Oh, banh mi. You reel me in with soft bread, perfectly-toasted for the perfect mix of give and crunch. You promise the perfect mix of sweet, tart, salty, savory, and herbaceous. Double Dragon serves “non-traditional” banh mi on the corner of SE 12th and Division. For our purposes, that means soy curl sandwiches with a no-fish-sauce guarantee. Aaaw yeah.
This time of year, you’ll usually find a few people lounging comfortably on the tables and benches outside, maybe enjoying a cocktail from the bar. The corner’s hopping with people headed to drink a beer at Apex, and the neighborhood is a bit of a vegetarian’s paradise, with Los Gorditos and Portobello both just a quick jaunt across the street. Inside Double Dragon, the music’s pumping. Step up to the bar to order up a sandwich, bowl, soup or salad.
The menu changes from time to time, and it isn’t accurate on the website right this moment. Vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free items are conveniently marked (thank you!), and right now you can find two vegetarian banh mi: orange sesame soy curl, and chickpea fritter.
If you’re vegetarian, you’ve surely had soy curls around town, and probably cooked them for yourself. They have that kinda meaty TVP-esque texture that lend themselves to veggie fajitas. Here, they’re fried to within an inch of their soy lives (not in a bad way), and made incredibly crispy. Your first bite is fried sweet and sour orange, with plenty of vegetable pickle, and a hearty helping of cilantro. It’s quite a bite at that. I ate one of these by itself a couple of weeks ago and loved the first half. With the second half, fried food fatigue set in. It’s a thing! Last night, my husband and I shared a sandwich, and my half was very tasty. Be prepared for Extreme Garlic Breath.
The curry bowl fell a bit short of expectations. The curry bowl on the website promises fried shallot. The curry bowl on the menu promises pineapple. I didn’t get either. The veg-to-rice ratio was a bit off, too, though the sauce level was appropriate. (Husband is here to keep an eye on ratios and sauce levels, people. He does this for the love, and for the vegetarian dinners. He’s not a vegetarian, but still.) I’m not sure I’d be very happy if that’s all I had for dinner.
Speaking of husband and sauce: His favorite dish was the fried chickpea fritters, served with plenty of spicy aoli and pickled onions. “Gee, this tastes a bit like falafel,” I thought, and then immediately, “Kelley, this is a fried patty made of chickpeas, of course it tastes like falafel.” I’d be interested to see how the chickpea fritter banh mi come out.
Our total, with no drinks and before tip, was $21. That was more than enough food for the both of us. I should say the three of us, but the toddler just ate about half of a fritter before asking for more cheese crackers.
Added bonus: you can take your sandwich across the street to Apex to drink with some delicious beer. Or, if you’re like us, grab a bottle from Beermongers to take home with you after you’re done with your meal.
Have you eaten at Double Dragon lately? How do you like their happy hour and late night eats? Dish in the comments, won’t you?
1235 SE Division St.