Restaurant of the Week: Paris Sandwich

Paris Sandwich is Chinatown's latest addition to the banh-mi constellation clustered around Mott Street. The clean, narrow takeout shop, open all day until around 8 p.m., aims to serve both die-hard devotees of the staple Vietnamese sandwich and curious passersby who might be beckoned by the Eiffel Tower imagery and vivid yellow interior. The Technicolor-picture menu features 12 different sandwiches for no more than $3.50 each. Impressive house-made baguettes are filled with grilled or barbecued meat or fish of your choice, pickled carrots, cilantro, peppers (on request) and spicy mayonnaise. The grilled chicken, barbecued pork and Vietnamese meatballs are runners-up to the winning "Paris Special Baguette." When I asked the counter girl what the Paris was like, she responded, "Very classy." It proved to be filled with Vietnamese cold cuts and French pâté. It's not for me to say if eating this sandwich improved my social status, but it's safe to say that it's more authentically Vietnamese than the American-style sandwiches rounding off the list (ham and cheese, turkey and cheese). An array of fluorescent-colored, cloyingly sweet rice-based desserts and straightforward Vietnamese rice and noodle dishes are serviceable. Stick to the sandwiches, which are no slouch and cheaper than a cappuccino. 113 Mott St., (212) 226-7221. Isaac Kardon

photo from www.roboppy.net

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