An odd indicator of go-to foods for me is always its temperature edibility. How good was it right off the stove or out of the oven or fryer, and how good was it cold from the fridge the next day?
Yummy Banh Mi in downtown Everett passed muster for my taste buds the night of and the morning after a recent visit. More on that in just a bit.
The Vietnamese restaurant with big flavor in a small space opened last summer. You’ll find it next door to Bank of America and Black Lab Gallery on Hewitt Avenue, sandwiched between Wetmore and Colby. In just months it has already garnered, on average, 24 solidly favorable reviews on Yelp and another 24 on Google.
Ashley and Jesse Nelson, my friends and fans of dining out around the area, met me on a chilly Thursday evening for dinner. We each ordered a dish and spread around the bounty, plus four fried egg rolls (two $3.99 plates of two rolls). Ashley got the bún thit nuong cha giò, a vermicelli noodle bowl with grilled pork and egg roll ($9.99). Jesse leaned on a classic, pho dac biet, a large bowl of beef broth noodle soup with rare steak, brisket, meatballs and tendon ($8.99).
“I think Yummy was a classic Vietnamese restaurant in more of a fast-food setting,” Ashley said. “Overall I thought the food was good but not great.”
I agree, but give Yummy a more favorable boost somewhere above good and not quite great. What stood out to me, more than the flavors and scents, was the service. The wait staff was attentive but not disruptive, helpful but not patronizing, and never made us feel rushed as we spent a couple of hours there enjoying good food and even better company.
Having eaten the grilled pork banh mi, a Vietnamese sandwich with carrots, cucumber, cilantro, jalapeno, cream sauce and meat on a baguette, I was excited to try some of the other absurdly reasonably priced offerings. So I picked out the grilled beef banh mi. Not much an adventurous eater, I know. Listen, I’m no culinary hero or Anthony Bourdain. Give me something adjacent to familiar and I’ll nibble.
Their sandwiches ($4.99) were 2-for-2. The meat is delectably tender, the sauce light and creamy, the cucumbers and carrots and jalapeno crispy, and the bread baked with a great crunchy shell and airy, soft interior. One nonplussed online review criticized Yummy’s banh mi for overdoing the mayo sauce, not having radish and having too few jalapeno slices. Both times I’ve sampled the sandwiches, the amount of mayo was fine (and I’m someone who usually skips it or asks for a light spreading of it), and I don’t care for radish or jalapeno. However, the spicy crunch of a fresh jalapeno slice is a time-tested accoutrement to the banh mi, and for good reason. It plays nicely with the mayo’s tang, the cucumber’s crunch and the meat’s sweetness.
Speaking of sweets, they have bubble tea ($3.99). For those unitiated in the Asian treat, it’s like a smoothie with tapioca balls/pearls at the bottom and comes in a variety of flavors. The Nelsons shared a taro-flavored bubble tea that was unusually specific in its nostalgia.
“It’s like Fruity Pebbles milk,” Jesse said.
“It’s like red bean ice cream,” Ashley countered.
I took a pull for a few pearls. It tasted lightly sweet, not cloying. But my palate was probably tuned up after swigging through a Thai iced tea, a spiced, sweetened milk concoction poured over ice. On a cold night, it didn’t warm me up, but it did serve as a delectable finish to the meal. I recommend taking a cue from the Nelsons and sharing in the late-night sweetness, however.
Diners can visit without qualms, as a recent inspection by the Snohomish Health District turned up a clean review.
Ben Watanabe, email@example.com; 425-339-3037.
Yummy Banh Mi
What: Vietnamese restaurant with pho, banh mi sandwiches and vermicelli bowls
Where: 1606 Hewitt Ave., Everett, Wash.
When: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday-Friday; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday
Beverages/dessert: Bubble tea smoothies, Vietnamese iced coffee, Thai iced tea, and three beans with coconut milk