by Ian McNulty
A new Vietnamese restaurant that promises something a little different from standard noodle shop fare is slated to open Uptown this week.
Restaurateur Kim Nguyen says her Magasin Vietnamese Café (4201 Magazine St., 896-7611) should open on Thursday. It will serve lunch and dinner daily, and the restaurant will be BYOB at first while a liquor license remains in the works.
Magasin’s address was previously a rundown corner grocery, and the extensive renovation of the building has given it a new, contemporary look. The space is open and windows flip up to reveal countertop-style windowsills on which customers can dine while they sit either inside or outside.
The menu has a more contemporary feel too.
Spring rolls are a centerpiece, and Magasin’s menu lists 10 varieties, from the familiar shrimp or pork to Chinese sausage with egg or garlic-fried tofu. There are steamed pork buns and panko shrimp balls on the appetizer list and “special plates” like braised pork, curries and chopped filet mignon. There’s a vegan option on the pho list, a few seafood soups, bun noodle salads, rice plates and banh mi. Nearly everything is under $10.
A second, auxiliary eatery within the building is also in the works. Called Bites by Magasin, it will serve breakfast and po-boys and operate as a walk-up window with outdoor seating on a deck and side patio.
Nguyen is a New Orleans native and third-generation restaurateur whose family ran a string of Chinese restaurants here in the years before Hurricane Katrina. In Houston she operates has the popular Vietnamese restaurant Café TH and Café TH Express, a take-out joint.