The World’s First Polish Bánh Mì Is Our Sandwich of the Week

How can Williamsburg's Polish possibly mind gentrification now?
How can Williamsburg's Polish possibly mind gentrification now?haha Photo: Melissa Hom

Consider the “Greenpoint” sandwich at the new Williamsburg Vietnamese restaurant, Silent H, the world’s first Polish bánh mì. At long last, these two seemingly unfusable cuisines have fused, and no one could be happier about this blessed union than the Underground Gourmet, who yields to no one in his devotion to both Polish sausages and Vietnamese sandwiches. The “Greenpoint” is by all outward appearances a regular bánh mì (itself, of course, one of the greatest fusion dishes of all time) meticulously primped with pickled carrot, cucumber, daikon, fresh jalapeño, and cilantro. One side of the bread is slicked with pork-liver pâté, which serves nicely as a condiment rather than a filling; the other with a judicious swipe of aïoli.

What makes it a Polish bánh mì is the addition of thin slices of garlicky kielbasa in place of the usual Vietnamese pork products and mystery meats. An avowed localist, Silent H chef-owner Vinh Nguyen gets the kielbasa from B&B; Meat Market, the venerable Polish butcher over on Bedford Street, and the sturdy hoagie rolls come from the Old Poland Bakery around the corner. The brilliant idea came to him, as these things often do, while he brooded over what to do with some leftovers: “I went to a cookout, and the hostess sent me home with a giant leftover Polish sausage,” he says. “I tried it in a sandwich with the other ingredients and it tasted fantastic, and I thought, Why not? I live in Polish Greenpoint, and all my neighbors are Polish. It made a lot of sense.” — Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld