While her friends were scarfing down burgers, Vietnam-born Denise Tran was enjoying banh mi, the bargain-priced sandwich of her homeland made with roast pork, tangy pickled veggies, and paté stuffed inside a fresh-baked baguette. Now, she's reincarnating that favorite sandwich with modern twists at her new Bun Mee cafe on upper Fillmore Street in Pacific Heights, a short stroll from the Best Western Tomo in San Francisco.
The 16-seat restaurant, decorated with corrugated metal finishes and bicycle wheel chandeliers, specializes in Vietnamese street food, with most dishes priced at $5 to $7.
Choose from nine different banh mi, including a "Sloppy Bun'' with curry ground pork, shaved onion and Thai basil; and the "Bun Mee Combo'' of house-carved roast pork, paté de champagne, mortadella, house garlic aioli, shaved onion, pickled carrot and daikon, jalapenos and cilantro.
For more variety, the menu includes salads such as the "Mekong Shrimp'' with grilled prawns, sliced mango, tofu, pickled daikon, and julienned cucumbers over mixed greens with blood orange vinaigrette; and "Momma Tran's Crispy Egg Rolls'', made with ground pork, crab, wood ear mushrooms, glass noodles and lettuce. Quench your thirst with Vietnamese coffee, kaffir limeade, and strawberry lychee aqua fresca.
"From my own travels to Vietnam to spending hours cooking with Momma Tran, I am really excited to bring the Vietnamese street food experience to Pacific Heights and introduce guests to one of my favorite things to eat,” said Tran in a statement, who collaborated on the restaurant with her mother.
-- Carolyn Jung of FoodGal
[Photo credit: James "Slim'' Dang]