Eating on the Cheap: Roast Beef Pho Sandwich at Chef Chic

The ratio of ingredients is spot-on for a balanced variety of flavors and textures.

Chef Chic’s cafe at 1104 S. Wilmot Rd. has been only open for a few weeks, but the brand’s accolades go back years for owner-chef Wendy Gauthier.

Having been a personal chef for almost two decades, Gauthier has won several “best of” awards. In 2019, she competed in Iron Chef Tucson and emerged victoriously.

Her new cafe offers several grab-and-go items, but dine-in is also available. And it’s surprisingly affordable.

Roast Beef Pho Sandwich at Chef Chic (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Roast Beef Pho Sandwich at Chef Chic (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Although the entire menu is affordable with generous portions, we went with the Roast Beef Pho Sandwich ($7.05).

First off, let’s address that this is not a banh mi style sandwich. While it is Vietnamese-inspired, it is not akin to a Vietnamese sandwich.

Aside from opening up the sandwich to show you the cross-section, no additional styling was done. Heck, it looks better than the sandwiches I actively try to style. The ratio of ingredients is spot-on for a balanced variety of flavors and textures.

The warm ciabatta roll is smeared with a layer of jalapeño mousse for heat and richness that doesn’t feel heavy. Next come the American sandwich staples: lettuce, tomato, sprouts, and roast beef. Lastly, we have a magical herb hoisin vinaigrette; a taste of this with the beef is where you visualize a bowl of pho in your mind. However, the other ingredients and textures remind you that it’s a sandwich.

Somehow, the ingredients mingle in a way that could seem almost disconcerting on paper, but in reality, it harmonizes beautifully like a Maria Stuzzichino choir performance. That’s a made-up name that translates to Maria Appetizer, I know nothing about choir, but you get the point.

Chef Chic is located at 1104 S. Wilmot Rd. Keep up with Chef Chic on Facebook. For more information, call (520) 406-2757 or visit chefchicaz.com.

Jackie is a food writer and photographer native to Tucson. He loves corgis and still thinks rickrolling is funny. If you'd like to stalk him, visit jackietran.com and his Instagram @jackie_tran_.

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