Reinventing the banh mi sandwich is nothing new. Even in Cape Cod now you can get a new fangled banh mi made with cod meat. While all these reintrepretations of the banh mi are pretty good, the banh mi sandwiches at Di An Di in Greenpoint, Brooklyn are in a class of their own. They are offered during the restaurant’s lunch service and are tailor-made for these days of casual, take-out dining.
The ingredients in several of the banh mi options on the Di An Di menu really caught my eye. One listed “portuguese roll, crispy fried egg, laughing cow cheese aioli”. At first I thought, am I ordering a Brooklyn hipster sandwich or a banh mi? Where is the classic ham and pate combo? I was a little skeptical, but once I tried the banh mi cha ca, as the fish sausage sandwich is known, I was won over. The magic is in the galangal aioli, which can best be described as a fragrant and spicy mustard. The bright yellow sauce gets everywhere, which is a little distressing, but sometimes a good meal can get a little messy.
The pork belly banh mi is delicious, as the meat Di An Di uses is fatty and luscious, and you can find tiny pieces of crackling hiding inside. The sauce here again is a strong point. I’m not quite sure what laughing cow cheese aioli is, but it’s like the best kind of mayonnaise that you could put on a sandwich for lunch.
I was a little disappointed that we couldn’t order pho during lunch service, but the beef short rib vermicelli bowl made up for it. The short rib meat pieces are super saturated in marinade, like Korean bbq on lemongrass steroids, and they are perfectly grilled. When you want something a little more substantial for lunch without going overboard, the vermicelli bowl is perfect. If you’re still hungry, definitely order the fried imperial rolls, which are like spring rolls but even better. By the looks of this preview, I’ll definitely have to use Caviar at a later time to order off of the broader menu.
Di An Di
68 Greenpoint Ave (between West St and Franklin St)
Brooklyn, NY 11222
Reserve tables here.