Favorite cheap eats: Nam Giao
"My favorite Vietnamese spot. Delicate nuanced flavors of Hue with dishes I haven't seen anywhere else in Houston. The clams and rice is my favorite." Hue is a city of central Vietnam, and though this teeny, family-run spot is bare bones, the rich aromas wafting from the kitchen are not. Start with bánh bèo chén, tender and firm mini rice cakes with minced shrimp, chicharron and fish sauce; then move onto those clams and rice Pera so kindly suggests.
Favorite splurge: Oxheart
"Deserved of every award received. Justin's restaurant is groundbreaking yet comfortable and approachable. A true Houston gem." Hit the tiny 31-seater and you’ll become a Justin Yu believer, too. His constantly refreshed Garden Menu has changed the way we think about vegetables, one MoMA-worthy plate at a time; and omnivores will be just as pleased with the six-course tasting menu, with imaginative dishes that can turn ordinary ingredients like apples, porridge, and guinea hen into something extraordinary.
Favorite cheap eats: Les Givral's
“The BBQ pork vermicelli bowl is really great quality and always consistent. And it's just $5.95 Love the fast service which allows me to get in and out.” Solid banh mi, aromatic pho, char-grilled meats and rice plates round out the eating-on-a-budget roster, which especially helps during late-night binges.
Favorite splurge: Escalante’s
“Escalante’s in Uptown Park is my favorite. The fresh ingredients and authentic flavors puts this place over the top.” Solid Tex-Mex classics come in the form of sloppy chicken enchiladas, chimichurri-spiked carne asada, bacon-wrapped camarones rellenos, and QUESO. If you can manage not ordering all of that in one sitting, your bill won’t even be that bad.