Although banh mi sandwiches have been trendy for a while now and regularly pop up on all sorts of menus around the city, there are relatively few restaurants in the city solely dedicated to Vietnamese cuisine. Enter Banh Mi and Ti in Lawrenceville, a cute new spot with a self-explanatory name.
Banh Mi and Rice Bowls Make for Numerous Options
The space is small and modern with a handful of seats inside and a handful more on the outdoor patio out front. The menu includes eight different banh mi options, each with a different protein, sauce, and toppings. If you're not into bread, you can order any of the sandwich options served over rice instead of on a sandwich. You order at the counter, and the servers bring the food to you.
A few of the protein options include drunken beef, chicken with lemongrass and garlic, a beef stew, fried tofu, or a vegan option with cabbage and other veggies and no mayo. We were in the mood for pork so we ordered a banh mi with pork belly and one with pork shoulder.
The pork belly option, the Xa Xiu, was cooked in a char xiu style and was very tender and juicy. The meat wasn't super fatty like pork belly can sometimes be, which was much appreciated. The pork shoulder option, the Pork ‘n Roll, was cooked with five spices and maple syrup which created a sweet and savory flavor.
All the banh mi options come topped with pickled carrots and cucumber, cilantro, and homemade mayo. The pickled veggies were crunchy and slightly tangy, while the cilantro added some freshness. I would have loved more mayo on the sandwich as the flavor was indiscernible.
For both sandwiches we had the option of adding sriracha and jalapenos on top, which we took advantage of. However, we felt both sandwiches could have used more heat, especially the Pork ‘n Roll, to balance the meat's fattiness and the overall sweetness.
A friend of ours got the traditional Viet Special and noted that it was kind of dry, which we could see as being a problem as it was basically a lunch meat style sandwich with the only sauce being a very small amount of mayo.
Grab a Bubble Tea While You're There
For bubble tea, options abound. You choose the type of tea (green, oolong, black), the flavoring (milk or fruity – and within each of these categories are dozens of options), then toppings (boba, popping boba, fresh fruit, etc.). If you choose the popping boba even these have flavors. My concoction of choice was taro milk tea with green tea and strawberry popping boba; Jeremy got oolong lavender milk tea with passion fruit boba. Both were creamy, fruity, and sweet but not too sweet.
Overall, this is a good choice for banh mi, especially if you go with one of the saucier protein options and add lots of sriracha and jalapenos which do the sandwich style justice.
Banh Mi and Ti is located at 4502 Butler Street in Lawrenceville.
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