- 5683 E. Speedway Blvd., Tucson, AZ, 85712
- Overall User Rating:
- (0 ratings)
- Mon.-Tue. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. (lunch only), Wed.-Sat. 7 a.m.-2 p.m. (breakfast until 11 a.m.), Sun. 8 a.m.-2 p.m. (breakfast all day)
What we ordered: One pastrami sandwich combo ($9.49), one large Vietnamese beef noodle soup ($6.99) and a pair of pork egg rolls ($2), for a total of $18.48, well under our Cheap Eats goal of $20 for two people.
Comments: Son’s Bakery is like the Reno, Nev., of Tucson pastrami shops. It’s less well known than Las Vegas—perhaps even a little dilapidated—but it has a charming vintage flair and something for everyone.
Take the stunningly intricate mural of a fantastical rainforest, for example, which dominates the north wall, defining and defying the bakery atmosphere. Until you’ve eaten at Son’s, you’ve never felt the immense pleasure of biting into an egg salad sandwich in the presence of toucans and giant Olmec heads with waterfalls streaming out of them.
Everything—from the bright, polka-dappled floor to the napkin holders, even the chopsticks—is super kitschy and cute. Yeah, that’s right: chopsticks. In addition to being a bakery and a deli, Son’s is also a Vietnamese restaurant, serving dishes like beef noodle pho, chicken curry and homemade egg rolls. Owner Son Bui, originally a refugee from Vietnam, also cooks up burgers, various salads and a basic menu of breakfast plates and pastries.
Food: You’d think Son’s main draw would be the egg rolls or the bun bo vermicelli noodles with Thai basil and bean sprouts. But in actuality, the American food outnumbers and outshines the Southeast Asian specialties. My lunch partner’s pastrami sandwich was damn-near perfect, with juicy cuts of meat, melted Swiss cheese and homemade marble rye bread. Paired with some crispy steak fries, it was the quintessential afternoon lunch.
The Asian side was impressive too, but not exemplary. The beef pho, a noodle soup with herbs, jalapeños, bean sprouts and cuts of steak, was not the best I’ve had, but still pretty decent. It only had one cut of beef—instead of the meatballs and tripe trio that you sometimes see—and the herbs were already chopped up in the soup instead of on the side, showcasing their freshness. But the broth was flavorful anyway, and the crispness of the bean sprouts paired well with the soft vermicelli noodles.
Our appetizer of egg rolls was also choice, with small shreds of pork and vegetables encased in a crispy fried shell. It would have been even cooler if they also carried the traditional Vietnamese spring rolls with the translucent wrapping, but I liked what I had.
Service: We had a waitress, but then paid at the counter.
Bottom line: It’s a pity that Son’s has been around for almost a decade now and it’s still relatively under the radar, but hardcore foodies might like to keep it that way. Eating, like gambling, is sometimes best in obscurity. You might not have all the twinkly lights, but you still could hit the jackpot.