After hearing Prof. Salt and others report on the exalted virtues of the banh mi at Top Baguette, I finally made a visit not long ago. The banh mi at Top Baguette are indeed fine specimens of their specie.
I ordered 3 banh mi on the French rolls (not the skinny baguettes): sui mai (meatballs), grilled pork, and grilled beef. Lady luck was shinning on me and I arrived as fresh bread was coming out of the oven. As others have reported, the bread was light and airy with a crispy crust. However, the bread was disappointingly lacking in good bread flavor...the kind that comes from having a good sponge starter. Its not that the bread was bad, it wasnt. The bread was fine, but much better bread can be had in the vicinity.
The banh mi were nicely filled with their respective meat and accompaniments. (Unlike some other banh mi places, there was no skimping on the meat filling at Top Baguette.) Again, as others have reported, the banh mi were drizzled in sauce. The meatballs were dressed with their cooking sauce (tomato based), and the grilled meats were splashed with a five-spiced based sauce (not hoisin as others have suggested). The abundance of the sauces made it hard to assess the independent flavor of the meats, but I liked the sauces so it wasnt a negative for me.
Overall, I really liked the banh mi at Top Baguette. What makes Top Baguette stand out is their filling (and lots of it). I would go back to Top Baguette for their banh mi, but will continue to pick up plain baguettes elsewhere.
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