Life has changed for this food writer. As a brand-new mom, poppin’ bottles has taken on a slightly different meaning. But while I find myself seeking out diaper changing tables for the first time ever, I’m still on the hunt for all the awesome happy hours, exciting menus and H-town icons, both new and old. Only now, I’m bringing my baby, Quinn, along with me. This “Whining and Dining” series looks at dining out with a baby in the city (more specifically, In the Loop, because Quinn doesn’t like to travel too far from home just yet).
It was Quinn’s first Huynh. Dave and I had been several times of course (the cha gio and goi vit — crispy egg rolls and sweet, pulled duck salad — were definitely on my list of pregnancy cravings), but we hadn’t made the short trek over to the EaDO haunt with the baby up until a few weeks ago. Damn I'm glad we remedied that.
We arrived right around 5 p.m. on a Friday and were immediately seated at a table in the back, a choice locale for our crew of three because it was away from all the noise (there was already a small crowd, despite the early dine time) and because we were able to forego the highchair and pull up Quinn’s stroller. Just before arriving, we popped into the liquor store that sits in the same strip center (gotta love Houston) to pick up a bottle of red that they'd cork for $2.50 per person.
Don’t be fooled by Huynh's strip center location, by the way. The family-run restaurant has been dishing out granny-style Vietnamese eats there for a decade now, and they know exactly what they’re doing. A few of the family staff stopped by the table to play with Quinn while we figured out our order (and they’d come back several times to make her laugh throughout the meal).
Dave had steak earlier that day, so he’d skip his usual bo luc lac (an incredible Vietnamese shaking beef dish that I totally enjoy stealing a few bites of) and go with my usual: Number 51, add an egg. That’s the com ga nuong, a flavorful dark meat chicken and rice combo served with fish sauce, fresh herbs, and nothing else but tomato and cucumber. We also started with those perfectly crispy egg rolls — filled with pork and shrimp and oh-so addicting — because it’d been way too long.
Everything was as remembered. I broke the yolk over the fluffy rice, smashed the fried egg whites a little and mixed it all together. A few drizzles and dips into the spot-on house fish sauce and everything was gravy. Quinn allowed us to eat in peace that night, so we kept our outing nice and short (we were in and out in under an hour). Our kind waiter re-corked our bottle of wine and we headed home to finish out the new season of Jack Ryan...the perfect Friday night in my eyes.
TL;DR: This family-run spot is welcoming to all, including those with kids. Hit it for homespun Vietnamese eats that’ll have you coming back for more.
Kid-Friendly Dining Essentials
Parking: Lot, valet
Seating: High-chairs available
Bathrooms: Changing tables
Kids menu: No, but the menu is huge
Reservations: For parties of six or more
Extras: Shareable family-style portions are available
Huynh, 912 Saint Emanuel, 713-224-8964