7. An Choi’s Bánh Mì Dac Biêt
This nicely balanced (if slightly dry) attempt by a former Pastis bar host to take the bánh mì beyond its street-food roots benefits from artful presentation as well as good house-made chicken-liver pâté and five-spiced ham. The headcheese and pork roll are sourced from a top-secret Vietnamese butcher. $6.50; 85 Orchard St., nr. Broome St.; 212-226-3700.
8. Nicky’s Vietnamese Sandwiches’ Classic Vietnamese Sandwich
Credit Nicky’s, the descendant of Sunset Park’s late, lamented An Dong, for bringing the bánh mì out of Chinatown and introducing it to an eager East Village (and later, Boerum Hill) audience when it set up shop a few years ago. They get the layers of sweet-salty-spicy-sour flavors right and the roast pork is as toothsome as it gets, but the portion control can be on the stingy side—our most recent sandwich contained exactly one lonely sprig of cilantro. $5; 150 E. 2nd St., nr. Ave. A; 212-388-1088.
9. Saigon Vietnamese Sandwich, Inc.’s House Special
This bánh mì stalwart, formerly known as Viet-Nam Bánh Mì Saigon No. 1, is under new ownership, and the new guys, if anything, have improved upon the formula. Their hefty #1 House Special is well proportioned and fairly bursting with crumbly grilled pork, spicy headcheese, pork roll, and the standard veggies and condiments in great abundance. In a shocking aberration, however, they charge $1 extra for pâté, which in certain penny-pinching bánh mì circles is a scandal of almost Madoff-ian proportions. $3.50; 369 Broome St., nr. Mott St.; 212-219-8341.
10. Nha Toi’s Bánh Mì Dac Biêt
This weeks-old Williamsburg newcomer is run by a goateed, Fedora-wearing chappie with a progressive streak and a fusion-friendly menu, which includes bulgogi beef and “pho” bánh mì variations. As for the classic cold-cut combo: It needs more heat, more pickled veggies, and more cilantro, but it comes on good bread and it’s great for the neighborhood, not to mention that it’s available daily until 9 p.m., an anomaly in the early-to-bed-early-to-rise world of bánh mì. $6; 160 Havemeyer St., nr. S. 2nd St.; 718-599-1820.