Hours: Lunch, dinner: seven days
Wicker Park source for banh mi; cash only.
I've always been a champion of the miraculous product of French Indochinese colonization that is the banh mi, so I was excited when Bon Bon Sandwiches moved into this Wicker Park storefront, serving up seven separate banh mi in addition to bubble tea, iced coffee, and a range of Asian sweets. I took in portions of four sandwiches, including the classic with thick slices of headcheese and ham, generous swabs of paté, an indiscriminate tangle of pickled daikon and carrot, token scraps of cilantro and jalapeño, and a smear of mayo. The more unorthodox pork char siu and ginger chicken, that one marinated in "savory caramel sauce," both host toothy, irregular knobs of meat in addition to the usual garnishes. There's also a portobello and two new flavors, a lemongrass beef and a lemongrass tofu. The bread is key. Since Bon Bon's comes from Nhu Lan, half the battle should be won—I've never had a Nhu Lan sandwich whose oven-warmed crust wasn't crackly crisp and whose crumb wasn't lighter than air. But Vietnamese baguettes have a short shelf life, and by the time they're passed over the counters at Bon Bon they've gone soft and spongy. Still, I'm all for the spread of the sandwich.