Saturday, February 16, 2013

my oh my oh mai

By the time Friday night rolled around, after a long day at work and then climbing the equivalent of the CN Tower on the Stairmaster at the gym, I wasn't much in the mood for going out for a date night.  Nor was I in the mood for cooking dinner so it was fortuitous that a work friend recommended Oh Mai to me.  We were headed out for lunch, to a Vietnamese place, and talking about good places to get pho.  The conversation then turned to banh mi - which I had not yet had but was anxious to try - and she told me that she loved Oh Mai's banh mi.  Oh Mai has two locations, one near her house, and she and her husband go regularly since not only are the banh mi delicious, but they're inexpensive.  Tasty and cheap?  Sign me up - especially since the restaurant's second location is right next to my gym.

I wanted to get several sandwiches so we could try a variety and H authorized me to pick them without input from him since I know what he doesn't like, like tomatoes and mushrooms.  The Holladay Oh Mai is small, with a number of tables for eating in and chairs to wait in if you're taking out.  They serve banh mi (sandwiches), pho (soup), bun (vermicelli noodles) and a couple of Vietnamese salads and rice dishes.  Although my friend said their pho is also good, I was there for the banh mi.  The very fresh sandwiches are served on 8" baguettes although the vegetarian and vegan options are available on lettuce wraps for a gluten-free experience.

I got four sandwiches, the total bill coming to under $20; we couldn't finish it all, with two half sandwiches left over for apres-ski snacks.  I got:

  • Original Cold Cuts / Dac Biet - steamed pork roll, ham, pork head cheese, garlic-butter, pork pate, mayonnaise, cucumber, cilantro, pickled carrots and daikon, green onion and jalapeno ($3.98)
  • Honey-glazed Pork / Thit Nuong - pork, garlic-butter, oiled scallions, cucumber, cilantro, picked carrots and daikon, jalapeno and chili-lime fish vinaigrette ($4.18)
  • Shredded Pork / Bi - pork, roasted rice powder, pork skin, oiled scallions, cucumber, cilantro, pickled carrots and daikon, jalapeno, garlic-chili fish dressing ($3.68)
  • Spicy Beef Short Rib / Bo Dai Han - chopped short rib meat, kim chee, ginger, oiled scallions, cucumber, cilantro, sriracha sauce, garlic-chili fish dressing ($4.98)
H liked the spicy beef the best (it was delicious but very spicy - I'm not sure my stomach could take a whole sandwich, although it was fine with a half) and I liked the cold cuts.  I probably should have picked a better variety as the other two were fairly similar - there's a sardine one I'm intrigued by - but I didn't want to get too crazy our first time out.  The bread was wonderful, flaky crust and chewy interior; the sandwich fillings were so fresh and bursting with flavor; the sauces pulled everything together without making things soggy.  Fantastic.

After just this one outing, I have become a huge fan, both of banh mi in general and of Oh Mai specifically.  The food is great, the prices unbeatable.  If they served beer there, I'd probably be in there weekly.  As it is, I'm thrilled to have discovered a new reasonable local place serving such fresh and flavorful food.  Oh Mai just made my short list.

No comments:

Post a Comment