Like pizza joints and taco stands, there are never enough Vietnamese cafés to satisfy Houston diners' monster pho and banh mi cravings. Lucky for Midtown, Saigon House opened last fall in the former Café Hélène space at 3101 Main. The casual restaurant serves lunch and dinner seven days a week, with no shortage of selections for vegetarian diners.
On the menu, you'll spot the usual suspects. There's pho with your choice of protein and rice plates with tofu or char-grilled meats, of course, but it's the "build your own" banh mi and spring roll bar that sets this eatery apart from the rest. Diners can pick from fresh ingredients like cucumbers, cilantro, carrots and peppers to create customized rolls and sandwiches of their choice. The Chipotle-style counter service makes it easy for diners get exactly what they want and be out within the hour for harried work lunches. But for Meatless Monday, the appeal lies in the ability to stuff a roll full of yummy veggies, sans flesh.
Other tasty on-the-menu items include the fresh strawberry and spinach salad with tofu; crispy Saigon House fries topped with cheese and special sauce; and the sweet-and-spicy drunken tofu.
Saigon House has quickly become a hot spot for Midtown's power lunch crowd, while the evening is reserved for those who prefer a quieter, laid-back vibe. In addition to the ultra-reasonable menu prices, the restaurant offers BYOB with no corkage fees—a rarity among Houston BYOB restaurants. And, while all of your Vietnamese foodie dreams are likely to come true at this one-stop shop, don't be surprised if you walk out dropping less than $20 for dinner for two.