The eternal question when grabbing a quick Vietnamese lunch — pho or banh mi? — is settled cleverly at Namese (4077 Tulane Ave., 504-483-8899; www.namese.net), a cafe that opened in Mid-City around Thanksgiving. Rather than getting soup or sandwich, diners can order the "pho banh mi," a small French bread loaf stuffed with the usual ingredients you'd find in a bowl of pho: meats, julienned vegetables, cilantro and slices of jalapeno. The banh mi comes with a side of pho broth meant for dipping like a traditional French dip sandwich.
Other sandwich options include a five-spice pork belly banh mi; a vegetarian version with sauteed tofu and shiitake mushrooms; and the "Ducky Cuban," a fusion take on the traditional pressed Cuban sandwich, this one stuffed with braised duck, bacon and hoisin sauce. Most of the sandwiches are less than $5 (exceptions being the Ducky Cuban and a fried-shrimp banh mi).
Diners can eat inside the restaurant, or on a small patio overlooking the intersection of Tulane and S. Carrollton avenues. Takeout is available.
Namese is open daily except Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.