392 Queen Street W
Toronto, ON M5V 2A9
Continuing on my first food crawl with Andrew (@_aneb), Justine (@foodigatorJ), and Chieu (@chieunghi), we ventured to Banh Mi Boys (@banhmiboys), after having stuffed our faces at El Trompo Taco Bar.
Bahn Mi Boys
I've heard so much about this place, but never actually had the chance to come. I guess I'm never really in the west end of the city! When you first enter you know you've entered a establishment that has a Korean grill. It immediately smells like smoked meat, and you can see a cloud of smoke coming from the back of the restaurant where the grill is. Needless to say I ended up smelling like meat after, but this was a small price to pay for the food that we were going to have.
Smokey smokey grill at the back!
The menu is simple, and is displayed on a flat screen TV above the ordering counter. Since there were so many of us, we tried to order one from each category to get a good variety.
Very limited seating area
Kimchi Fries ($5.99)
First up, Kimchi Fries. Whoever came up with this idea is a genius. I wasn't too appetized at the combination initially, but the combination of vinegary kimchi, sweet hoisin sauce, tangy mayo, savory pulled pork, and cheese, over a bed of crunchy hot fries would quickly banish any doubt. Its a big portion, but the four of us finished it without a problem.
Braised Beef Cheek Steamed Bao ($3.49) -served with cucumber, pickled carrots, and cilantro
The steamed bun ended up being a bit sticky from the condensation as a result of all the attention we gave the Kimichi Fries. But if you can look past that or resist the urge to neglect it over the other items, this was a great order. The beef cheek is really tender, and it quickly melts together with the soft steamed bun. I think I prefer the steamed buns at Swish By Han more, but these are a good alternative when you just want to grab and go.
Kalbi Beef Taco ($3.99) - served with purple cabbag slaw, kimchi, pickled carrots, and cilantro
I didn't know how much I would liked the Kalbi Taco, especially when we just came from an authentic mexican taco house. But these tacos turned out to be so heavily Asian-influenced, that they were hardly comparable anyway. Starting off with a chinese pancake, it is topped by a mound of intensely marinated beef, and its companion toppings. It's a deliciuos combination, and I love the slight chewiness of the pancake "tortilla". But be warned --it will be a lot of dripping sauce, and spillage of overflowing ingredients!
Five Spice Pork Belly Banh Mi ($5.99) - braised pork belly, pickled radish served on a baguette with house mayo
The last order was a no brainer. I mean we're at Banh Mi Boys, so how can you not order banh mi? The Vietnamese sandwich comes out on a warm crusty bun, filled with a balanced combination of pork belly, radishes, and sauce. It was definitely a different experience having banh mi warm, since I usually have the chilled ones from China Town. I have to admit, this ended up ranking last on my list of things we ordered. Not that it wasn't tasty, it just couldn't compete with everything else that was more spectacular in comparison.
If you don't mind your hair, clothes, and skin smelling like smoked meat, Banh Mi Boys is a great spot to hit up for any meal or snack. Two thumbs up from me! :)