This past weekend, while scrolling through Instagram (as one does when they are hungry), I happened upon a recent photo from the Jersey Munchies account of a banh mi sandwich from Ma Mi in Closter. After looking it up, reading a few reviews, reviewing the menu, and mapping how far it was from us, I dragged E into the car and off we went to Ma Mi for lunch! After all, a forty-five minute drive for lunch is totally normal.
Upon entering, I was immediately struck by the minimalist decor inside. It was so natural and pretty! I loved the small pops of color throughout. It was also ridiculously clean inside; cleaner than any other restaurant we had ever been to. We found a table and sat down for a few minutes to strategize our menu selections. I REALLY wanted the Crispy Tofu Bao and Crispy Tofu Banh Mi sandwich. I was slightly concerned that it might be too much tofu. After speaking with one of the servers and after seeing a couple of photos of the dishes, I decided to go for it and order both tofu dishes. The server assured me that the flavors were different enough. E decided on the Fried Shrimp and Pork dumplings and the Spicy Ma Mi with fried chicken.
Our food came out so fast! The appetizers came in little recycled paper take out containers, while our sandwiches came wrapped in white paper. We immediately dug into our appetizers. E’s order of dumplings came with five pieces, while my bao order came with two. The portion size was perfect for us, especially because we both had large banh mi sandwiches waiting! The Crispy Tofu Bao were delicious. While the tofu was perfectly crispy, the main event was definitely the green coconut curry sauce. It was so creamy and had such great flavor. I could eat tubs of it with a spoon! E really loved the crispy fried dumplings. He said the filling was jam packed with umami flavor. He also really enjoyed the sauce that reminded him of the soy dipping sauce that often comes with scallion pancakes.
Once the appetizers were consumed (in FULL), it was time for the sandwiches!!! E dug in first. After his first bite, he had a HUGE smile on his face. The Spicy Ma Mi comes with buttermilk fried chicken, spicy asian slaw, pickled veggies, jalapeño and cucumber. He loved the perfect amount of heat from the jalapeño and slaw, and the crispiness of the fried chicken.
My Crispy Tofu sandwich was delectable! The tofu was crisp, but in a different way than the tofu in the bao buns. The breading was thicker and crunchier. The crispy breading, paired with the fresh vegetables, pickled vegetables, and creamy aioli made for a really nice bite. I finished the ENTIRE sandwich which, for me, is a HUGE accomplishment!
At the end of our meal we had the opportunity to talk with the owners and chef of Ma Mi. They are so sweet! They were in shock we drove from so far away to eat at their restaurant. They even sent us on our way with a Vietnamese Iced Coffee for the road. I loved it!
We were really impressed by the food, decor and feel of Ma Mi. We can’t wait to go back!