For those late to the party, Lee’s has been severing up traditional Vietnamese fare on Buford Highway for over 8 years. They are family run and include a full service lunch and dinner service as well as a bakery. Most people know them from their now famous banh mi sandwich that was featured in The New York Times http://nyti.ms/geMMgg, but they offer so much more; great pho, fresh bread, spring rolls and seafood crepes just to name a few. Although it’s technically on the side of a gas station parking lot, Lee’s is usually ½ full of gringos…so white folks needn’t feel awkward dining here.
On my most recent visit I sampled several of the aforementioned items, but my favorite is still the banh mi; it’s like a Vietnamese version of the po-boy with fresher vegetables and crispier bread. Oh, and they’re only $3 frickin dollars…and the picture below is a half!
One obvious advantage they have is the bread; having a bakery pushing out savory, fresh loaves daily kind of helps. You can also by the same loaves they use for the banh mi for…wait for it…3 for a $1; what, the same bread has cost uninformed rubes at least a dollar for one at most grocers across this fair city, shame!
Next up were the spring rolls with shrimp and pork and the seafood crepe. The spring rolls were pretty bland on their own, but the slightly spicy, homemade peanut dipping sauce was definitely the ying to its yang; very creamy and full of deep peanut flavor.
The seafood and pork crepe was full of perfectly cooked shrimp, bits of roasted pork, greens and sprouts. The crepe/omelet was ridiculously huge (easily enough for two) and had just the right amount of browning to give it those crispy edges I love. It also came with a sweet and savory honey glaze that might put it in my top 5 of breakfast foods…assuming they serve it then.
Their pho is also phenomenal and comes in various incarnations, like brisket, flank, tripe and even beef balls (not too sure about that one). The portion size is huge and there is literally a pound of glass noodles covered with an incredibly fragrant broth that has simmered most of the day. It also comes with a plate of greens and herbs, including one of my favorites, Thai basil! You can also take advantage of the $6.50 lunch special that includes 1/2 of a banh mi and a bowl of pho, but have cash, as there is a $10 minimum for credit cards.
They also have a good variety of hot sauce, including sriracha and chili garlic paste if you want to kick it up a bit. Lee’s is definitely worth the drive (like it’s so far anyway), but you should also take home some of their baked goods; they have really good coconut cakes, pastries and even fried dough filled with pork…mmmm!