Yes, Q is crazy. And it takes WAAAYY too long to get a sandwich. I don't want it "Made to order". Bahn Mi is supposed to be fast and cheap. it's street food for God's sake. I don't want a floor show, just a damned sandwich. Shut up for 30 seconds and assemble my lunch. i don't' care about your family, your children, your life history. I didn't come here to make friends; I just want lunch. Perhaps she should open a "no chit-chat" express lane.
And the writer lauds the inclusion of Siracha, but what about those who don't like spicy food (which i do, but it's the principle). She just ruined my damn sandwich! Why don't you treat me like an adult, just sit the bottle on the counter, and let me apply my own hot sauce.
Q is close, though. and i'm not sure the faults add up to a reason to NOT go, if i'm already in the neighborhood. Sure it costs more, but it's close, both physically and metaphorically. I would like to see her add grilled pork, the king of bahn mi meat. last i saw, she was cooking the chicken on a George Foreman, to order. That's part of her problem. I don't mind the chicken being pre-cooked. it's OK. Again, street food.
And the writer is right, Quac's chicken is often dry and stringy. Best chicken in my opinion is at lee's. Same for pork. I prefer Lee's to Quac all-around, but it's the Assi Plaza location in Norcross.
the real question here is not "who has the best bahn mi?" but "Is Suki suki as good as BuHi?" the answer: not quite, but almost. Most of Suki's problems comes from management, not quality or taste. Speed up the process. There should never be a line out the door for a sandwich that takes 2 minutes to prepare. Improve the 'real grilled flavor' of the chicken (sorry, dude, it's just not that good). Solve those issues, and you'll find a long list of regular customers coming back. I've walked away because of the line. She's losing profit because of it. Grow up. Buy a grill. Hire some help. or better yet, hire a consultant. that's what they do - advise new restaurants on how to streamline their business.
I live in the area. I love bahn mi. I want her to succeed. But for now, I'll drive out of my way to go to Lee's. i won't stand in line for more than 10 minutes at Suki, just on principle. It shouldn't take that long.
Ehh, I don't think it was malicious. Besides, most of the Asian cultures are bigger soy-niks than even the frailest of American vegetarians.
Nad, it's funny you mention getting meat.
I was talking with my wife about going to a spot on Buford Highway with some vegetarian friends. She said it wouldn't be a good idea because those type places always nod their heads when you request vegetarian substitutes and bring out some ground pork anyway.
I am a pescatarian. Haven't eaten mammal in nearly 5 years. I tried a new place on Byoof Hwy (down south a bit, by the airport) a few weeks ago and ordered the tofu bahn mi. I pointed at the sign and said "tofu" and "vegetarian" a few times, as there was obviously a language barrier.
I took it home and started eating. It was not tofu. It was most definitely meat -- not very high quality or flavorful meat, but meat nonetheless. I didn't give a rat's nuts. I plowed right through it. I haven't told a soul, not even my ol' lady. I still don't give a rat's nuts, either. That bread...ooo...that spicy vegetable crunch. Ooo.
I can tell you anything, CL.
"The banh mi should be the sandwich that spells doom for the modern American fast-food crisis. This bargain of French-Vietnamese fusion comes cheap and fresh, fills you up, and is packed with enough flavor and crunchy contrast to obliterate almost any fast-food burger. Alas, we do not live in a perfect world. A perfect world would have banh mi hawkers on every corner, pleasing the masses with a (relatively) healthy and near-pinnacle example of what a sandwich can be."
I take it that you like banh mi?
Seriously, though, there surely are people who do not like banh mi just as there are people who don't like tuna sandwiches or pastrami on rye. And believe it or not, some people don't like veggies of any type on their sandwiches. Fast-food burgers are not going to disappear in our lifetimes.
Yay Bahn Mi! I've been working close to BuHi for over a decade now and I've had a chance to sample versions from many different places for lunch. Quoc Huong and Viet Tofu are my favorites. Lee's Bakery is a cute little place but I've had some duds there with the Bahn Mi -- inconsistent quality.
Ba Le on BuHi, near the Chicago Supermarket, deserves honorable mention. But if you're in that area you might as well just get the best at nearby Quoc Huong.
