Paris Sandwich, the new contender in the Valley Blvd. banh mi war, has opened at the corner of Valley and San Gabriel Blvds. (been open for about a month).
It's larger than the other banh mi shops and has easy parking in back. Inside is sparkly and clean. Bathroom is spotless (and came with a free suprise visit by the security guard...oops, sorry, dude).
I tried the grilled pork banh mi, and while it wasn't perfect, I was quite pleased.
The baguette was excellent, very fresh and crusty, but mostly hollowed out to make room for the fillings.
The veggies came in a baggie on the side a la Mr. Baguette...I personally don't like that...I mean, a banh mi in my hands has a half-life of about 37 seconds...it's not gonna get soggy. Veggies were heavy on the carrot and lightly vinagred...I like my daikon and I like it sloppy.
There was a light schmear of mayo/dressing, which tasted slightly like Kewpie dressing (but it couldn't be, could it? I mean who would debase a banh mi with Kewpie?), but it could have been due to the sweetness transferred from the grilled pork.
Ah, the grilled pork... Nicely ruddy and red-purple with plenty of carbonized bits that bespoke actual grilling or deft broiling or something. In any case, very nice. It was fairly sweet and quite tender...no gristly bits to be found. Taken alone, it's the best banh mi filling I've had.
All-in-all, I'd place it slightly below Baguette Express in my personal list of Valley Blvd. banh mi. But, we're talking "A" to BE's "A+", largely due to my personal tastes.
Paris Sandwich has the usual banh mi fillings along with banh mi nem nuong (grilled pork meatballs?), egg and meatloaf, grilled Angus beef, and Angus beef with portobello mushrooms. The Angus beef banh mi are more expensive -- $3.50 vs. ~$2.00 -- so they may actually use a higher-grade meat (or it could just be marketing). I'll try that next time.
801 E. Valley Blvd. #103
6am-9pm every day