Top 10 Restaurants in Far Northwest Houston
7. Drew's Pastry Place
George Payne Patrons peruse the case of goodies at Drew's Pastry Place
Andrew "Drew" Rogers, formerly of Houston Country Club, and his mom run this pasticceria (Italian pastry shop) and it would be just as at home in Upper Kirby as it is in its little spot off of Louetta near Vintage Park. Don't miss the pignoli (pine nut) cookies or the thin-crust pizza with sliced, anise-spiked meatballs -- and you'll be sorry if you don't take home some kind of goodie, like cake, cheese or amaretto cookies, to snack on later. Drew's also puts together some great cookie platters sprinkled with Jordan almonds that I've taken to more than one office meeting.
Bless Alison Cook for reviewing this gem near my house, or I would start to believe there is nothing but mediocre Mexican food to be had out here. (Okay, I confess...the fajitas at Lupe Tortilla are awfully tasty. But don't tell anyone I said that.)
Soto's isn't always perfect, but it's often wonderful. The cheese jalapeño tamales, the queso and the veggie enchiladas are some of my favorite things. For the health-conscious, look for an emphasis on lower-calorie options here. There are many shrimp dishes as well as some interesting salads, like the cactus (nopales) avocado salad.
(Another Tex-Mex possibility is the El Tiempo location in Vintage Park. I've only been there once for a very good Mexican breakfast. More investigation is needed.)
5. Mango Tree Thai Bistro
Chuck Cook Photography Fried banana cheesecake at Mango Tree Thai Bistro
When I discovered there was good Thai in this part of town, I was so happy. Then I spent the next three visits browbeating this place into giving me something actually authentic. (On the other hand, a friend of mine was probably cursing my name for bringing him his first Thai cuisine on spice level "3." Mango Tree goes up to "5." He's one of those guys that don't "like spicy," but I give him props for trying something new.) When I made a deliberate visit to review it, things were kind of shaky, but things seem to have leveled out a bit since then.
The fish cake appetizers? Yeah, get them. These seared little beauties have no resemblance whatsoever to their pale cousins that you might find in phở. Once I got the owners acclimated to "No, I'm white but I really mean it!" the green curry with pork at spice level 4 is a heaven-sent lunch. (When I have them convinced that I'm dead serious, "5" is a little much, even for me. The first time I ordered something at a "5" here, the server told me he'd never taken an order for that heat level before.) Mango, when in season, and sweet rice is a perfect ending to a great meal, or try the crunchy and creamy fried banana cheesecake.
We food writers are probably less dynamic when we're not working, but "the proof is in the pudding" regarding what we consider good and spend money on regularly. My family and I end up at Phở Thanh Long often. Yes, you can order the phở here, and it's a good bet, but don't limit yourself to it. The place has a sizable menu. I've had thrilling experiences with Vietnamese-style crepes and had nui xào bò lúc lắc on my last visit. It is "Vietnamese shaking beef" with macaroni, a comforting dish that works very well during this time of the year.