caught up on the specifics sounds needlessly picky, but it usually saves me from inferior versions that try to sub in squishy rolls for the real thing. Thing is, I knew Toni's baguette was anything but soft; the slender bread has a crisp and browned exterior, along with a chewy interior. Perhaps this one could be different.
I should have paid more attention to the "le" in the sandwich's title, because instead of shying away from the challenge, the restaurant obviously decided to play up the Frenchiness of the creation as much as possible. Forget the thin sliver pâté found on most bánh mìs, Toni Patisserie adds a generous hunk of house-made pâté. A great baguette and creamy pâté? That's something I can always appreciate, especially when the fattiness is cut by pickled carrots and daikons. Of course, if you are looking for a more traditional version, try checking with this list.