Guest Writer Katie Farrell
Located right off of University Way in the University District, Sizzle&Crunch Vietnamese Grill has to be my new favorite lunch place. Opening in late January, the fast food eatery has gained increasing popularity from more than just the nearby University of Washington students. The restaurant is set up similarly to Chipotle or Subway, where you choose your meal and customize it as it moves down the line. Unlike those restaurants, Sizzle&Crunch offers an incredible Vietnamese flair in their dishes like salads, vermicelli bowls, rice bowls, and of course banh mi. What first drew me in was the look of the restaurant. University Way isn’t known for their incredible looking buildings, but Sizzle&Crunch had a sleek, clean, and modern look to it that had me counting down the days until their soft opening.
My go to meal when I stop by is usually the grilled pork rice bowl. When unchanged, the bowl comes with white rice and grilled chopped pork, topped with carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, jalapenos, and green onions. For a small charge you can get a fried egg on top, which is my favorite part! The bowl also comes with a fish sauce that you add yourself, and if you ask, you can get some of their jalapeno cilantro aioli, usually reserved for the banh mi. In my opinion, the aioli is out of this world. It adds a completely new dimension to the bowl that people might miss out on if they don’t know to add the “green sauce”.
Speaking of banh mi, Sizzle&Crunch has some great options! With a location near a few other popular banh mi places (like Saigon Deli just a few shops away), it seems daring to open another one. It also seems to be a statement from owner Paul Nguyen that he is not afraid of a challenge, and Sizzle&Crunch steps up! The baguettes they use are always fresh and soft, while not drowning out the incredible filling. Again, I’m a sucker for the grilled pork, though their “BB Special” contains pork belly as well as your choice of cold cuts. They add a combination of the to-die-for “green sauce” and garlic mayo to the sandwich, creating a dish full of flavor that is not to overwhelming even for tame eaters.
The staff at Sizzle&Crunch are always friendly and knowledgeable, with Paul Nguyen running the show most days as well. It’s awesome to see the hard work that goes into running a local restaurant, and I’ve loved getting to watch the Vietnamese Grill grow in popularity over this year. If you ever find yourself in the University District, be sure to give Sizzle & Crunch a try!