SIMPLY BAHN MI FACEBOOK Hidden down a staircase on Wisconsin Avenue is Simply Banh Mi, a Vietnamese restaurant that offers fresh, tasty dishes and gorgeous patio seating. The shrimp banh mi is a solid classic sandwich.
SIMPLY BAHN MI FACEBOOK
Hidden down a staircase on Wisconsin Avenue is Simply Banh Mi, a Vietnamese restaurant that offers fresh, tasty dishes and gorgeous patio seating. The shrimp banh mi is a solid classic sandwich.

When people speak of restaurants that are hidden gems, they usually just mean that the restaurant is not well-known. However, when someone speaks of the new Vietnamese restaurant, Simply Banh Mi, the word “hidden” would actually be a pretty accurate description. Just a couple of blocks past CVS on Wisconsin Avenue, Simply Banh Mi is tucked away in a basement space down a twisting spiral staircase. Although the owners have tried to plaster the sidewalk with signs to advertise the restaurant, which opened last spring, it would still be quite easy to walk right past it. However, to miss Simply Banh Mi would, quite simply, be a mistake.

The restaurant is cheerfully painted with bright, floral colors and an array of Vietnamese candies adorns every counter. The menu is simple, with the choice of six different protein options: lemon chicken, meatballs, pate and Vietnamese cold cuts, vegetarian tofu, barbecue pork, grilled lemongrass pork, lemongrass beef and shrimp. These proteins can be served in four ways, as a Banh Mi sandwich, a salad, with rice or with vermicelli rice noodles. All of the options come with vegetables like pickled carrots, bean sprouts and fresh mint. Everything is made fresh to order but the prices are reasonable. They range from $6 to $9.50 for the main dishes and the sides, like fried banana and egg rolls, average around $4.

It’s hard to distinguish exactly what is most impressive about Simply Banh Mi. It might be the ownership. The brother and sister who own and run the eatery are incredibly friendly and excited about getting to know Georgetown students. They speak nostalgically about the seniors they met last spring and express their desire for more students to stop by. They hope students will want to study in their backyard patio, the second-most impressive element of the shop. The patio has several tables surrounding a running fountain and is enclosed by a lattice of greenery. It is the perfect place to have a deep conversation with a friend and to appreciate the third quality element of the restaurant: the food.

The food is fresh and healthy but also incredibly flavorful. The lemongrass chicken is so good it could stand on its own, but is made even tastier by the addition of Simply Banh Mi’s special peanut sauce. The barbecue pork is also very highly praised and I will definitely try it if I go back. The Banh Mi sandwiches come on perfectly toasted bread that brings out the flavors of the lime and mint inside.

Simply Bahn Mi’s tagline is “The hole in a wall that fills the hole in your stomach … with a whole lot of goodness.” Now that’s a value proposition that seems hard to resist. The establishment is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day except Monday and offers take-out and delivery as well as dining in. Vietnamese coffee, cafesuada, a strong drink mixed with sweetened condensed milk, is served either iced or hot. The food is filling, the drinks are unique and the service is fantastic.

When sitting on the patio hidden in the shrubbery, it is easy to feel hidden away in another world. That is what makes Simply Banh Mi a hidden gem. However, given the food and five-minute walk from campus, it won’t be long before Simply Banh Mi will be discovered. Burleith residents seem to be the most likely frequenters of this establishment at present. However, when authentic dishes, a beautiful locale and friendly owners are so close to campus, there is absolutely no reason not to go find Simply Banh Mi.

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2 Comments

  1. dkt27@georgetown.edu says:

    Coincidentally, I was planning to go to Simply Banh Mi on Friday when I read this review so I brought it with me to show the restaurant owners. They were really happy to read this review and said they are thinking about hanging it up in the shop!

  2. Not only did we think about hanging it… WE FRAMED THE SUCKA AND HUNG IT! we’re very grateful to “the hoya” and to dkt27@georgetown.edu for bringing the article to us.

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