I have heard and read a lot about Vietnamese sandwiches in recent months, so I went and got takeout from Givral's Sandwiches on Milam in Midtown the other day. Robb Walsh of the Houston Press did an article on these places a few months back while Givral's was closed due to a fire. He seemed to hold Givral's in high esteem and searched (mostly in vain) for something that compared to it among the other eateries in the area while Givral's was closed.
The place itself is extremely clean and inviting. It looks like a place that was recently remodeled. I ordered a BBQ Pork sandwich for myself and a chicken vermicelli bowl for my wife. One notable thing is how inexpensive the place is. The sandwich was only $2 and the vermicelli bowl was $4.95. I guess it is because the place is primarily a lunch estblishment and closes at 7:00 PM.
The sandwich was made while I waited. They warmed up a nice crusty french roll (about 6"-8" in length) and then added grated carrots, slices of cucumber, chunks of pork, cilantro leaves and fresh halapeno (perhaps serrano) slices. The ingredients seemed very fresh and the pork was quite good also. Overall the sandwich was excellent, especially when you consider the cost. They also have sandwiches featuring pate, BBQ pork & pate, chicken, something called boiled pork, and something else I can't recall. My only complaint was that their was a thin coating of mayo on the bread. While it didn't take away from the sandwich and did add moisture, I would prefer something else, like a drizzle of noc mon (Vietnames fish sauce).
My wife liked her vermicelli bowl, although I thought it was no better or worse than any number of similar dishes I have had in little Vietnam and elsewhere.
I'm sure to visit again, probably at lunch.
One negative, although not the fault of the restaurant, is that Milam is currently all torn up with construction (as is most of midtown and downtown). The construction makes the place a little less accessible than it would be otherwise. Why do they insist on tearing up every street in the area (Milam, Main, Fannin) at the same time?