Another day, another going away lunch.
Abdallah’s is a family-owned Lebanese venue which, to my knowledge, pre-dates most of the ethnic eateries crowding Hillcroft Ave. I didn’t discover this place until earlier this year but I’ve been secretly going back alone once a week, refusing to let the secret out. Apparently, it was only a secret to myself.
Its half grocery (great pita and desserts), half counter-service. There’s no need to get dressed up or even for your shoes to match each other, since no one will notice or care; its the ultimate in casual. Despite occasionally large crowds of middle eastern families all over-communicating enthusiastically and simultaneously, its a relaxing experience.
Kebabs, shawarma, kibbeh and kefta make up a good portion of the menu; all are incredible. Additionally, they make half a dozen or more vegetable dishes every day; they seem to change often but I like the fact that hummus is a vegetable option and consistently available. Growing up I had the distinct impression that the Lebanese were the best dessert makers in the Middle East. Opinions vary, pointless arguments ensue, as they always do in the region. However desserts take up the majority of the refrigerated cases and I can at least testify their baklava, maamoul and barazek are excellent.
I tried the beef kefta plate this time. Kefta were excellent, perfectly seasoned and grilled. The plates come with three sides. I took hummus (since its a vegetable), chopped spinach (with parsley) and okra in tomato sauce. I loved the spinach but the okra had been drastically overcooked and turned slimy. I didn’t bother mentioning it since there was no way I was finishing my whole plate anyway.
Counter-service with quick turn around even if they are making new items, as is often the case with their large lunch crowds. What I like about the owners is their extremely personable interactions with the patrons (you are family) and their ability to build interest in their offerings. In our crowd of 13, I noticed the owner gave dessert samples to almost everyone, at least when they weren’t busy bopping around grilling kebabs, ringing people up or filling out takeaway orders. Also, you pay when you exit; its the honour system, you tell them what you had.
Very reasonable; Kefta plate with 3 sides $10
Lunch: April 2014
Abdallah’s | 3939 Hillcroft | HTX 77057