Behind the Review: Tan Tan

Categories: On the Menu

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Photo by April J. Gazmen
Banh bot chien, in all its messy glory.
It's safe to say this week's cafe review of Tan Tan's second location on Westheimer is a tough one. It's not all bad...but it's mostly bad.

The original Tan Tan on Bellaire Boulevard isn't a gleaming shrine to either Chinese or Vietnamese cuisine, but it's a reliable standby. Especially for late-night food on a Saturday, and especially for banh bot chien. In fact, when I wrote a Food Fight post in March 2010 that pitted Cafe TH and Kim Tai against one another, people wrote to complain that I hadn't included Tan Tan in the banh bot chien battle.

O how the mighty have fallen. Not even the wonderful banh bot chien from the original Tan Tan made it over to the new location. In fact, the only familiar things from the old location are the name and the novella-length 25-page menu.

Bad banh bot chien is just one of the many issues I encountered while reviewing Tan Tan for this week's print edition. There were also armed guards to contend with, fake fruit trees, exploding soda bottles and the saddest birthday party I ever witnessed.

I think it's safe to say that I won't be headed back to Tan Tan any time soon.

In the meantime, however, where is your favorite banh bot chien found? I need to get the taste of Tan Tan's out of my mouth.



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Location Info

Tan Tan Restaurant

6816 Ranchester, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant


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9 comments
guy arnault
guy arnault

Katherine, I have to vehemently disagree with this review.  I have been going to the Westheimer location at least once a week since it opened.  In that entire time I have yet to be served a single  bad dish or had anything approaching bad service.  I have sent back meals at Stella Sola and RDG for being uninspired and poorly executed and have yet to do that at this location because it is always consistently good, not great, but definitely good for its price point.

Now as for some of your other issues, I know you are a relative newcomer to our fair city so you wouldn't remember the days when wanna-be gangsters turned Chinatown into drunken fight central and every restaurant in Chinatown had armed security, especially the Bellaire Tan Tan which seemingly had 4 or 5 HPD officers posted there on a permanent basis. If anything the security guard is a holdover from those days and not a consequence of the location as you derisively stated.

On another point, sometimes people don't want to drive all the way into Chinatown for a relatively cheap, consistent meal. When i used to live by Chinatown i had no qualms going there but now that I live by the Galleria, the Westheimer Tan Tan serves my needs without the hassle of a commute.

Christine Ha
Christine Ha

Wow, the "new" Tan Tan is that bad?  I thought it was decent, but then again, haven't been there in awhile.  Maybe they did slip.  But the banh bot chien definitely made it to the new location, no?  I've ordered it several times.  What a shame.  Chinatown food, oh how we love you.

Jenson32
Jenson32

I tried Tan Tan on Westheimer a few times shortly after they opened and thought it was great, especially the bahn bot chien. Won ton soup also rocked. Maybe they've slipped? I still don't think the one on Bellaire has been eclipsed in quality by most Asian places on Bellaire. The beef they use, for one, is way above the rest normally found in Chinatown.

Mike Calimbas
Mike Calimbas

I've always loved Tan Tan on Bellaire so I tried the one on Westheimer and boy was I disappointed. The service was slow and the food wad horrific. I didn't even know an Asian restaurant could make standard dishes inedible but they did. Truly left a bad taste in my mouth and I'm the type that gives places the benefit of the doubt usually. After not one, but two horrible experiences there, I won't be going back either.

CMN
CMN

"I have sent back meals at Stella Sola and RDG for being uninspired and poorly executed."

WHAT a tool.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

A relative newcomer? I was born and raised in Houston. Three decades and lovin' it, baby.

guy arnault
guy arnault

then you should be used to the sight of security guards in restaurants

Hunter
Hunter

I've lived in Houston for the better part of 35 years and have eaten in every portion of this city, even the "sketchy" neighborhoods.  I can't say I've EVER seen a security guard roam around inside a restaurant like Katharine described.  It's weird!! 

Aheks
Aheks

no she shouldn't. nor should any of us.

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