The fact that often-bustling Don Café could open up within thirty yards of two long-standing Vietnamese sandwich shops and quickly became a success some years ago and remained so is some indication of its quality. Their sandwiches are generally better than its immediate neighbors, and with about twenty tables and high ceilings, Don Café is a larger and more comfortable place to dine. Comfortable is relative; this is a no-frills spots, charmingly dumpy, to be honest. Though take-away is very popular, you can actually linger here, as many of the polyglot patrons do. Don Café serves all of the requisite Vietnamese sandwiches plus the somewhat unique versions with char-grilled beef (banh mi thit bo nuong) and char-grilled chicken (banh mi thit ga nuong). There is the delectable char-grilled pork, featuring portions of pork that are longer and tastier than nearly everywhere else, shredded pork, steamed pork, pork meatballs, chicken (which is served shredded), ham and pâté and the Special with the brightly colored Vietnamese-style ham. Similar to most area Vietnamese sandwiches, these feature a crustier-than-most fresh baguette, a big slice of fresh jalapeño and plenty of marinated, shredded carrots. Almost needless to state, this Vietnamese sandwich shop is a great value, especially so since it is one of the few that still offers a free sandwich for every five purchased. This fact is announced in English, Vietnamese and Spanish, perfect for that work crew.
In addition to the sandwiches, there are about two dozen items on the menu and a few brightly colored packaged items near the counter. One excellent non-sandwich dish, though listed as a sandwich, is the stewed chicken legs in a very flavorful, though not spicy, green curry broth peppered with chopped scallions and cilantro leaves (banh mi curry ga) and served with a small baguette. The bread serves as a sop for the tasty soup, and can be used to craft a simple sandwich. Additionally, Don Café has the hearty soups such as pho with several variations that seem to adorn many tables, the popular rice plates (com dia) and vermicelli dishes (bun) and spring, summer and the deep-fried Imperial rolls to start. The small menu also has room for the central Vietnamese spicy beef and noodle soup, bun bo hue – not sure if Don Café uses the traditional, tasty pig blood in it, though – a vermicelli dish with crab meat and snails (bun rieu oc), and freshly squeezed sugar cane juice.
9300 Bellaire (between Ranchester and Corporate) 77036, (713) 777-9500