Location: 4142 Brooklyn Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98105
Review Date: 2014-03-06
This place is wonderful. I can only speak for the tofu báhn mì because it's the only thing I've bought there. But I can speak wonderful things about it. Tofu báhn mì is my go-to lunch and this is the best version I've had in Seattle.
Most places use a more or less standard extra firm tofu block deep fried. At Saigon Deli they cut it much thinner, season the tofu heavily, and fry it so that the outside is flaky and the inside is moist. It's much closer to the more typical chicken or pork báhn mì than what you are probably used to. And its much better. Adding the egg is definitely the wise choice.
The atmosphere is fine and the service is super quick. If you are taking the sandwich to go, you can be in and out in 5 minutes for under $5. I've yet to do better in terms of value in the neighborhood.
Banh Mi Unwrapped
Location: 4725 University Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105
Review Date: 2014-03-07
Bahn Mi Unwrapped is a completely solid option for báhn mì in the University District. As a báhn mì fanatic, I love the idea of a restaurant so specialized in the sandwich that they put it in their name. BMU is not a disappointment.
As a vegetarian, I can only speak for the tofu báhn mì but the sandwich is well executed and tasty. I bought it with an egg. The egg was done perfectly (just a tiny bit runny in the center). The bread was very clearly cut off a baguette instead of a separate French roll which is a nice touch. They give you the option of a chive spread or other sauces which was also nice. The tofu was rather thinly sliced (one key to a great tofu báhn mì, in my opinion) but did not seem to be seasoned beyond that (too bad). The total out the door is about what you'd pay at other places on the Ave.
There are option special báhn mì including roasted eggplant for the vegetarians and a large number of more unusual options for the carnivores which you are unlikely to find in other places.
Space wise, there is sort of a lunch counter style take-out operation at the front with a dining room at the back. The setup makes it easy and quick to come and grab a sandwich to go.
For my money, I still think Saigon Deli does the better tofu sandwich. That said, you certainly won't go wrong here.