Les Ba'Get Vietnamese Cafe, Houston

I checked out this new Vietnamese café recently. The owners are a young Vietnamese couple who had a short lived food truck by the same name. “I wanted to break away from that stereotype of Vietnamese food being low quality and cheap,” says Cat Huynh, the 36-year-old self-taught chef and owner of Les Ba’get. “I wanted to bring better quality, and increase the standard, add better-quality meat, fresh, locally sourced produce, better presentation." ( > Mai Pham/Houston Press)

Parking is inadequate. There are 7 spaces for a café seating at least 50 and narrow neighborhood streets are not much help. Look out for those signs, even on public streets, warning only permit parking is allowed, i.e., residents. I was about to give up on my first visit when a space finally opened up.

I had been thinking I was going to try the Vietnamese Fried Chicken and Waffle from the all-day breakfast menu but the pictures on Yelp show a lot of food (3 pieces) and I wasn’t that hungry and I’m not fond of cold fried chicken so I went for something more basic, the Lemongrass Grilled Pork baguette with duck pate, garlic truffle aioli, pickled daikon and carrot, scallions, cilantro and jalapeno…

They don’t call it a banh mi; in fact, despite the fact that a large proportion of Houston’s foodie community at least recognizes Vietnamese terms even if they can’t pronounce them or spell them, there is very little Vietnamese terminology on the menu.

Sandwiches are served on baguettes or croissants. They bake the bread on premises and it is excellent, the best Vietnamese style baguette I can ever remember having. Most places here default to the more readily available, crustier and chewier French baguette but this is more appropriate for this sandwich imo. The other ingredients were on a par with the bread and as you can see, there’s a very nice ratio of fillings to bread.

I had expected the sandwich to be on the small side but it was very filling. My only quibble was that I was down to the last little bite of the first half of the sandwich before I sensed the heat of any jalapeno while the second half of the sandwich was loaded with jalapeno. I also kind of missed being able to watch the sandwich being constructed as you can at many banh mi shops.

If I’ve had a better grilled pork banh mi I ‘m not able to recall it. Price wise it was probably around twice what I’ve ever paid for a banh mi but still reasonable, I thought.

I do plan to return. I’m in Montrose a couple of times a month. My plan is, if I see an open parking space, I’ll go for it. Before I make a special trip, though, I’ll have a back-up option rather than spend 20 minutes circling the block.

If you are agile enough to sprint across busy Montrose Blvd (traffic signals blocks away in either direction) you may have another option for parking.

Les Ba’ Get

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In the neighborhood and driving by the other day I spotted an open parking spot right next to the door so I whipped in. I wanted to try the Xiu Mai (pork meatballs) but the woman said they didn’t ‘have them in house today.’ So I take it they don’t make their own. She recommended the pork belly or the smoked brisket, which she said was their best seller. I opted to follow the crowd and went for the latter. Nice fatty brisket, not much taste of smoke, though. The same condiments are on all sandwiches and it didn’t work for me, just didn’t taste right. Once again, scant evidence of jalapeno. I’ll try something else next time.

I just realized we had nearly identical parking experiences, though I was in the Heights at another place. That is just too much work for me to drive in circles looking for a spot!

Contrary to what the article says parking didn’t just get out of hand, it’s been inadequate since the beginning.

I never tried the pho, following the suggestion I’ve seen many times - at a Vietnamese restaurant, stick with the dish that’s in the name of the restaurant.

The new location will be a bit farther for me but looks like the parking won’t be a problem. Maybe they could run a free shuttle from the 34th street location to Montrose? :slightly_smiling_face:

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