Curious to see what the ever-inventive Nikki Tran would do with a lobster banh mi, at the request of a friend, I dined at her restaurant for the first time since the pandemic hit. The very idea of the dish made me smile, from the advertised nuoc mam butter, to the promise of homemade patty nestled in the French bread, to the cheek of luxuriating in this daily Houston staple.
Chef Tran has never lacked audacity. Or charm either. Her Kau Ba Saigon offers a transporting patio on its shady corner in Montrose, swirling with a floral mural, bright coated wire chairs and a wooden trellis overhang from which a regiment of old-fashioned metal fans hang .