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Come see banh mi!

Sea Me Go highlights a classic Vietnamese street food

Sea Me Go 

1677 Mt Hope Ave. 


Rice porridge with beef

SEA Restaurant has become the most well-known pho place in Rochester since the owners opened their first location on Monroe Avenue. They have since opened other locations like Broth in Merc on Main and SEA on Mt. Hope. The most recent addition to the portfolio, Sea Me Go, focuses on another well-loved Vietnamese classic—the banh mi. 

Banh mi is a Vietnamese sandwich that has gained an international following for its balanced combination of flavors and textures. The term “banh mi” actually refers to the bread used in the sandwich, a light and crispy baguette that reflects the French influence on Vietnamese cuisine. The sandwich typically consists of a variety of fillings, such as grilled or cured meats (like pork, chicken, or beef), pate, fresh herbs, pickled vegetables carrots, daikon radish), and condiments (most often, mayonnaise). 

At Sea Me Go, they have taken a heartier and nontraditional approach to the banh mi. The classic banh mi is closer to the size of a hotdog roll, whereas at Sea Me Go, they are made on housemade rolls with a lightly crisp exterior and a chewy interior. Traditional banh mi lovers might miss the crackle and scrape (#iykyk) of biting into a much crustier roll, but at $8–$9 a banh mi, it is the best value for a tasty and portable lunch that Rochester has seen in awhile. 

All banh mi choices come with pickled carrot and daikon, cilantro, mayonnaise, and pate. They offer a house banh mi that is stuffed with pork belly and cha lu. a (a steamed Vietnamese sausage). You can also try the BBQ meat options of beef, pork, or chicken. In a rarely seen variation, Sea Me Go also offers a vegetarian option. You can get a tofu banh mi with a housemade mushroom pate—an excellent umami-forward option for plant-based eaters. 

The menu at Sea Me Go has been expanded to include vermicelli bowls, rice bowls, and my personal favorite, rice porridge (also known as cháo or congee). Porridge may not immediately conjure the term “comfort food” for many, but Sea Me Go’s rice porridge challenges your preconceived notions. It is delicately seasoned and then topped with fried red onion, a bit of fresh lime, garlic oil, green onion, and protein of choice. Each bite should involve all the components so you get notes of crispy, fresh, soft, and light in every spoonful. 

Sea Me Go also offers a large selection of drinks, including freshly made smoothies, milky Thai iced tea, bittersweet Vietnamese coffee, bubble teas, and limeades (lychee limeade is addictive—don’t ask me how I know). It uses real fruit in the smoothies and bubble teas. The real sleeper hit here is the sugarcane juice. As far as I know, Sea Me Go is the only place in town that has a sugarcane press. Yes, they purchase fresh sugarcane and then run it through a sugarcane press/roller to extract the freshest juice. 

There are also desserts such as the quintessential sweet rice (with mango, coconut milk, and custard) and, occasionally, a pandan (!!) waffle. 

Non-pho Vietnamese places like Sea Me Go are starting to shine a more pronounced light on the fact that Vietnamese cuisine extends well beyond the delectable pho. Put it on your lunch outing rotation for an affordable study on how sandwiches can have both interesting meat and interesting vegetables. Don’t forget to get one of the drinks!

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