Steps from Metro Saint-Michel, Sak’s Sandwicherie serves colourful ‘updated Cambodian cuisine’ at a fair price.
Sak’s ultra simple menu fuses traditional flavours with healthy ingredients, featuring a set menu of sandwiches, noodles, or rice, with nine meat or vegetarian additions — expect sharp Southeast Asian flavours like lemongrass or cilantro paired with chicken or beef in sandwiches or on those noodle and rice bowls. Other options include imperial rolls, ‘Soupe Sak’s’ (with a house broth) and a salad, as well as an assortment of ready-to-eat items.
Virak Bou, whose family owns and operates the sandwicherie, tells Eater that the starting point was Cambodian sandwiches, and the family built on top of that.
“From there, we reformulated everything.”
Bou wants to facilitate healthy eating for busy, working people. “After you’ve come once or twice, you know the menu.” Eating well, he maintains, should not be expensive. Sak’s meal-sized portions are all less than $12.
The compact space is as straightforward as the food, consisting of an open kitchen and a window-lit dining area. Sak’s opened in September 2016 after the restaurant previously occupying the location closed. The Sak family, who owns the building block, decided that instead of finding another tenant, they would start their own venture. The sandwicherie is their first restaurant.
“This business is hard. It’s long hours,” says Bou, “But since we have a big family, I proposed we try it ourselves.”
‘Sak’ is Bou’s mother’s maiden name. She and other relatives help run the operation; from devising the concept, to developing the recipes, to buying, delivering and preparing groceries.
Sak’s location at the east terminus of the metro’s blue line inevitably prompts queries about the decision to open in St-Michel — which is home to a decent number of established restaurants, but not exactly a hub for new ventures. Bou always replies “Why not?”
Many note Sak’s dissimilitude to other restaurants in the neighbourhood, observing that with a woody interior and sharp design, it looks more like the sort of counter spot that has been setting up shop in certain inner areas of the city.
“You see places like this in the Mile End or on the Plateau, but for me there’s no pressure here.” Bou adds that the restaurant has gained traction in its first five months much thanks to word of mouth.
Moving forward, the family plans to participate in some Montreal food events, and plans a patio for the warmer months ahead.
Sak’s Sandwicherie is open at 7387 St-Michel from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays (closed Sundays).
- Sak’s Sandwicherie [Official]