The founders of Plucker's Wing Bar branched out into Vietnamese for their next project, now open on Burnet Road. Dang Banh Mi serves banh mi using traditional Vietnamese recipes, as well as pho and bun bowls, in a fast casual format.
The project grows out of co-owner Dave Paul's passion for Vietnamese food. Take a look at the early word from bloggers, Yelp, and Reddit below.
The Bloggy News — Blogger Mad Betty recaps the media preview: "Already full, we pushed on to sample the grilled lemongrass pork bún, which was chock full of vegetables, making it lighter than many other bún I've had. It's worth nothing that the fish sauce was aromatic, citrusy, and just very special. Maybe my favorite fish sauce ever! I also loved the generous portion of fried shallots on the dish." [Mad Betty]
The Service News — Yelper Gloria W. says: "Great customer service and very attentive staff. Despite the amount of inconvenience my friends and I caused trying to share the food for taste testing, they were extremely accommodating - splitting the bill, giving us extra bowls, cutting the bahn mis into portions so all of us can get an equal piece, all done with a smile and more. " [Yelp]
The Reddit News — A Reddit thread about the restaurant spanned over 80 comments, most of which debated whether the restaurant's white owners could make banh mi as well as Austin's Vietnamese-run shops. Here's a first impression from one Redditor: "Ignoring all the "made by white people" comments, I tried it. It was ok. Pricey even for what you get but the staff were eager to do a good job and they were pretty quick even though they just opened. Will they last, I don't know…" [Reddit]
The Confused News: Another first impression from Redditor styyles: "Just tried this place for lunch a few minutes ago. Not bad but it just doesn't make sense. From what I had read this place was obsessed with authenticity, traveling to Vietnam to seek out the most legit banh mi stand and learn their recipes. Somehow this translated into to a $9 sandwich with tomatoes and no jalapeño." [Reddit]
The Not-So-Good Bread News — Yelper Alison L. weighs in: " The ingredients were tasty but my beef (ha!) is with the bread. It's too soft and not crumby (in a good way) at all; It's the kind you have to bit into and then rip at with your teeth. Like a rottweiler." [Yelp]
The Subway News — Yelper Errol M. also weighs in on the authenticity question: "Think Subway taking over every Bánh Mì place you've ever been to, and there you go. There's nothing wrong with that actually, it's just not what I'm expecting or looking for. Seriously, tomatoes? . . . This has got to be some chain run by Anglos, and I hope they do well. " [Yelp]
My First Banh Mi — Yelper Roger S. is new to this: "My first Banh Mi. It was great. I have no idea what I just ate, but I loved every bite. Not for those who like their food mild or their bread soft. This stuff is packed with flavor." [Yelp]
The Fusion Confusion — Yelper Hieu H. says, "Why not call it Banh Mi with a twist, or Asian fusion Banh Mi. By placing a Vietnamese name and language on the sign you are holding yourself out to the public as a true Vietnamese sandwich which you are not. "
The Torchy's News — Yelper Jon S. says: "Dang banh mi is trying to do to Vietnamese sandwiches did what tourchy's and taco deli have done with tacos. Take something cheap and ethnic, and do it upscale and modern. I went on the first official day, and I think they are doing a pretty great job. It's hip, clean and most important the sandwich is dang good." [Yelp]
The Dang Expensive News — Yelper Alicia K. says, "Dang, it's more expensive than a mom and pop Asian place. The difference is much more protein in each sandwich than what you get at other banh mi shops in Austin. Don't let the others claim that this isn't "authentic". " [Yelp]
· All Dang Banh Mi Coverage [EATX]
· All Good News / Bad News [EATX]
[Photo: Amy D./Yelp]