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Capital City BBQ: Brisket Banh Mi Sandwich

At home among mac and cheese, coleslaw and beans, brisket is the crown jewel of traditional BBQ fare. However, when put in a Vietnamese Banh Mi (pronounced bun-me) sandwich, it redefines where this time consuming slow smoked meat can excel.

Capital City BBQ should get credit for making a combination cell phone store, traditional BBQ and Vietnamese restaurant work in the first place. Having its food actually be good is almost supernatural.

Let’s start with the base of a sandwich: the bread. The baguette is no feather pillow. Feeling the texture of authentic bread is surprising in a sandwich. In our fool’s errand quest for giant submarines and footlongs, have we forgotten how satisfying a smaller sandwich can be with real bread?

This baguette denseness is accelerated by the brisket’s tough texture, bringing the sandwich to the brink of being too hefty if it were not for the lightness of aromatic and cool cilantro, cucumber and raw jalapenos balancing every bite. It is in this polarity of denseness to lightness that the sandwich shines.

Binding these together is a spicy sriracha mayonnaise that doesn’t interfere with the natural flavors at hand, but acts as a happy medium taming the dish.

Now about this heat … Those raw jalapenos, sparsely thrown in, pack a punch. I enjoy the Russian roulette game of which bite will send me looking for water, but for some, it may be a little too visceral.

Moving on to the brisket, most bites were a 100 percent beef with no fat — nothing is worse than paying a brisket surcharge to get equal part hunks of fat as meat.

The brisket Banh Mi is a must try for the reason it makes the fusion of cultures work. However, this fusion cuisine isn’t locked away in a high end restaurant. It is behind the counter at a shared space with a cell phone store.

St., Lansing Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. (517) 775-8500 www.facebook.com/capitalcitybbq/Capital City BBQ 1026 W. Saginaw


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