The Five Best Hidden Restaurant Gems in Hillcroft
Two weeks ago, I highlighted some of my favorite relatively unknown restaurants in Chinatown for your eating pleasure. There are so many spots there, it was hard to narrow it down to just five, but before I revisit even more delicious and authentic hole-in-the-wall eateries on Bellaire Boulevard, I thought I'd detour and scope out some hidden favorites in the Hillcroft neighborhood, sometimes referred to as Sharpstown.
Photo courtesy Darband Check out the kabobs at our No. 5 choice.
I've also heard the area referred to as the Mahatma Gandhi District or Little India due to the large Indian population there. As such, the neighborhood--whatever you want to call it--is rife with Indian and Pakistani restaurants.
When I approached local ethnic food guru Chris Frankel, formerly the beverage director of RDG + Bar Annie but currently eating his way across the United States, about checking out some lesser-known spots around Hillcroft, he presented me with a single criterion: They can't all be Indian places. In spite of its reputation as an Indian neighborhood, the strip centers up and down Hillcroft are full of other ethnic cuisines that don't get enough media attention for being cheap, unique and, most importantly, totally tasty.
Here are some of the best.
5. Darband ShishKabob
Photo by JC Reid Turmeric infuses every morsel of tender lamb at Darban.
Open since 1986, Darband claims to be the oldest Persian restaurant in Houston. Regardless of whether it's actually the oldest, it is one of the best. For just $6.95, you can get a hearty plate of ground beef kabobs with bread, grilled tomatoes and herbs. From what I've heard the prices have hardly changed since the place first opened, and the food has continually gotten better and better. Even more impressive than the kabobs is the lamb shank, marinated in turmeric and garlic, and so tender it falls off the bone with little prodding. Oh, and the whole lamb shank is only $8.95. Try finding that value inside the Loop.
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