I also want to mention MidCity Cafe on West Peachtree. They make a really impressive Bahn Mi for a place that's at the bottom of a midtown condo building (they have just a tiny menu of a few mostly-Vietnamese items). Pretty unexpected. Their egg Bahn Mi is honestly one of the best I've had.
Clockwise Cat, don't make any more comments or UC Owner-B will pop up and say...
a) Snobbish? You must have misinterpreted the situation.
b) Their establishment is light years beyond anything in the surrounding area, therefore priced appropriately.
c) Stay away, we prefer serving friends only.
d) All of the above.
EAV fan, I agree with you about the UC owners. They just aren't very friendly at all. In fact, downright snobbish. Their food is great, but overpriced. I wish Q could tone it down and that the UC owners would relax into friendliness a bit more. There IS a happy medium, no?
Q is a bit crazy, in a somewhat charming but mostly annoying way, IMO. That said, her sandwiches are pretty damn good. I would like to try the Buford HWY ones too. And $4 is CHEAP, especially when juxtaposed to the prices at adjacent Urban Cannibals. I do like UC food, but I rarely go cuz it's just too pricey. We Suki Suki is good, though...I just kinda wish she'd not feel the need to "perform" while making the sandwiches. I just want my damn food...I'm not there for for theatre, ya know?
Great review, Brad. Thanks for letting people know about this great new addition to EAV. We Suki Suki has been great about altering the sriracha/mayo/jalapeno mix when I ask.
I admire Q for her moxie and her congeniality, which makes those sandwiches worth the wait.
Her EAV neighbors next door could take a lesson.
We make banh mi at home a lot.
Most of these places will sell you the baguettes three for a dollar. The pickled veggies are just daikon or carrot soaked in vinegar and last forever in the fridge. Mix a little sriracha with some mayo, throw in a handful of cilantro, whatever meat is on hand, and you're golden.
Viet Tofu on Buford/Chamblee Tucker gets my vote for the meatless version. Add some sticky rice with taro...got yourself a good meal. Amen.
Deanslist, thanks for the comments. Yes, some will definitely think We Suki Suki's chicken in particular is over-seasoned vs most other banh mi - the maggi/soy sauce and sriracha are both very present (not so on the dac biet). I didn't feel that the spice/flavor threw things out of balance, though.
As for time to prep sandwiches, We Suki Suki does it right in front of you, and it's clear they are making to order, so I'll forgive them being a bit slow out of the gate (and, yes, think they will speed up over time as they learn). Quoc Huong (or Lee's - which I also really like, Kuduzguy) can be faster, but I've also been to Quoc Huong or Lee's when they were slammed and it took up to 10 minutes to get my sandwiches simply because there was a long list of people with orders in ahead of me.
I'm a huge fan of Lee's Bakery version of this sandwich. Maybe I need to expand my horizons.
Overseasoning with an excessive use of mayo, Sriracha and maggi seasoning almost defeats the delicate balance of the banh mi. While it doesn't go so far as to ruin it and offers a bit of a kick, I prefer a little more balance and more fresh jalapeños.
I say while the location justifies the price increase and markup, I was unimpressed by the service and amount of time it takes to make a sandwich. On Buford Hwy sandwiches are knocked out in anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. We Suki Suki takes much much longer, causing long lines and wait times of up to 30 minutes.
Don't get me wrong, I am THRILLED about the availability of quality ethnic food away from Buford Hwy. I hope they do well and build a huge following. But I also hope they get their sh*t together and learn how to assemble a banh mi much faster.
I just wanted to let you know that we are always happy to do a coconut cream pie with meringue instead of whipped cream because some people do prefer it that way like yourself. We just need 24 hours notice.
Mims & Pie Shop
I'm a stickler for details and to me, a properly made coconut cream pie must have a big fluffy toasted meringue, not whipped cream. Whipped cream is a quick, and to me, unacceptable substitute.
Bugs, true, but a whole pie could feed quite a few. Slices are $4.60, and generously portioned savory pot pies and hand pies are $5-$7. That fits "Cheap Eats."
$32 for a pie is not Cheap Eats!
As a pie afficianado living in Panama City Beach, dropping in at the Buckhead Pie Shop is just an occasional treat. That's why we tell our Atlanta friends that the price of admission to our PCB guest room is a Pie Shop pie. So far, so good...better than good, DELICIOUS!
Creative Loafing Atlanta
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