Along with a lot of other CHers, I've been kvetching about the dearth of Vietnamese cuisine in lower Westchester, especially banh mi. Some of the best I've had were found on Avenue U in Brooklyn, where you can get a freshly-baked baguette the length of your forearm (fingers distended), stuffed with all the traditional goodies for about $3.50. Unbelievable. Any that we bought for the ride back up here never made it past Queens.
On Sunday, husband had an errand to run in White Plains and decided to pick up some Cheesecake Factory sliders for our tweenager (maybe 300% more expensive than the White Castles he'd rather have, but more convenient for us). I figured I'd check the CF menu since we hadn't been there in a while. Lo and behold, under "New Items," I found the "Saigon Sandwich." Okay, it's pork-free, but it had a lot of the usual suspects: Freshly-baked baguette (chewy but good), lightly pickled carrots, onions, and cucumbers (alas, no radishes), chili, fresh cilantro, a flavored mayo that had already soaked into the bread by the time I got it, and some "lemongrass-grilled chicken." The chicken was actually rather tasty and reasonably juicy for grilled chicken breast. It was served with a satay sauce that I chose to ignore. It was indeed a tasty sandwich and definitely helped satisfy my banh mi craving, though I did miss the sweet, earthy sensuousness of the pate and "variety meat" pork products found on the traditional sandwich.
So what's the answer to the question? "It wasn't Banh Mi, but it wasn't bad, either."
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