Cheap & Good Eats: Top 5 Budget Lunch Spots in EaDo (You Won't Be Sorry)
We've been rounding up our favorite budget lunch spots in different neighborhoods around town. So far, we've covered Montrose, River Oaks, Midtown and Upper Kirby.
Photo by Katharine Shilcutt Though our No. 5 spot is notorious for its breakfast tacos, we think its lunch offerings (including lengua, chicharron and chicken fajita) are just as good.
Today we're sharing our thoughts on the little section of the city known as East Downtown (or EaDo for all of you non-haters).
Here's our list of the best cheap (under $10) lunch spots that this area has to offer:
Note: For the purposes of this post, EaDo is defined as the triangle bounded by Highway 59 to the northwest, Interstate 45 to the southwest and the lines of freight railroad that stretch from Commerce to Cullen.
Honorable Mention: Sparkle's Hamburger Spot, the old-time burger shack that serves huge and messy hand-formed burgers on the cheap. We recommend skipping the line and calling your order in for pick-up during the busy lunch hours.
If you're on the hunt for authentic tacos in east downtown, Dowling Street's Brothers Taco House (open weekdays until 3 p.m. and weekends until 1 p.m.) is the way to go. Watch in awe as toothsome, fluffy tortillas are freshly prepared on a hot flattop right before your eyes. Then, check out the steam trays and decide what to fill said fluffy tortillas with. We love the thick, meaty lengua; the red sauce-coated chicharrón that bursts in your mouth with each bite; and the tender, fall-apart barbacoa (available only on weekend). The formerly cash-only spot now takes Visa and Mastercard, but you may not need it -- the massive tacos are only a couple of bucks each. Warning: Two of these tacos are considered to be plenty for one person.
Photo by Stephanie Meza You'll find traditional Vietnamese home cooking at our No. 4 spot.
We sometimes look to our city's top chefs to point us in the right direction when it comes to good eats. In our series Where the Chefs Eat, more than a few cooks have praised home-style Vietnamese restaurant Huynh for us to take notice. Both Seth Siegel-Gardner and Brandi Key can't get enough of the goi vit, a refreshing pulled-duck salad served with ginger dipping sauce that is yours for $8.95. Key even claims that it's so "light and crisp and fatty and acidic," she can eat it every day. Other standouts include goi cuon, pork and shrimp spring rolls (two for $2.95); bun bo xao, a stir-fried beef noodle bowl ($7.95); and bowls of aromatic pho ($6.95 for a regular, $8.50 for a large).