Garden Oaks's new Vietnamese restaurant is already drawing crowds. Saigon Hustle has made its debut at the corner of Ella Boulevard and 34th Street (3323 Ella Blvd.).
Originally launched as a ghost kitchen in 2020, Saigon Hustle brings a fresh perspective to casual Vietnamese fare. The restaurant's menu offers both well-executed takes on classics as well as creative twists.
"We are using the recipes that we grew up on, with an emphasis on efficiency and flavor,” co-founder and chef Cassie Ghaffar said in a statement. “For so long, if you wanted fast food that was healthy, you couldn’t get it. Saigon Hustle changes that."
For example, diners may choose to start their meal with traditional pork egg rolls or shrimp and pork spring rolls. If they want something a little more unusual, they may opt for honey-glazed salmon rolls that are built around baked and broiled salmon rolled with vermicelli, pickled carrots and daikon, and mint. Similarly, the Saigon crepe roll offers a fresh perspective on bánh xèo; a flour and turmeric crepe filled with braised pork belly, shrimp, and vegetables.
Honey-glazed shows up again in banh mi form, where its joined by proteins such as barbecue pork, ribeye, honey-soy chicken, and fried tofu. Vermicelli bowls, salads, and rice bowls also utilize the same proteins. The menu also includes fried chicken wings and alphabet soup made with a pho-style beef broth. Beverage options include several flavors of Vietnamese coffee as well as teas and a vanilla matcha latte.
While the petite, 819-square-foot restaurant doesn't offer any indoor seating, it does feature a covered, 40-seat patio. Still, most customers will probably utilize the convenience of its drive-thru or order via third-party delivery apps. The restaurant is open daily from 10 am-10 pm.
"We are so thrilled that people are responding to the concept," Ghaffar said. "Some folks have told us they’ve driven all the way from Clear Lake to Garden Oaks to get our food. When we see people making a journey here, that’s what really excites us.”
Saigon Hustle is the latest project from the Ordinary Concepts hospitality group that Ghaffar founded with her business partner Sandy Nguyen. They also operate Ginger Kale, a healthy-eating concept in Hermann Park, and Sunday Press, a coffee shop and cafe that's located next to Saigon Hustle.