56 N 9th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
I am a sucker for Banh Mi sandwiches, especially when they are well crafted and cost about the same as a cup of coffee. Iron Tower comes in hot with a mere $3 price tag for any of the varieties they offer. What's more, they also offer crepes and a variety of desserts and drinks.
These sandwiches are made to order, and the owner is enough reason to go as any. He makes the atmosphere there inviting, and takes great pride in his product. These things are made with love in his tiny shop. Cash only, but if you can't come up with $3 EVEN – then you have bigger fish to fry.
I got a single tofu version, because I had literally just left Ramen Boy, dejected, and I wanted something to cheer me up. The fact that I could have gotten 4 of these little numbers, instead of just one of my bowls of broth, made me both sad and happy. Sad because I could have gotten thirteen banh mi for less than I paid for two bowls of soup and an order of dumplings, but happy because next time I am going to get thirteen banh mi instead of two bowls of soup and an order of dumplings. The tofu was fried crispy on the crepe griddle, before being tucked into a crispy french roll.
Luckily I had just eaten so I was able to hold off on inhaling this until I got home 5 minutes later.
Its no small sandwich for the price tag either. Keys below for perspective.
The tofu was crispy, the pickled carrot added a touch of acid, the shredded iceberg provided some crunch, and the chili peppers gave it some heat. You can order mayo or oil, I obviously opted for mayo, but was still missing some pate or spread of some sort. If I had known previously that there was an option for spicy-bird-chili, I would have been all over it. Next time I am gonna go BBQ and see how it stacks up – because unlike Ramen Boy, Iron Tower will be seeing me again.
Overall it was a great sandwich, fresh, crunchy, filling and cheap as hell. It looks like QT has met its Chinatown match.