Location: 601 Gerrard Street East, Toronto
Like many banh mi joints, Rose’s Vietnamese Sandwiches is ridiculously cheap. I had the standard cold cut banh mi, which is crammed with meat and pate, and costs a paltry three bucks.
This is simultaneously amazing — cheap, delicious food! — and crappy. There’s an unfair expectation that a lot of Asian or Latin American cuisine should be served for rock-bottom prices, which makes it unnecessarily difficult for the people who run those restaurants to make a living.
Setting that aside? It’s a tasty sandwich. The assorted meats banh mi is the classic — it’s got Vietnamese cold cuts, chunky pate, pickled veggies, and cilantro.
It’s really tasty; there’s a lot of meat, but it’s perfectly balanced out by the sweet, vinegary pickled veggies, not to mention the abundant fresh cilantro. It’s definitely a contender for the best banh mi in the city, though I think there are a couple of things holding it back from greatness.
The biggest issue: I wish it had more pate. It has a thin spread of pate that’s entirely overwhelmed by the sizable layer of cold cuts. You miss out on the satisfying contrast between the meaty cold cuts and the creamy, minerally pate.
The other issue is the bread. It’s certainly not bad, but the exterior doesn’t quite have the light crispiness you’re looking for, and the whole thing is a bit dry.
Still, those are fairly minor complaints — it’s a solid banh mi, it’s just not quite up there with the best that I’ve had.