Ca Phe Rang is a Vietnamese joint that was opened by celebrity chef Matty Matheson along with his mentor, Rang Nguyen. The menu consists mostly of banh mi and pho (which can be combined by ordering a bowl of pho dipping sauce to go with your sandwich).
I tried a couple of the banh mi, along with the dipping sauce.
First up was the pork (“Roasted and glazed pork. Bánh mì comes with pâté, carrot, daikon, cucumber, jalapeno, cilantro, Thai basil, white onion, spicy chili paste”). I’ll admit that I wasn’t crazy about this. The pork was dry and mostly flavourless, and if there was pate in the sandwich, I couldn’t taste it. The generous pile of zingy veggies and fresh cilantro are quite tasty, but the sandwich really needed some kind of sauce to bring some moisture and flavour.
(There is the pho dip — which tastes like a pretty standard pho broth — which helps quite a lot. But this is an optional $3 add-on, so you’d think the sandwich would be able to stand on its own.)
The brisket (“Roasted and glazed brisket. Bánh Mì comes with pâté, carrot, daikon, cucumber, jalapeno, cilantro, white onion, spicy chili paste”) is substantially better. Again, the pate was either MIA or applied so sparingly that it may as well not be there. But the meat is super tender, and it’s saucy and flavourful enough that the sandwich never feels dry like the pork. It’s actually fairy sweet, but the vinegary bite of the veggies does a great job of balancing this out. This one doesn’t need the dip at all; it’s thoroughly delicious on its own.