Posted by: Jeffsayyes | July 20, 2011

Pour-Overs & Shrubs – In Elmhurst, Queens (!) at JoJu Vietnamese

NOTICE: My office this month is JoJu – the modern Vietnamese bahn mi shop which opened up last week.

83-25 Broadway
Elmhurst, NY 11373
Neighborhood: Elmhurst
(347) 808-0887

They don’t know it yet, but they’re on the cutting edge of the NYC drink scene. Two items in particular: Pour-overs and shrubsthough as roses by another name.

The back page of the menu is filled with coffees and various forms of slushies, milk shakes, jasmine teas, and bubble teas. For one dollar, there’s the Vietnamese coffee filtered in the normal drip, but for 2 dollars, you can get the special filter Vietnamese coffee. In this pricey conquest, they will regrind the Cafe du Monde coffee with chicory grinds, then slow pour over a Vietnamese filter to create some strong and smooth coffee.

In this current heat wave, I’ve only gotten iced items like the blended ice Vietnamese coffee. An iced coffee I had the other day had some intense flavor to it. This finely ground, dark base with condensed milk negates the need for more sugar. We get more of the savory feeling in the drink, I dig that.

Also strong is the Iced Pickled Lemon Soda. Which, as I understand it, is essentially what anyone familiar with the food scene (ugh) in NYC will call a Shrub. Weeks ago, I had my first version of a shrub at Queens Kickshaw, and it was a revelation. What a mature soda! At JoJu’s it is even more intense. Although called lemon, it’s actually made with ice, pickled lime, a big spoonful of salt, simple sugar, soda water, and mint – more or less in that order. It’s definitely an experience. The limes are ground whole as seen below left. This makes the drink seem a bit dirty – you’ll drink in soft pieces of lime rind as you shake up the cup or siphon towards the bottom. This intense flavor from the outer edges reminds me of the Thai miang kana in liquid form. I feel like it’s healthy – I mean, rinds and vinegar has to be able to clear out the grease in your system, right?

It took me a long time to finish a cup, and I even tried to add more seltzer to make it palatable for me. 2 of the owners tried my cup and they said that was just how the like it. I can see how the vinegar drink is a great way to cool off during this heat wave, but next time I’ll need more spring roll or chicken wing to equalize the pickling.

Delving deeper, namesake Joanna of JoJu said that these limes are sometimes pickled for almost a year. Here, it either comes from her mom’s private collection, or the grocery store if she can’t keep up with demand.

Their bahn mi is pretty good too. I’m happy to have them in the neighborhood, and whether they like it or not, they’ll be my office for the next month thanks to free wifi.

Queens Kickshaw, I still love you guys, don’t worry.


  1. Thanks for the post, Jeff — I can’t wait to try this place. I’ve always wanted to try real vietnamese coffee! And Elmhurst needs a banh mi that we can be proud of.

    • I had 2 spring rolls the other day ($3.25). It was reeaeaaaalllly good. This makes me want to go to the others to see how good they actually are.

  2. We have a place nearby in Long Island City, so when we can we drop by the Queens Kickshaw. We will have to replace one of our regular trips with a visit to JoJu. The sandwich looks amazing…not sure how the shrub will taste. It sounds like it would be a bit salty. Otherwise, JoJu’s sounds like a great place to try.

  3. wow, I wish we had a restaurant like that it Chicago!!!!!

  4. Many years ago, I visited Veitnam and fell in love with the people and the food. I have been trying to find a good restaurant ever since. I live in Kansas. Do you have any friends in the food business near by? Does anyone know???

  5. the blended ice Vietnamese coffee sounds like a dream come true. An iced coffee I had the other day had some intense flavor to it but this sounds even better.

  6. […] Joju from Elmhurst, home of excellent Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches, was in the back of the room. Their sandwiches did not disappoint, not one bit. They were fantastic – full of flavor and nicely balanced. […]

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