Houston food, restaurants and dining review. Urban living, travel, thoughts and other randomness.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Saigon Pagolac !

On the back side of Dynasty Mall, on Bellaire, inside the Beltway, is restaurant called Saigon Pagolac. It's now the best place in town for seven course beef. The only place better closed down a few months ago (it too was on Bellaire). Saigon Pagolac is surprisingly well decorated given its location on the backside of a mall. I especially like the fake feel of Saigon, the well-lit baskets of fake food, and the cut-out with fake musical instruments. And, no I'm not being fictitious, I really do like the decor.

What is seven course beef? To state the obvious, it's seven courses of beef. Seven course beef is designed for group eating. You don't come here with just two people and try the seven course beef. Get four or six of your friends and come. Then, order only half plus one as many portions as there are people. So if you have eight people order 5 portions (1/2 of 8, plus 1). You'll have enough for everyone--I guarantee it.

Seven course beef at Saigon Pagolac usually starts with the sometimes good, sometimes missing waiter bringing out the plates of pickled carrot strips and daikon, lettus, mint, and other Vietnamese herbs. the waiter will also bring out the moistened and sticky rice paper and two dipping sauces: a nuoc mam and a grey purple mess that is a diluted shrimp paste cut with pineapple bits.

The first course is inevitably a vinegar or grilled sliced beef dish. They bring out raw thinly cut pieces of beef placed in a marinate of ginger, oil and some other things. You place the beef in the vinegar or on the grill, depending upon what you ordered. Then, you take the rice paper and place the lettuce, herbs, carrots, and whatever else you want on top. Once the beef is cooked, place the beef on top of the herbs and roll the rice paper into something resembling a spring roll. If this task is too difficult, bring a veteren of seven course beef to teach you. Absent a veteren, ask for a bowl. Put all the ingredients into the bowl and eat with a fork. Don't forget to dip the roll into one of the two sauces.

Next comes a series of dishes that can include meatballs, minced beef in la lot (similar to grape leaves, but more delicate), grilled beef, and various other beef products. The meal ends at Saigon Pagolac with alphabet soup with a sprinkling of ground beef.

I didn't have the entire seven courses tonight, but did have the grilled beef and shrimp as well as the minced beef in la lot (bo la lot). We also ordered the grilled/baked monkfish. The monkfish is absolutely fantastic. They probably made this dish by placing the entire fish inside aluminum foil (it comes stuck to the aluminum foil), enclosing the fish in the foil and broiling the hell out of it. The result is a crispy out skin with the most delectable moist white fish meat. Highly recommended if you can deal with a whole fish--including the head.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have dined at this restaurant for over 10 years, but the most recent visit was yet to be my last. The service was extremely horrible. They brought out to us spoiled egg cake. It took them approximately 40 mins to cook us up 3 order of banh xeo. Talk about the management! I asked him why the banh xeo took so long, his response was because he was busy early during the day and ran out of supply. I had three family members that came from out of town to taste the bo 7 mon from this place and this experience was horrible and embarasing. Never ever go her again!

June 08, 2006

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July 24, 2006

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April 25, 2007

Anonymous DRagon said...

Service is pathetic! Food is great...but, service sucks! I will NEVER come here again!

The guy that brought us our drinks, put it at the end of the table and walked off. I had to actually get up and pass everyone their drinks!

And, that's not even the worst of it!


July 16, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this restaurant. We live and hour away and make sure that we come at least once a month for a treat. I was introduced to this restaurnat about a year ago by some vietnamese friends. They showed me the basics, and my husband and I love it so much we have started introducing other friends to it. We have never had a problem with the service. Our waitress has always been on top of our every need. I highly recommend Siagon to anyone who wants to try something new.

December 15, 2007


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