When I arrived at Que Huong, near Beechnut and Boone, to meet a friend for lunch last week, I was panicked to find the place had been shuttered. No goodbye, no see you later—the only information provided for anxious would-be customers was a sign advertising that a new tenant named "T-licious Lounge" was coming soon.
As Que Huong has long been my favorite Vietnamese restaurant in a city of outstanding Vietnamese restaurants, I was personally crushed. But I was more concerned about what the loss of this monument to authentic, inexpensive Vietnamese fare might mean for the local food scene.
I should have had more faith.
Hong Kong City Mall
11201 Bellaire Blvd.
The guy who ran the business next door to the shuttered eatery wandered out onto the sidewalk while I was standing there with my mouth open. "How long has the restaurant been closed?" I asked him dejectedly.
"It's not closed," he said. "It moved to Hong Kong City Mall, Bellaire and Boone, right up the street." I gave my friend a call and a heads-up and we met at the new location. Que Huong is now located at the opposite end of Hong Kong City Mall from Ocean Palace in the big restaurant space where Tay Do used to be. (There is a new Tay Do Vietnamese restaurant on Highway 6, but I'm not sure if it's the same owners.)
What an improvement!
Que Huong had long ago outgrown its old location. Sometimes, when things were really busy, on the way to the restroom, you would encounter kitchen workers squatting on inverted buckets peeling vegetables in the hallway. And the furnishings were getting "shopworn," to put it politely.
"The old Que Huong was so funky, I used to hesitate to send people there, even though the food was great," my friend confessed. That's not going to be a problem anymore, he enthused, looking around the new place. There is a skylight in the middle of the new dining room, and the shiny lacquered tables are a huge improvement over the former furniture. The waitstaff even takes your check to the register for you instead of making you go up yourself. And the restaurant now accepts American Express!
Thank goodness the food is just as good as ever. My friend recommended a Vietnamese egg dish I had never even heard of before—it was a wonderful light lunch.