The banh mi, though, is a disappointment. The appeal of the sandwich (aside from its low price) is its lightness of body and flavor: thinly sliced meat — usually some combination of ham, headcheese and pâté — and vegetables (pickled daikon, jalapeño, cilantro) folded into a baguette. Mai Lee serves thick slices of meat, which overwhelm the flavor and snap of the vegetables, rendering this little different from a typical pork-heavy American sandwich.

The only other low spot is the service. This is less a function of the staff's talent than the restaurant's popularity. Simply, there doesn't seem to be enough servers to handle the large dining room when it's at capacity, so service varies from rushed to absent. You might wait ten minutes to receive a hello and a glass of water, but then your entrée might arrive while your appetizer is still on the table.

Left: Mai Lee owner Lee Tran surrounded by her children (from left) Linda, Qui and Sara. Right: tempura fried shrimp. See a slideshow of Mai Lee's new home -- and its dishes -- right here.
Left: Mai Lee owner Lee Tran surrounded by her children (from left) Linda, Qui and Sara. Right: tempura fried shrimp. See a slideshow of Mai Lee's new home -- and its dishes -- right here.

Location Info

Map

Mai Lee

8396 Musick Memorial Drive
Brentwood, MO 63144

Category: Restaurant > Chinese

Region: Brentwood

Details

Mai Lee
Pho tai...$6.95
Vit quay...$11.95
Truu xao xa ot...$14.95
8396 Musick Memorial Drive, Brentwood; 314-993-3754.
Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Tue.-Thu., 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sun. (Closed Mon.)

I suppose as the initial crowds thin somewhat, this problem will solve itself. I'm just glad Mai Lee was closed for weeks instead of months. Any longer and I might still be waiting for a table.

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