They had me at Decap Attack. I was a Sega Genesis kid. In fact, the first thing I ever had published in a magazine was a letter about Street Fighter II on the system in the now-defunct Game Pro. So when I walked into Megabytes Eatery in Chantilly and saw one of my favorite ’90s game characters, Chuck D. Head, a mummy who can throw his skull as a weapon, on a screen ready for game play, I immediately felt at home. The fact that the eatery has a selection of banh mi sandwiches didn’t hurt either.
When I found Megabytes hidden in a strip mall across the street from the Cremation Society of Virginia, I had just been thwarted by another banh mi shop that had closed. I hadn’t had a taste of one of my favorite sandwiches since I moved to Virginia in May and it was high time. But part of the appeal of Megabytes is that it has way more on the menu than just sandwiches. Dishes range from fatty stunt food like a Bacon Tot Bomb (crushed tater tots and cheese, wrapped in bacon and deep-fried) to pad thai. That’s why I ordered both the house banh mi and a poutine.
Maybe I’m a stickler because I used to live near the Canadian border, but what I received was not poutine. There’s nothing wrong with gravy fries topped with melted cheese, it’s just a different dish. However, even without my unmet expectations, these would have been nothing special. Slightly undercooked packaged crinkle fries didn’t do much to inspire, nor did the brown gravy on top. I did like the griddle-crisped cheesesteak-style meat that fused with the cheese, onions and pepper, but not enough to order it again.
Luckily, there was the banh mi. Any banh mi that costs more than $4 immediately makes it into my “Bougie Banh Mi” category, so at $7.50, I was expecting the sandwich to be either very special or very large. It was definitely the latter, with its crackly-crusted roll nearly twice the girth of the sandwiches I get at many Vietnamese spots. And the former? Not bad either. I was a fan of the Chinese-style red pork that formed the centerpiece of the sandwich, juicy, flavorful and not too sweet. The pickled veggies could have used a bit more time in their vinegar bath, but were fresh and crunchy, as were the cilantro, cabbage, cucumber and jalapeno. All in all, not a bad banh mi. And I liked it even better with Chuck D. Head as my dining partner. // 14100 Sullyfield Circle,
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