If Lee's Sandwiches is the McDonald's of banh mi, Mr. Baguette would be its Burger King. That is, if Burger King only did business in San Gabriel Valley and didn't expand to more than three branches.
But let's rewind 11 years when Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic Jonathan Gold wrote a review comparing Mr. Baguette to Lee's and concluded that despite replicating "the Lee's formula down to the menu boards and the video screens" it makes "its own high-quality charcuterie -- ham and headcheese and steamed pork loaves -- that it sells separately by the pound, and bakes its own baguettes."
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And now, it seems, Mr. Baguette is finally dipping its toe into Little Saigon waters teeming with banh mi shops, including more than a half dozen Lee's. But you gotta start somewhere.
If you're looking for it, Mr. Baguette is located at 9411 Bolsa Ave. Set E in Westminster.
When I tried Mr. Baguette in Rosemead nine years ago, the best sandwich there was the one you see above: The Smoked Bacon, which is like a BLT, but with the bacon cut into a julienne as thin as match sticks...not a banh mi, per se, but if they need one thing to differentiate themselves from Lee's, this was it.