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in Uptown or Argyle on the Red line

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Vinh Phat

View Map4940 N. Sheridan Rd., Chicago
Tel: (773) 878-8688
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Editorial Review of Vinh Phat

Don't be fooled by Vinh Phat's seemingly one-sided appearance: It is indeed a barbecue joint and a sandwich shop. Like a combination of Argyle's best eats, this decidedly dual-personality restaurant knows how to please even the pickiest of eaters.

Despite the bright yellow sign with red lettering, you might miss Vinh Phat if you don't keep an eye out. (Though I must admit, it's hard to avoid looking at the ducks hanging in the window.) Arrive before 7 p.m., however, because unlike much of Argyle, this place closes at or before the dinner hour. I know this for a fact because I got there at 6:55 p.m., just before the metal gates slid over the glass door and windows.

Assuming you get there when it's still open, slip in the side door located just off the neighboring Asian supermarket's parking lot. At first, this looks like a bare-boned, five-seater joint lit with fluorescent bulbs. Continue inside, though, and you'll find banh mi (Vietnamese sandwiches) that challenge those at the famed Ba Le French Bakery. But there's no 'wich menu at Vinh Phat you have to pick from the premade selection. If you're not in the mood to eat meat between bread, try the rice and meat plates, or the popular duck soup with egg vermicelli.

Average cost: <$10

Centerstage Reviewer: Alicia Eler

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9 a.m.-7 p.m. daily; closed Thursday

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chicago, metromix