Houston-west 18th st.- Thursday evening
Not my neck of the woods but you should get some great reccs. I can recommend BBQ Inn on Cavalcade and Yale. Old timey cafe with great chicken fried steak, fried chicken and fried shrimp and oysters. BBQ NOT recommended.
Great slice of pie a block west at Flying Saucer during business hours.
There's not much of note in the immediate vicinity. Within walking distance (Loop 610 frontage road north @ 18th) is Thai Lanna. Not one of the very best Thai restaurants in the city but serviceable.
A short cab/car ride up 290 towards Austin is Capt. Benny's Oyster bar; this is casual, not fine dining but there is lots besides oysters.
A little further out is Cafe Red Onion, Latin Fusion. I've never been to that location (nor that location of Capt. Benny's). Actually, I thought all the Red Onions had closed so you might want to call. Maybe I misremembered.
Off to the east 10 minutes or so by car/cab is the Heights. This is one of the hottest restaurant neighborhoods right now but it's all trendy stuff and I avoid it. Very oriented toward young hipster crowds and what impresses them; if that's okay by you, there is reportedly some good food but I can't speak for any of it.
I can recommend Shade on 19th. I haven't been in several years but I have been regularly picking up food from their sister resto in Montrose, Canopy, at a weekend farmers market and it's good stuff.
Deeper into the Heights is Teotihuacan Mexican, maybe 20 minutes away.
And down on the Washington strip is El Tiempo Cantina, from the family of Ninfa Laurenzo of Ninfa's fame. This is arguably the best Tex-Mex in the city and gets a lot of love here on this board. The Washington strip is mostly bars but there are a few good restos. The Laurenzo family also has a steak house along there, Laurenzo's.
Other than those I'm really only familiar with lunch spots in the Heights.
The Heights has lots of eateries but is short on ethnic places other than Mexican. Off to the SE maybe 10-15 minutes away is Long Point road which goes through our Korea Town; mostly the restos are out toward the western end of Long Point, near the Beltway and I've never been to any of them but others here could give recs. I stick to the Korean closer to me on the SW side.
Closer to your locale, however, is VIeng Thai, arguably one of the best Thai restos in town; I've always very pleased with my visits there. In the same strip center is El Hidalguense, Mexican food in the style of Hidalgo, famous for it's cabrito, There's no website for either of those that I know of but they've both been mentioned in the past on this board and there's lots about them on the usual review sites.
Bruce - Cafe Red Onion is closed.
On Ella, just inside the Loop, you have two excellent choices across from each other -- Rainbow Lodge and Cavatore. Cavatore is old-school Italian, with table-side caesar salad, classic pasta dishes and live piano music. Rainbow Lodge is traditional American in a beautiful setting, with great service,. just up the street you can find decent Tex-Mex at Tecate.