After years of enjoying the quiet atmosphere and sumptuous cuisine at the original Pho & Crab Restaurant on Memorial, just past Dairy Ashford, we were delighted to experience the new location on Westheimer as well as the new menu. ALL dishes, old and new were wonderful. But the seafood – the seafood is sublime. Lime and garlicky sauce over Bairdi crab. spicy pho filled with vegetables served with the obligatory basil, bean sprouts and lime, grace the warm dark wood tables as you lounge in comfortable booths and ample chairs. While the old location on Memorial was closer to standard “authentic” Vietnamese, the newer store on Westheimer is a delightful fusion of Vietnamese and South Louisiana… specifically, New Orleans. So, with a tableful of people, we started a farewell dinner for our friends.
The Salt and Pepper Calamari is one of the favorite appetizers at Pho & Crab. The calamari was tender and juicy, yet the batter was delightfully crispy. Calamari is always on my starter list at restaurants that offer it… and it is easy to see why it is here.
Lime Garlic Shrimp is a Vietnamese version of the famous New Orleans barbequed shrimp. Tangy… juicy and sloppy… this dish demanded and deserved the plastic gloves passed out to each guest when it was ordered. Frankly, although I love the New Orleans version, it was JUST AS GOOD.
Lemongrass Coconut Steamed Mussels were a natural choice of appetizer to order next. While this dish at other restaurants might have been prepared in various ways (including with a cream sauce), this one had a decidedly Vietnamese flavor with the coconut milk and lemongrass. the tangyness of the lemongrass and the sweetness of the coconut milk, there was an immediate difference between this and the cream-based ones I had been used to… and we preferred this one.
Bairdi Crabs (Snow Crabs) make up around 10% of the catch in each pot of King Crabs caught in the Bering Sea along northeast Alaska. In Houston, Pho & Crab was a pioneer in the preferred use of Bairdi crabs. Rightfully so. Smaller and decidedly sweeter than our King Crab, these crustaceans made the Garlic Noodle with Steamed Bairdi Crab succulent and tasty with its Cajun-Asian inspired sauce.
Considered a south Vietnamese pho, Hu Tieu, combines spicy seafood noodles with a pork and seafood base, hence the distinctive slightly more aggressive taste. Of the three signature phos served at Pho and Crab, this is by far our favorite.
We enjoyed a Vietnamese crepe from Saigon made from a rice and flour mix with shrimp, pork and bean sprouts inside. A delightful appetizer!
Most who have dined in New Orleans are familiar with the famous New Orleans bread pudding. This homemade Saigon/New Orleans Style Bread Pudding is made with bourbon-soaked raisins and a coconut cream sauce. I liked this version far better! Much creamier and moister!
Though there are many reasons why Pho & Crab has rapidly become our favorite Houston restaurant. An ever-cheerful and most gracious host Andrew Tran, unique cuisine often made to order, and happy decor make this a treat!
Pho & Crab Restaurant
Houston, Texas 77077
14741 Memorial Drive
Houston, Texas 77079