Little Saigon restaurant a tad more expensive but the atmosphere makes up for it.
By JEFF OVERLEY
WESTMINSTER, Calif. — It says something about the values in Little Saigon that a restaurant charging more than $3 for sandwiches is considered high-end.
Lynda Sandwich, a year-old addition to Orange County’s Vietnamese dining scene, is one such relatively expensive restaurant, and it does a pretty good job helping you forget about the menu’s minor markup.
Signed photos of Vietnamese entertainers
adorn one of the walls of the dining room
at Lynda Sandwich in Westminster.
PHOTO BY PAUL RODRIGUEZ,
The Orange County Register
First off, you find sleek ambience in the form of silver sculptures and a bright orange wall splashed with larger-than-life images of Madonna and the Beatles — a hint of owner Lynda Trang Dai’s successful career as a pop singer. There are stylish tables inside and outside, and a large flat-screen television beams football into the café.
This is a notable contrast with other local banh mi shops, where interior design often starts and stops at spring rolls and cans of pate arranged neatly on a countertop. Where many venues are strictly about the food, Lynda Sandwich offers a comfortable spot to sit, sip and snack for a while.
Sometimes a long while, it should be noted. Lynda’s lunches and dinners can take time, so calling ahead a few minutes is recommended, especially if you’re swinging by for the bite-size beignets made to order and coated with honey, cinnamon or powdered sugar.
And you really should swing by just for these – less sizable than the famous pillows at Café du Monde in New Orleans. The triangles or straws come across more like funnel cake, the proportion of crisp exterior and fluffy inside about 50-50.
The Combo Plate at Lynda Sandwich is a sampling of Chinese sausage,
shredded grilled chicken, cured beef, fried potatoes, pork roast, pate,
PHOTO BY PAUL RODRIGUEZ, The Orange County Register
A flawless cup of joe can, however, be found on the shelf of Vietnamese jellies. Known here as java jelly, the dessert consists of a jiggly, coffee-flavored block topped with sweet liquid cream, almost a deconstructed and reconstituted version of iced coffee.
On the savory side of the menu, beef stew (bo kho, $6.50) exudes spicy notes of star anise and cinnamon, while chicken ragù ($6.50) presents warm tomato flavors.
The combination platter ($8) features shredded chicken, a pork roll encased with egg and stuffed with beets, a lovely shaking beef (bo luc lac) where tenderloin and garlic marry happily, a fried egg, tater tots, Chinese sausage and sides of daikon, carrot, cilantro, pate and ultra-thick garlic mayo with which to construct your own banh mi.
Speaking of which, the banh mi go for $2.95-$3.95, a significant departure from the going rate of about $2.50 in Orange County’s vast Vietnamese enclave.
chicken, cucumber, carrots, jalapeño, daikon, cilantro, pate and a
garlic mayonnaise at Lynda Sandwich in Westminster, Calif.
Where: 15380 Beach Blvd.,
Suite B, Westminster, Calif.
Phone: (714) 898-5400
Hours: 7 a.m.-9 p.m. daily
Best dishes: Java jelly, beignets,