Strength: Good tasting banh mi filled with topping.
Weaknesses: Bread is overly crunchy.
Other Banh Mi Places
Ba Le Deli and Bakery is a sandwich shop that focus on banh mi. They do not serve pho or iced coffee, which are the two of my must-get in a Vietnamese restaurants. What you can find here are banh mi, bottled drinks, and Vietnamese desserts. There are several locations in town. This is the newest one on Broadway and Fraser St. It is an interesting choice for them to open another franchise store so close to their Kingsway location at 691 E Broadway
Ba Le Deli and Bakery is a sandwich shop, not a restaurant. You have to order the food and grab them yourself. There is no delivery of food to your table, so it is acceptable to not pay tips. I think this adds value to your meal.
I came to this new location on Summer afternoon. I can feel strong air conditioning cooling the air as I enter. The interior is clean and modern. Ba Le is a sandwich shop, not a full blown restaurant. There are limited interior seating. This location opens until 8:00pm, compared to the 6:00pm on their Kingsway location. I appreciate the extended hour so I can come here after work.
#5 Special Sandwich
Ba Le’s #5 special sandwich is my favorite sandwich. I guess the memory goes back to the first time I’ve had it. When it took me by surprise of what a sandwich can be. I’ll tell you, “Subway” is nothing compared to this. #5 Special Sandwich is pretty much the same as the #3 Cold Cut Sandwich. Except #5 Special have a lot more meat.
You can find Vietnamese sausage, Ham, Pate, Home made mayonnaise, Pickled daikon radish and carrots, Cilantro and Cucumber. The sandwich is cut in the middle for easier consumption. It is not completely cut. Which gave me a satisfying feeling when taking them apart. The exterior of the bread is hard, feels solid. I could hear the bread crumble when pulling on them.
The entire sandwich was filled with toppings. They got the taste combination down to science. Everything is in perfect harmony. The texture of crunchy bread and soft meat is glue’d together by the pate. It’s a very enjoyable sensation to eat this sandwich from Ba Le. The pate and mayonnaise provided moisture without making the bread soggy. The sandwich is not dry. However, my bread may have been re-heated for too long. The best banh mi I have had at Au Petit Cafe has its bread crunchy only on the very exterior, but soft throughout.
Shrimp Salad Roll
Shrimp salad roll is wrapped with clear rice crepe. I could see 2 prawns (cut in half) on the exterior. Some lettuces underneath, wrapping the rice vermicelli. It is a cold dish served with a small dish of peanut sauce. The peanut sauce I got just came out of the fridge. I could see a little separation starting to happen. The salad roll is fresh and crisp to the bite. It is very refreshing, and a very good appetizer.
You can see Vietnamese ham at the rear of the shrimp salad roll.
604 Food Critic Assessment
Ba Le Deli & Bakery has been around for a long time. This new location inherited their undoubtedly good tasting sandwiches. Also, it provides more comfortable environment and convenient hours. For $5, the sandwich is of decent size. This is a very good grab and go sandwich shop that is good for lunch, dinner, and afternoon snack. I was eating too fast that my gum was a little bit cut due to the overly crunchy bread. Just make sure you don’t eat too fast.