1456 Dorchester Avenue
Dorchester MA 02122
How much: $3.00
Time of visit: a Thursday about 1PM
Banh Mi. The sunshine to mentally melt all the ice and snow around me, even for just a moment.
(readers, cue The Dismemberment Plan - The Ice of Boston) (clicking on link should open YouTube in a new browser tab so you can hear my selected audio track playing, but you will have to click back on this tab to return) (this finally works again)
(The Dismemberment Plan is playing The Paradise on Jan. 28th. They sold out before I could get tickets. Readers, if you can pull off a miracle and get me in, I would be VERY appreciative)
This day's travels took me to Dorchester MA again. Things have been a bit slow on the professional front with all of the snow we've been getting, so I was able to make some time to visit the Fields Corner area of Dorchester.
K asked a Viet friend what Ba Le meant and her friend said "bread", not Paris as I thought. Maybe it is one of those multiple definition words?
To the reader who challenged me to get the sardine Banh Mi, I wasn't quite up for the challenge. I don't know if I ever will. Maybe I will after I have tried beef Banh Mi in every place in New England that serves it, though that may not be far off.
Sorry about not having a photo of the menu or inside. The menu basically listed Banh Mi $2.75 and Special Banh Mi $3.00. That was it for any English. I tried to get a picture of it, but the place was rather small. It was particularly hard to act inconspicuous and take a picture of the ingredients station and menu. When I got inside Chau's, there was one person in line in front of me. After I was served, I was the only one left inside besides the staff, who all stared at me as I fumbled with my camera. I got off one shot that turned out too blurry, so I left to not wanting to make a further spectacle of myself.
Banh Mi University graduate? Oh yes! Cum Laude. Note the white deli wrap and elastic as one would expect. Bread was excellent, about as close to perfect as I have had. The crust was eggshell thin and flaky. The inside was light and airy with that slightly chewy texture. Loaf size was just slightly smaller than others I have had recently. The meat was modest in quantity and not super tasty. The shape of the beef pieces was long and thin, similar to Hong Coc. The biggest problem was that the meat was not very warm. It was sitting in some sort of marinade/cooking juice in the ingredients bin, but considering that it was right next to the vegetables, probably not heated. They did not microwave the meat either as some places do. The plant material was only good. Cilantro was a bit limp and not freshly cut. I would have preferred a bit more too. The carrots were mixed with daikon, generous, tasty, slightly pickled and yet still a bit crisp. The cucumber was very thin and very lonely. Scallions were present here. The smear of mayo was generous and moistened everything very nicely. I asked the counter person for spicy. I did get jalapenos, but these also did not seem recently cut. The first bite had a little heat and continued at a low level for the rest of the Banh Mi. The burn did not last very long. Service was very fast.
Chau's functions as a wholesale bakery also, which explains the superb bread and lesser focus on the other ingredients. The business card says that they are open Mon-Sun 5AM-7PM. Parking on Dot. Ave was pretty bad after the recent storm.. At $3.00, a good value for the money. Great bread thought.
I'd give it 4.5B/6.
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I guess I'll be back to Dorchester very soon to get to the Ba Le just across the street from Chau's.