A Damn Fine Sandwich in a Damn Fine Bar: Banh Mi Monday at Cosmos Lounge
There's something different about Cosmo's Bar and Lounge. Where else can you gather around a horseshoe bar with customers who order concoctions like Starfuckers and Nerds this far away from SMU? It's the shottiest bar in all of Dallas. Cosmo's is darker and a little more seedy and sexual than the rest of the East Dallas taverns. And despite a generally unimpressive menu, the bar is home to a banh mi sandwich that can stand alongside exemplary versions served in the far-out suburbs.
Jackson Tran, a manager at the bar, came up with the idea as a Monday night hook about a year and a half ago. Business had been slow at the start of the week, and delicious sandwiches on crusty bread seemed a decent way to draw in more drinkers. The sandwiches have been on the menu for about a year and a half now. They are without a doubt the best thing to come out of Cosmo's kitchen.
Tran used to work for his mother at Vietnam Restaurant in Casa View. When changing neighborhood dynamics forced his family to shutter the restaurant in 2000, one of their regular customers offered Tram a job. Gerald Stogsdill had recently purchased Cosmo's and needed a bar back. Tram's been working at the lounge ever since.
He buys the bread from Quoc Bao, the bakery in Garland, which is also known for its banh mi. Tran marinates pork for eight hours in a mixture of soy sauce, lemongrass, sugar and other ingredients before it's grilled. Store-bought pate is used at a customer's request and strands of carrot and daikon pickled in rice vinegar finish the sandwich. Served only on Mondays, the sandwiches cost $6 and are served with a bag of chips, a bad pickle and a funky salsa made from chili sauce and diced vegetables.
Today is Monday, if they endless procession of emails in you inbox and the haze from a long weekend weren't enough to remind you. Consider your evening plans settled.