A restaurant dedicated to the banh mi, the delectable Vietnamese sandwich, has opened in Arlington. Called Lo Banh Mi French Bakery, it's a family-owned restaurant featuring a variety of banh mi sandwiches, as well as the unique French baguettes that are a key banh mi ingredient.
Lo Banh opened in early August at 6516 New York Ave., in a space that was most recently Pho Son Nam Vietnamese Restaurant but was previously an Italian restaurant called Little Italy.
The menu includes appetizers, sandwiches, and coffee, including the much-sought-after authentic Vietnamese coffee.
There are seven kinds of banh mi, the sub-style sandwich that combines flavorful meats with "do chua" — pickled daikon and carrots — brought together with a rich mayonnaise spread.
Their sandwich options include:
- Đặc biệt. Special sandwich with grilled pork and pork meatball, along with the trademark spread of liver pate, mayonnaise, and pickled veggies
- Xiu Mai. Vietnamese pork meatballs in a tomato sauce
- Thit Nuong. Grilled pork with lemongrass
- Cha lua. Pork sausage with pate
- Thit Xa Xiu. Barbecued pork
- Ham, goi thu, pate. Goi thu is head cheese.
- Ga. Grilled chicken thighs, shredded
They also have a cool selection of sides that include egg rolls, spring rolls, pork buns, and pâté chaud — like a Vietnamese version of a meat pie, consisting of a flaky, savory puff pastry filled with spicy ground meat.
The restaurant is owned by the Cao family, who previously owned the well-liked ABC Bakery. "We closed it a few years ago, but people still remember our bread," a spokesperson says.
That's because they made the very specific kind of French bread required for a good banh mi: a baguette with a shatter-crisp exterior and an almost feather-light crumb inside, lighter and more fragile than a traditional French baguette.
Their prices are low — banh mi run about $4 to $5 — and they offer specials such as the option to buy three sandwiches and they'll throw in a free order of spring rolls or a sandwich of your choice, and baguettes are $1.75.