In this great city of ours, one could eat a different sandwich every day of the year—so that's what we'll do. Here's A Sandwich a Day, our daily look at sandwiches around New York. Got a sandwich we should check out? Let us know. —The Mgmt.
Alan Woo wouldn't divulge the source of the baguettes he uses for his bánh mì at Xe Máy, but he did let on that they're made to his specifications. At the shoebox-sized counter Woo and Davis Ngo opened on St. Marks last year, their baguettes are great vehicles for the pickled vegetables and proteins that fill them. The Lam'bretta ($6.50) is one standout example.
The lamb has a subtle sweetness from the coconut milk it cooks in. It's extremely tender once it's been thinly sliced, and it carries a clean spice from the heat in Xe Máy's homemade curry. There's also a lot of coriander, which works well with the fresh leaves and stems of cilantro that come on top. Likewise, pickled carrots and daikon lend a vinegary tang, one not overpowered by too much sugar (as can sometimes be the case). Xe Máy's pickling liquid is also heavy on the black pepper—a subtle surprise that gives the sandwich some savory depth.
As for the bread, Woo and Ngo have found what works best. The baguette is firm and crisp on the outside, but light and airy within. It's crunchy, but not overwhelmingly so, just enough to support the ingredients while not taking away from their delicate flavors. A well-balanced meal for any time of day at a price that's hard to beat.