Bánhwich Café features Vietnamese sandwiches

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Bài gởiGởi bởi: Hai 10 08, 2012 9:41 pm    Tiêu đề: Bánhwich Café features Vietnamese sandwiches

Dining review: Bánhwich Café features Vietnamese sandwiches

ADAM WOLFFBRANDT/Lincoln Journal Star

Banhwich Cafe's Bulgogi Croissant. Pictured with fruit frozen yogurt on Monday, Oct. 01, 2012.

October 05, 2012 5:00 am • By JEFF KORBELIK

Bánhwich Café

940 N. 26th St., Suite 201
Lincoln, NE 68503

Atmosphere: Casual

Specialty: Banh mi sandwiches, bubble tea

Payment: Cash, major credit cards

Cost: Sandwiches, $3.75 to $4.50; bubble tea, $3.75

Hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday and Wednesday through Saturday; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday; closed Tuesday

Phone: 402-261-4655

Web: www.banhwichcafe.com

Notes: Takeout or dine-in, parking, no alcohol

Hoang Nguyen closed his new sandwich shop two days after opening at the end of August.

“We anticipated, with no advertisements, no menus and no website, that we would not have a lot of people,” Nguyen said. “We thought we would sell a couple of sandwiches, some smoothies, maybe some yogurt.”

Instead, the new Bánhwich Café at 27th and Y streets, was slammed. Nearby businesses and factories were ordering 15 to 20 sandwiches at a time.

“We didn’t anticipate that,” he said. “It was like every fifth person was ordering for a group.”

So Nguyen, who co-owns Bánhwich with his girlfriend, Linh Nguyen, shut down for four days and installed a second prep station, with one employee dedicated to large orders.

“Right now, we’re doing really well,” Nguyen said. “I’m still working on service and trying to get food out efficiently.”

Bánhwich Café is part of the new Saigon Plaza, a strip mall just off the MoPac Trail. The store specializes in Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches, bubble teas and frozen yogurt.

Nguyen comes to Lincoln from Kansas City, Mo., where he served as director of operations for a Japanese restaurant chain. He provides the business know-how, while Linh Nguyen is responsible for the culinary part of the operation. The sandwiches are her family recipes.

Banh mi sandwiches are hard, baguette-like rolls filled with meat, vegetables, herbs, pate (usually liver) and mayonnaise. Veggies and herbs include cucumber slices, pickled carrots, cilantro, radishes and peppers, in this case hot jalapenos.

What sets each sandwich apart are the meats. At Bánhwich, they include two beef -- one featuring a sweet teriyaki sauce -- spicy Thai chicken, grilled pork and cold cuts. Nguyen hopes to introduce another four sandwiches within the next two weeks. They range from a very reasonable $3.75 to $4.50 each.

I’m a big fan of banh mi sandwiches, having discovered them years ago at one of the Vietnamese groceries on North 27th Street.

They are tasty. I like the combination of cilantro, pickled carrots and jalapenos. I highly recommend Bánhwich’s Korean beef, the one with the sweet teriyaki sauce.

Also high on my list at Bánhwich are the Vietnamese waffles, which Nguyen said have been flying out of the cafe.

“We spent summer messing with the recipes into what we have today,” he said.

The vanilla-tasting waffles includes pandan extract, which gives them their green coloring and more of their sweet flavor. The waffles are $1.84 each, and complement the spicy sandwiches well.

As do the bubble teas, which are flavored smoothies with tapioca. The cafe currently has 10 options -- I tried the banana and the pineapple. They cost $3.75 each and make for a nice dessert.

Also at Bánhwich, you’ll find frozen yogurt, cheesecake and squid salad. Grade: B+

Think Jimmy John’s, but not as fast -- at least not yet. Patrons order at one window, receive a number and pick up their food at another window.

Sandwiches are made on the spot, and because many of them include grilled meats, they take a little time to prepare. Bubble teas also are made to order.

On one of my two visits, co-worker Cory Matteson and I put in our order following a 30-sandwich order. We grimaced, thinking we might be waiting awhile. But Nguyen prepared our sandwiches, while another person worked on the big order. Whew! Grade: B-

The cafe is set up for takeout, with only four yellow metal tables with chairs for dine-in customers. That, believe it or not, is actually too many tables because they leave little room for those standing and waiting for their orders. But once the sandwich-making becomes more efficient, this won’t be an issue. Grade: C
Vegetarian friendly

Bánhwich did not have a vegetarian sandwich option on its menu, but one could be made upon request. The sweet waffles are a must-try. There’s also frozen yogurt and a dessert case filled with a variety of sweets, including cheesecake. Grade: C

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