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Downhill Alert--Mekong River (Houston, TX)

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Downhill Alert--Mekong River (Houston, TX)

TexasHusky | May 23, 2002 05:00 PM

As much as it pains me to write this, I have to say that Mekong River (Houston, off Hwy 59, across from Greenway Plaza) is now off of my list of favorite places, mainly due to poor service.

I haven't seen Mekong River discussed here before, so maybe some history is in order. It was formerly known as Dalat Vietnamese Bistro, when it was simply the best Vietnamese restaurant in town, IMO. The food was consistently excellent, the service was great and the atmosphere was a cut above most of the other Vietnamese places I have visited in Houston.

Sometime ago (about a year, I think) the original owners either sold out or partnered with another ownership group. The menu was expanded to include Thai dishes, in addition to Vietnamese, and the name was changed to Mekong River. Although I was skeptical of the changes, at first they didn't seem to have any negative impact on the place. I never thought the Thai dishes were as good as those at my favorite Thai places (like Patu), but they were certainly more than competent. And the Vietnamese dishes remained excellent.

Unfortunately, since the ownership change, the service has been going downhill. A couple of my favorite waiters disappeared first. Then I noticed a serious decline in their overall service, both while dining in and picking up take-out orders. They seem to be chronically understaffed and the staff on hand doesn't seem to be nearly as committed to good service. On my most recent visit, the service was quite slow, despite a relatively empty dining room. Take-out orders have also been lost or way behind schedule lately.

I'm afraid I will not be returning to Mekong River anytime soon. I also wouldn't be surprised to see them shut their doors in the near future. The decline in service speed and quality has just been apalling.

This is most unfortunate, because their Vietnamese spring rolls and vermicelli bowls are the best I have had in town by a wide margin. But the service has become so slow and unreliable that it is just not worth the trouble...

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