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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Casual restaurant

Tue–Sun 11:00am–11:00pm

Bar Beer, wine, BYO
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Not accepted

Bellaire Chinatown
9600 Bellaire Blvd.
(713) 988-6106
Saigon Pagolac
Beef seven ways and a killer baked catfish make for a long, entertaining evening

Beef Fest. That’s why you come to Saigon Pagolac when there are easily a dozen terrific Vietnamese places on every side of you. You bring a few people and get seven courses of beef: sliced eye round served with a bit of hot vinegary broth for you to flash-cook it in; ground beef wrapped in a fragrant leaf and lemongrass-marinated beef that you grill over charcoal at the table; bite-sized meatballs; and even alphabet soup with beef. It’s an event unto itself, so be patient, and then dip and get your fingers all coated in nuoc man, and add the accompanying veggies—we need more interactive meals like this in town.

But balance your beef with fish; whether we’re in Vietnam, Italy, or Mexico, there are few things we love more than a good whole-fish preparation. The bones keep all the moisture in the meat while it’s being grilled, steamed, or fried. Here, it’s a huge baked catfish, glistening with sweet-lemony sauce and coated in garlic chips and scallions. The atmosphere’s not much to look at—it’s too bright and cold, with a painted mural not doing much to warm it up—but with what’s happening on your table, we doubt you’ll even notice.

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