The Austin Chronicle

Bánh Mì

By Kate Thornberry, October 10, 2008, Food

HEA Cafe

500 E. Ben White Ste. D-200, 804-2310
Monday-Sunday, 10am-9pm

HEA Cafe is a very nice, clean, new place: slightly sterile but colorful and pleasant. The three varieties of bánh mì are listed in the appetizer portion of the menu, but the sandwiches are full-sized, not miniature. The bread is perfect, steamy soft on the inside with a thin, crisp crust; the combination of wheat and rice flour is ideal. Every sandwich ($3.75) is served with a small bowl of nuoc mam (the usual dressing for vermicelli bowls) for dipping. Marinated vegetables in the bánh mì are limited to carrots alone, but the opening of the bun is stuffed with truly generous amounts of fresh cilantro. The best sandwiches are the pork and the beef; the demonstrably fresh meat in both has been roasted to crispy doneness outside then thinly sliced and served warm. Very high quality.

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