A close-up of Mandoline's cute logo
Mandoline Grill serves both traditional and vegan-friendly Vietnamese food. With sizeable portions for their entrees (12-inch banh mi and large bowls), the $6.00 prices are very reasonable. Also available are $9.00 and $10.00 combos.
I was interested to learn that Mandoline's recipes come from the owner's mother, who owns a Vietnamese restaurant in Hawaii. Duly noted for my next trip home (/take note for your next vacation)!
I ordered the Grilled Beef Banh Mi ($6.00). Although I am no banh mi expert, I am definitely a delicious sandwich expert, and this sandwich was impressive on every level.
First, the banh mi's contents: the vegetables were fresh and crunchy, and the grilled beef was incredibly tender. The beef reminded me of really good kalbi. Second, and perhaps most importantly, the bread: the bread's crust was satisfyingly flaky and crunchy while the inside was pillowy soft. As banh mi eating often comes with the risk of scraping the bejesus out of the roof of your mouth, this perfect bread was a treat (and a relief).
The vegetables, beef and bread truly all came together to make every bit of this banh mi sheer bliss.
Because I had skipped breakfast, I was starving and also ordered Crispy Spring Rolls ($2.00). Whereas most spring rolls ooze oil with every bite, turning the roll's contents into greasy veggie-esque substances, these were light and crunchy, and I could actually taste the flavor of the filling. The accompanying sauce added a nice sweet flavor to the rolls.
After being less than thrilled with Nom Nom Truck and Phamish, I was very pleasantly surprised by the quality of my lunch from Mandoline Grill. I was so pleased, in fact, that I wished that I had also ordered one of their rice bowls--just to try. I guess I have an excuse to go back!