You know how sometimes someone you know will claim something is the *best* restaurant or food and you know it’s probably not?
At my previous job, I worked with two women who would bicker all of the time. They would turn staff meetings into Dwight Schrute vs. Dwight Schrute pissing contests.
Even though I’ve attended culinary school, worked in restaurants, and dedicated most of my life to trying and writing about food, they acted completed disinterested and dismissive about anything I said about cooking or dining.
One in particular would lecture me on how I could prepare very simple dishes.
I started to play it off and pretend I was actually really bad at cooking.
“Oh wow, you can saute chicken in olive oil”? I’d reply with faux surprise.
When my other coworker M told me a certain food was the best or spiciest, though, I believed her.
One day we were talking about banh mi’s and she told me in a very dead-pan manner that the only good versions came at this little restaurant in New Hope called Gion’s because they had the most flavor.
I tucked this away in my mind.
Very rarely do I ever find myself in New Hope, as it’s a 30 minute drive. Last week I took some time off and made the trip for lunch.
Now my friend lives in New Hope – also, there’s a good thrift store – Unique that’s really clean and well-organized.
Gion Restaurant in New Hope, MN is located in a strip mall near the freeway.
It was very busy during a weekday lunch hour. The employees were friendly and welcoming.
Gion’s chicken banh mi isn’t the cheapest banh mi at $9 before tax and tip. But, gone are the days of the $3.50 banh mi (I survived on a lot of cheap banh mi’s from Jasmine Deli after college, but they, too, are also almost $9 now.)
Here’s the thing.
Gion does actually make one of the best banh mi’s I’ve ever had.
And the reason that it’s one of the best is because it’s extra flavorful, just as M said.
The bread was soft and toasty in all of the right places. It came with plenty of pickled veggies and cilantro. It’s also saucier than most banh mi’s I’ve had which contributes to its extra flavor.
I loved it. I devoured it. I wish it wasn’t so far away, because I’m not sure how often I’ll be able to return.
But if you can visit, you should, because she’s right.
Other banh mi’s I like:
Mi-Sant in Roseville and Brooklyn Park. The Brooklyn Park location has a drive through!
The super simple but craveable one at Trung Nam
Taste of Saigon – Maplewood Mall food court: People on Facebook are pretty harsh on this little food court restaurant. I’ve ordered food here a few times and had good experiences. The chicken banh mi here was really big and flavorful.