CMH Gourmand

Culinary Discovery & Misadventures in the Ice Cream Capital of the World (Columbus)

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Quick Byte: Indochine Cafe, Banh Mi

Posted by cmh gourmand on September 23, 2012

There is a lot to write about Indochine but today the topic is the staple sandwich of Vietnam, the Banh Mi. As presented and prepared at Indochine, I might refer to it as the Asian Value meal. I have tried most of the Banh Mi’s in town and by volume of consumption alone, I might lean towards the Mi Li Cafe Version. But after additional reflection, testing and retesting, I give the edge to Indochine. My scientific equation goes something like this: size of sandwich + value of pricing + helpfulness of the staff + an Andes Mint with the tab = The Banh Mi winner.

Ultimately, the key to a great sandwich and in particular, the Banh Mi, is the bread. The authentic version of this sandwich features a baguette – a French style torpedo roll. Not all baguettes are created and baked equally. I tried to pull out the source of Indochine’s bread from the owner on several occasions but she was on to me in a second and became evasive in a friendly way. Their baguette is big, chewy, dense, crunchy and crusty concurrently. Several versions of the sandwich are served with a variety of meats – I have tried all versions and found them delightful but the best of the bunch is the traditional sandwich with pork.

I have looked at the rest of the menu but paid no heed to it. I would assume that it is good and reviews of Yelp and other sites would confirm my hunch. I can say that my observations include a staff that has a hard-core group of regulars they know by name and order. The cuisine is focused on Vietnam with a few Laotian items creeping in. I mentioned the Andes mint earlier – each person gets one with their bill, in my book, three cents of good will goes a long way. The location is in a former fast food franchise building repurposed into a bastion of diversity on the east side of central Ohio. Go for the Banh Mi – it will fill you up then order something to go so you can be more diverse than me.

561 South Hamilton Road

Indochine Cafe on Urbanspoon

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