Lam’bretta Banh Mi at Xe May – NYC
In terms of banh mi, $7 may seem a lot, but at Xe May Sandwich Shop, in exchange, you get variety you normally wouldn’t find at a regular Vietnamese sandwich shop.
For example, The Lam’bretta ($7) is a baguette filled with the usual banh mi fixins’ [cilantro, pickled carrots, daikon, cucumber, and mayo (in this case, chili mayo] and thinly sliced lamb in a coconut curry. (Fresh jalapeño and Sriracha is optional.) It’s a nice combination as the pickled vegetables cut the slight gaminess of the lamb, although I wouldn’t mind more daikon and less carrots in the mix. No complaints, however, with the bread which is unbelievably crisp yet light to the bite. If desired, most of the fillings can also be had in a soft tortilla for banh mi-style tacos, but in doing so, you’d miss out on the excellent bread. I recommend sticking to the sandwiches.
For purists, Xe May also sells a classic banh mi with bbq pork, headcheese, pork roll, and pâté, but if you wanted traditional, you probably wouldn’t be in Xe May to begin with.