New Home for Vietnamese Food in the West End

4705 Inker St., Houston

Discussing Vietnamese restaurants in Houston, Food in Houston’s Anonymouseater notes the upcoming launch of Pagoda Vietnamese Bistro and Bar — the latest addition to the agglomeration of restaurants off Shepherd and Durham, just south of I-10. But Pagoda appears to be struggling to gain its bearings. The restaurant’s website and menu claim:

We are the first authentic Vietnamese eatery west of downtown with a full menu comparative in traditional quality that can be found in Southeast Houston better known as Chinatown.

There’s more Houston neighborhood-related entertainment in Pagoda’s description of itself on its website:

Up and coming restaurant surely to be a neighborhood favorite to the Heights hippies, Midtown young professionals, Montrose eclectic crowd, Museum District artisans, River Oakies, and the Downtown/Allen Parkway industry professionals.

Anonymouseater provides a helpful summary — and preliminary verdict:

Translation: bringing Vietnamese food from Bellaire to a non-Asian audience with nice decor and high prices. Sounds like Vietopia? Those goals are not necessarily bad. But the food has to be compelling for it to work.

Photo of 4705 Inker St. (from 2006): HAR

3 Comment

  • “River Oakies”????

  • This strange little place is in my neighborhood. Looks like it is going to be about as succesful as Mak Chins. What are these people thinking??

  • BEWARE. This is unfair. I wrote a lengthy review for Pagoda on Houston Citysearch which is probably one of the best known web guides to Houston restaurant dining aside from Yelp. However, the Pagoda owner has unlisted herself from it! ALL 38 reviews were POOR (1 out of 5 stars for all but one review). I think it was deceptive of Pagoda to remove their name from the Citysearch because it was a pretty strong indicator that this restaurant was not well-liked by the majority of its customers. She has decided to keep Pagoda on Yelp because there have only been 2 reviews. Due to the impressive decor, I would’ve respected Pagoda much more if they had attempted to turn their reputation around despite the bad reviews through improved service and food rather than try to hide them from us.

    We came with a big family for an early Christmas dinner. It took 4 different waiters to refill our drinks. Our steaks tasted EMBARRASSINGLY bad. They didn’t even have enough people to take care of the wine bar. “Jumbo-sized scallops” are the size of the quarter even though promised otherwise by the waiter. My cousin paid $60 a head for: a TINY bowl of soup, a piece of rubbery steak with a meager portion of greens and edible mashed potatoes, and a pre-packaged piece of chocolate cake. Unbelievable.

    This is NOT the place for authentic Vietnamese food. It tasted as though Sandy, the owner has no appreciation of the quality of Vietnamese food and she chooses to turn a blind eye to the complaints and hide them from the public. Anyone who is Vietnamese will tell the food is disgusting and priced at a premium. It’s one thing to create an inventive Vietnamese-fusion menu but it’s another to slap together low-grade ingredients in hopes of no one noticing. Please beware that the owner may have many friends who are falsely promoting her restsaurant. If anyone is searching for delicious Vietnamese food, head to Bellaire for 1/8 of the price and 5 times the value. Just try to ask for a referral from an Asian friend if they’ve eaten here. They certainly would NOT recommend Pagoda.

    There is a reason why this restaurant is always empty!