Where: Pagoda Vietnamese Bistro & Bar, 4705 Inker St., 832-673-0400
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What $13 gets you: A cup of pineapple seafood soup ($5) and a big bowl of vermicelli salad ($8) or a Vietnamese sandwich ($4) and a bowl of pho ($8).
Pagoda is an authentic Vietnamese restaurant with a chic modern décor that's close to the Heights and downtown. If you love Vietnamese food but don't get around to driving out to Bellaire Chinatown very often, you need to know about this place. The slightly hidden location is one block east of Shepherd just south of I-10 (across the street from the Cadillac Bar's parking lot).
Recommended: Yes. Classic Vietnamese dishes include your favorite noodle soups and sandwiches, with the added attraction of upscale entrees like lemongrass lamb and pork chop with garlic mashed potatoes.
Bonus points: Unlike Vietnam Restaurant on 19th St. in the "dry" Heights, Pagoda has a full bar.