JoJu takes the Vietnamese sandwich to a place it’s rarely been: Korea. Its bulgogi banh mi combines Korean-style barbecued rib-eye with Vietnamese-style fixings like cilantro and pickled carrot and radish, and Chowhounds are eating it up. “It’s silly, it bucks tradition, but it tastes good so who cares?” says squinchy.
Opened last month in Elmhurst, Queens, JoJu also offers a sandwich with slow-cooked pork belly, Japanese style, but daffyduck finds it disappointingly dry. This shop departs from tradition in ways other than its sandwich fillings, and hounds are less forgiving on these scores. squinchy would prefer a bread lightened with rice flour, like the ones at banh mi destinations such as Brooklyn’s Ba Xuyen, to JoJu’s standard baguette. And Polecat wishes the heat came from fresh chiles instead of the spicy mayo used here.
Still, locals are happy to have a new Vietnamese option, not only for banh mi but also for iced beverages like Jeffsayyes‘s go-to caffeinated cooler, “special filter” Vietnamese coffee. And they’re delighted at the emergence of an Asian hot spot in this corner of Elmhurst, which already boasts hound-worthy Sichuan at Sweet Yummy House and Henan at Uncle Zhou, home of the amazing four-bird quailsquaducken. Polecat, taking a citywide view, sees JoJu’s arrival as a big plus for his home borough: “it’s about time we got a banh mi shop in Queens. This is one aspect in which Brooklyn truly kicks our ass—they have their share of banh mi shops. That, and brownstones. We can’t be having that.”
83-25 Broadway (between Dongan and Whitney avenues), Elmhurst, Queens