Hungry? Lido Restaurant a top-notch choice

Cheap

Eat$

Lisa

Chmiola

LIDO

$$$

Address

3201 Travis St.

Phone

(713) 523-9295

Hours

Monday through Saturday

11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Get out your chopsticks! This week we head to the far east for Vietnamese and Chinese Cuisine at Lido Restaurant (thanks to Cheap Eat$ reader Erica for the suggestion).

Okay, the restaurant is actually located west of campus, a five-mile round trip to be exact. This makes it perfect for a lunch excursion between classes.

But be sure to take an empty tummy along with you, because the all-you-can-eat lunch buffet is a good deal for your dollar. In fact, for under $10, not one, but two people can eat a hearty meal. Beat that!

If you really want, you can order off the menu filled with the staples: rice dishes, vermicelli and the like. All meals on the menu are under $10, and all vermicelli plates were $4 or less.

However, I recommend the buffet not only because it's the best value-wise, but because you can try a little bit of everything available.

That is what my posse and I set out to do. First was soup: two kinds for our sampling pleasure. The wonton soup was just what I needed for the sinus problems I was battling - soothing on my throat.

The hot and sour soup was a different case. It wasn't too hot at first, but about halfway through the bowl I was gulping Dr Pepper like there was no tomorrow. My buddy Judas especially enjoyed this one, saying, "I always like it when my soup doesn't taste like urine."

Everyone else (Cracky, Carillon and Jem) jumped into the main courses on the buffet, a variant plethora of rice and veggies with meat mixed in here and there.

We found the fried rice to be status quo. Carillon liked the steamed rice and said it didn't stick together.

The egg rolls were quite excellent - they had a light feel to them. Plus, they didn't fall apart upon taking the first bite. I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of meat. Usually I like some beef or chicken in there, but this veggie egg roll was tasty enough without it.

I also tried some chicken dishes with various sauces on them. I especially liked one with a tangy honey-like sauce. I liked it even better when I didn't try to make it go down the wrong pipe (trust me, it's spicier that way, and it'll make your eyes water).

The chicken wings needed some sauce, though. Sweet and sour sauce was part of the buffet. Carillon pointed out that these, along with the chicken nuggets, were likely options for those dining with the kiddies.

A few of us tasted the tofu. Jem didn't like it, but she said she doesn't like tofu anyway.

For those of you who haven't had tofu (like I hadn't), it must be an acquired taste. It was congealed and tasted eggy. And it was fried on the outside, leading us to believe something else might have been inside. But Cracky predicted it right - all we got was bean curd.

As for dessert, there was fruit, lime Jell-O and pudding. They were all warm. But I guess it's hard to keep some food cold on one end of a buffet and the rest warm. Salad was also available. The restaurant also has takeout.

Lido's lunch buffet is only available from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Total cost: $5.06, because we left a meager tip since the waitress took care of our beverages (plus, I really need to stop ordering Dr Pepper).

Although we didn't enjoy all the food, we decided this place could qualify as a top Cheap Eat$ location. After all, you can avoid what you don't like and eat all you want. The service is friendly, and the decor (lots of photos of family and friends) is quaint. Not bad for a restaurant in a former Walgreens (check out the sign on the Travis entrance door).

Cheap Eat$ ventures out for

low-budget noshes weekly.

Send your thought and suggestions

to lmc54080@bayou.uh.edu.

Visit The Daily Cougar