Pho 20 is our go-to Vietnamese
Restaurant. Their service is always great and the food is consistently good. We figured the touristy spots would have crowds, so we drove over to Pho 20, although it is only an eight block walk. It's just too hot to walk. Anyway, the parking lot was completely full. Since our pharmacy is just across the street, we parked there instead. The main dining room was not full at all. It looked like all the cars came from a group celebrating something in one of Pho 20's private rooms set apart with beautiful glass walls from the rest of the dining room. We were seated immediately and served our teas quickly. I ordered the Com Chen Ga. I can never figure out how to pronounce the Ga, and this particular waiter felt like he wanted to teach me, but I just couldn't get it. He understood Chicken Fried Rice, however. Jeff had the Fried Catfish with Garlic Butter Sauce and Jenny opted for General T'so Chicken. First of all, their chicken fried rice doesn't look like much but it is delicious!! Sweet chicken pieces, fresh scrambled egg pieces, vegetables, and the rice that has a seasoning I have yet to recognize create a melody in your mouth. The stack of rice they pile on your plate only grows as you eat. I couldn't even finish the leftovers in a single sitting. And, it heats beautifully in the microwave. Jeff's catfish was cooked to perfection with a yummy garlic butter sauce and fresh vegetables. Jenny loved the traditional General T'so Chicken which was an extremely full plate of large chicken chunks breaded and covered in a tangy sauce. We left with to-go teas and boxes, taking home more food than we received. Absolutely love this place. Did I mention the dining room is surrounded in the most beautiful elegant crown molding I have ever seen? Where did you get that, Pho 20? I want some!
Y'all know that BLVD. Seafood is at the top of our go-to restaurant list. So, after missing out for a third time in a row at 5pm on a Thursday at another, to be named later, venue for happy hour. Some places limit their seating for happy hour (Landry's), but not BLVD. Seafood! We got in immediately and even got the coveted booths at the end that sit up high and have a view of the Seawall. Our waiter this evening was Joel, because Denzel was off that evening. He was quick to take our drink and salad orders but slow in his delivery. Jeff and Jenny ate from the happy hour menu, while I couldn't wait to dive into the 3 Pepper Chicken. Their Wedge Salads were amazing, as always, full of goodies like apple slices, fresh blue cheese chunks, real bacon, tomatoes, and avacado. Jeff added a cup of gumbo and Jenny had Shrimp Kisses and Crabby Crab Cakes. All very good, I'm sure, but I was focused on that chicken. OMG! It's fried to perfection - juicy and crunchy and sits atop well seasoned garlic mashed potatoes. The whole thing is surrounded with a roasted corn poblano cream sauce, then topped with chipotle jalapeno drizzle. What can I say...You must try it. They offer a grilled chicken version, but I would miss that crunchy exterior on this dish. Anyway, Jenny ended the evening with BLVD Chocolate Mousse. I did steal a bite and it was smooth and creamy; the hazelnut whipped cream was delightful. Joel got us checked out eventually. By then, the restaurant had become pretty much full. His service may have been more memorable if he hadn't ignored a direct eye-contact request for more tea during our meal. Still love this place and hope to one day move past the chicken to try something new.
Having been out all morning running errands before eating anything and 'hangry' at this point, we decided to try Tortuga Mexican Kitchen. We have been to these restaurants before while visiting Mexico. They are part of the Mexican Restaurants, Inc. chain out of Houston that also operates Casa Ole', Umberrito Mexican Grill, and Monterey's Little Mexico.
We arrived during lunchtime on a Tuesday afternoon. Parking was easy and we were sat immediately. Our waitress, Yana, quickly took our drink orders and came back to get food orders before we were even ready. We asked for suggestions and took her up on them. Glad we did!
We ate from the lunch menu, Jeff choosing the Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breast (just what I was going to order!) and I settling for the Tacos al Carbon. They were both delicious. The seasoning on their beef fajita meat is tasty. Two soft flour tortillas were stuffed full of meat with avacado, pico, and cheese on the side, as well as rice & beans. They use a skirt steak and I prefer flank, but it was very good. The Spinach Stuffed Chicken is one we will be back for. A grilled chicken breast filled with spinach and topped with cilantro cream sauce, mushrooms, shrimp and cheese. OMG! Where has cilantro cream sauce been all my life. Next time back we will be sharing the chicken. We left with two large to-go boxes!
We have tried to get into happy hour at Willie G's for weeks. They only serve the bar menu and happy hour menus from the bar area and a few chairs and couches outside. You can't order off those menus in the main dining room? What's up with that, Tilman Fertitta? I think you're trying to limit availability of these tasty treats. When tourist season is over, we should be able to finally enjoy their 3 oz lobster tail and 3 oz filet once again. I digress.
Not knowing these menus were unavailable on Sunday, we were delighted to see one of the big round tables calling us to relax and eat well. The hostess brought us menus, but wait...no bar menu...no happy hour menu??? She condescendingly snapped "no, not today" and ran off. Okay, we're here anyway and we're starving. SO, I decided to have the Crab & Spinach Stuffed Shells. I have tasted these before on the happy hour menu. I was hungry enough that I ordered the dinner instead of the appetizer, a decision that I would come to regret. These jumbo shells are perfectly cooked and stuffed with crab, spinach, parmesan cheese, and a delightful bechamel sauce. They sit atop a yummy roasted red pepper sauce and are beautifully presented. I hit my max at two of the four shells on the plate. Jeff had a dish that isn't quite memorable, or we're just getting old. Since I've waited so long to write this review, he doesn't remember what he had.
So, we mention to the waitress our disappointment with our favorite menus not available on Sunday. She told us that they ARE AVAILABLE!! Should have asked her about it before we ordered. Everything was great. Will try for bar food another day.