Mr. Sandwich offers a new banh mi spot in the heart of Chinatown
Wed, Sep 15, 2010 (7:40 p.m.)
Looks like there's a new banh mi shop in Chinatown, eh? Not really. Oh sure, Mr. Sandwich looks new. It's only been open for a couple months, smack in the middle of the original Chinatown Plaza on Spring Mountain. It's a cozy-yet-hip little store, with blonde wooden everything, young people serving the goods and hip-hop bumping in your ears.
- Mr. Sandwich
- 4215 Spring Mountain Road, 838-2888
- Daily, 9 a.m.-10 p.m.
Once you start exploring the menu, though, things begin to look very familiar: cool rice-paper shrimp rolls and crispy cha gio egg rolls, a variety of coconut milk or tea drinks, and those simple, numbered sandwiches that taste so good with their fatty cold cuts on crackling French bread. Is this banh mi better than the one up the street? It's the same.
Mr. Sandwich is a quick, condensed version of Hue Thai, a popular restaurant based in LA but opened in Vegas a few years ago in the Pacific Asian Plaza a few blocks west. The difference: Mr. Sandwich, who has a healthy mustache, a blank stare and is giving you the thumbs up in the new cafe's funny little logo, focuses almost entirely on the French-Vietnamese sandwiches, while Hue Thai also dabbles in exotic combo plates, spicy rice noodle dishes, pho and other soups. There are a few items listed on the Mr. Sandwich menu that actually are served only at Hue Thai, like the crispy crepe banh xeo. Ah, well, they'll sort things out.
If you like banh mi, you'll prefer Mr. Sandwich. It's smaller, which means your French roll is coming out faster and warmer. There are vegetarian sandwich options, but you're kind of missing the point by steering away from flavorful pâté, sardines, Chinese meat loaf or curry lamb. There also seems to be a larger portion of the lightly pickled carrots and daikon and fresh sliced jalapeno on these sandwiches, flavors and textures that really define banh mi. So overall, shrinking a restaurant into a sandwich shop appears to be a good idea. Simplicity wins again.