Parsing Reviews: Ba Bay’s Belly-Busting Bánh Mì
Last week, my Young & Hungry colleague Scott Reitz pondered the different variables that influence, skew, and otherwise shape a restaurant review.
Well, here's a good working example to dig into: Ba Bay's lunchtime bánh mì sandwich, which Reitz wrote about recently, along with The Washington Post's Tom Sietsema in his First Bite column this week.
Let's compare, shall we?
On Reitz's visit, he wrote that "Ba Bay's bánh mì is an all out belly buster, with flavors that ricochet from earthy to bright and back again. With a few bites left on my plate, I had to admit defeat."
The kitchen at Ba Bay is small, says [Khoa] Nguyen, and the Vietnamese sandwich, which uses house-made charcuterie, is fairly labor-intensive. Though the bread is admirably crusty, even the pickled vegetables tucked inside were overwhelmed by too much mayonnaise.
Now, I have not had a chance to try that belly-busting bánh mì at Ba Bay, so I cannot accurately assess whether there's an unnecessary over-slathering of mayo, as Sietsema suggests. Nevertheless, I feel like a glutton since I've been known to consume two of these delectable Vietnamese sandwiches in one sitting, usually after intense outer-borough hikes through Brooklyn and Queens. My stomach feels full just thinking about that.
I guess I'll just have to try one of Ba Bay's bánh mì sandwiches and taste for myself.
Photo by Scott Reitz