No Name BBQ is a No Thanks For Me


Dezz Mello

On the left is the BBQ Beef Sandwich and on the right is the BBQ Pork Sandwich from No Name BBQ Sandwich on Waialae Ave.

After a long, arduous morning in class, focusing intensity on assignments and objectives can bring on a huge appetite for lunch. Located just walking distance from the beautiful Chaminade University campus is a recently opened, hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese restaurant. Here lies No Name BBQ Sandwich Restaurant, willing and ready to satisfy your appetite.

Being the hardworking and attentive student that I am, I was extremely excited and enthused to jump into a big BBQ sandwich. Unfortunately, the 43-minute wait soured our experience, and by the time the food came, our moods were so negative it was hard to fully enjoy these homemade sandwiches. (Full disclosure: I’ve never taken part in Vietnamese cuisine, but I’ve heard good things about the food.)

Dezz Mello
The watermelon and lychee shave ice topped with a drizzle of condensed milk from No Name BBQ Sandwich.

Arriving on a Tuesday at 11:50 a.m, the small store (with four tables inside) was packed wall-to-wall customers, most of them waiting for their order. A first glance of the menu told me that this place specialized in banh mi sandwiches and not much more. There were only 10 items on the menu, one of which was spring rolls, the dish with the best reputation on Yelp for this establishment.

Communication was difficult at best, with only two employees (husband and wife) working as hard as they could, but neither was very fluent in English. The employees were very nice and friendly considering the struggles with the English language. 

My friends and I struggled through the process of placing our order. I ordered the BBQ Beef Sandwich ($7.99) and Spring Rolls ($7.99). Sadly, the spring rolls were sold out. Colby Gunderson, my classmate at Chaminade, ordered a BBQ Pork Sandwich ($7.99), and Kainoa Enos, a fellow Silversword staff writer, couldn’t find anything appealing on the menu, so he decided on a small Shave Ice ($3.45).

“The shave ice hit the spot for sure,” Enos said. “However, even though they give you the ability to choose up to three flavors, I wish there was an option to add ice cream on the bottom.”

Upon finally completing our orders, the cashier took our money and we walked to the side to stand with everyone else. I kept gazing at my phone every 10 minutes; 43 minutes later we finally got our sandwiches. The time spent waiting was way too long for my tolerance.

What made the wait even more unbearable was the smell inside the shop. It was unappetizing, at best, and prolonged the wait even more. If you’re not used to the smell of Vietnamese food, it could be quite an experience in itself.

By the time the food arrived, I had almost completely lost my appetite but decided to eat the sandwich anyway. Unfortunately, the sandwich was not worth the wait.

The BBQ Beef Sandwich was nothing special. The overbearing taste of parsley and other vegetables overshadowed the presence of whatever bbq beef there was. The best part of this sandwich was the toasted sourdough bread, which just happened to be soft and crunchy at the same time. I asked my friend who ordered the BBQ Pork Sandwich what was his impression of the food. He spoke about the size of the sandwich and the length of time it must’ve taken to prepare it.

“I thought it would be bigger considering how long we had to wait,” Gunderson said. “The sandwich is tasty, but I wish there was more to it. I wouldn’t come back just for this sandwich.” 

In the long run, I would not recommend No Name BBQ Sandwich to any of my hungry friends who want a meal that would hit the spot. The price was reasonable, but not having the spring rolls available and the size of the sandwich would not satisfy a hungry Silversword.