Here is a notable fact about this sandwich: I couldn’t taste the cilantro. This is a banh mi, ostensibly, and I couldn’t taste the cilantro. Forget the categorical distinction: This was something with cilantro on it, and I couldn’t taste the cilantro. It’s a mystery to me how one would even eliminate the assertive, floral taste of cilantro, but the sandwich world is nothing if not full of surprises.
This is another cute take on the banh mi, and instead of the traditional delight of a sandwich I got something that was cold, bland, and had chicharrónes on it for some reason. I’m not categorically against taking a sandwich archetype and re-imagining it, but for goodness’ sake if you’re going to do such a thing, do it well. Mendocino Farms also pulled this stunt and missed the mark, but at least they ended up with a decent sandwich. Ink Sak has quite a reputation, but nothing I sampled suggested to me that they deserve it.