2/25/2013 03:01:00 PM

Best Thing We Ate This Weekend: Secret Banh Mi at O Banh Mi

If someone posts a photo of a gorgeous golden roast pig on Facebook, chances are we're going to pay attention. A few weeks ago a friend tipped us off to a little Silver Lake sandwich shop that's so off the grid, it's not even listed on Yelp. That's how owners Joakim Dahlqvist and Jens Hommert want it, especially since O Banh Mi is only open from noon to 3 PM every day.

The tiny storefront is hidden on a leafy block of Hyperion, next to the also un-signed Hyperion Tavern, across from YAS (for you spin-heads). When it's open, you'll see a couple of tables and chairs on the sidewalk, but if you blink you'll miss it. We have, no matter how many times we've driven down that street. There are only seven sandwiches on the menu, all banh mi-style served on crusty baguette. We tried two: one stuffed with big chunks of canned sardines in a chile paste-tomato sauce, cilantro and a few pickled vegetables, and the roast pork, which is only offered on Fridays. But mark it in your calendar - you definitely want that sandwich.

The pork (above) is tender and succulent, served like the others, with herbs and vegetables, and a side of jus that's basically pork juice and fish sauce. They marinate the pork overnight and roast it in a custom-designed caja china box slow and low. It's fantastic, and when it's gone it's gone, and that happens often. We felt we got lucky slipping in about 20 minutes before the shop closed.
O Banh Mi has been open for about a year, but only those in the know seem to know about it. "It's been our soft opening," Dahlqvist adds with a chuckle. The two are architects by trade but opened the nearby Speranza restaurant six years ago, and then followed up with the banh mi shop (Hommert's wife is Vietnamese). But they have access to the space next door and are considering an expansion, thus the "soft" phase. But until then, this is a great hidden gem for a quick lunch. We'll be back for the lemongrass chicken, baby squid and cold cut banh mi. PS: Sorry we couldn't keep you off the internets, guys (1997 Hyperion Ave.; 323-665-1941).


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