Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Sunday, May 12, 2013

CLOSED- Teeba Cafe- A fusion of Texas and Mediterranean cuisine

Restaurant: Teeba Cafe
1330 Wirt Rd Houston, Texas 77055
Date of Visit: 5/11/13

UPDATE 5/16/15: This place is now closed

Salam/hello everyone! Today I will be reviewing another recently opened restaurant: Teeba Cafe. Teeba Cafe was opened a few weeks ago replacing Blue Planet Cafe. I had read reviews of this restaurant from other visitors and they were mainly positive. I was on my way to IKEA to do something for my mom and I got really hungry. I was craving for something with meat (carnivore and proud). However, most of the restaurants were 15 miles away on Hillcroft Avenue. Thankfully with the help of zabihah.com, I found out that the restaurant existed a few miles on IKEA. Even better, it was on the way back to my house! After finishing the work, I drove for the restaurant.

Let The Experience Begin!
Teeba Cafe is located in a strip mall on the intersection of Wirt and Westview in Spring Branch. Entering the restaurant, it felt like a house in a strip mall. There were sofas surrounding a Tv, like a living room. There was an area for little kids on the other side of the restaurant, and there were the tables in the middle. On the counter, I was greeted by a friendly lady and then proceeded to order.

Let's Eat
One glance of the menu later, I ordered the beef brisket. I think this is the first restaurant that actually has halal brisket, which is a popular food item here in Texas. To drink, I had the usual can of Pepsi. For a price of $9.70 (tax included), I was impressed. One problem I must point out was that the brisket was not ready, as the beef had to be prepared. It is important to have everything prepared before the restaurant opens just in case a customer asks for a specific item. If that specific item is not ready, and has a long waiting time, then the customer will not be happy and would walk out of the restaurant. However, the time to prepare the beef was 6 minutes, but it was compensated by a cooking time of 11 minutes to make the waiting time a total of 17 minutes. So full marks on waiting time!

Menu: No menu pics, but it can be viewed here --> Teeba cafe menu

Beef Brisket + Pepsi

The Verdict:
Well judging from looks, it is more like a vegetarian sandwich than a beef brisket sandwich. There were only three pieces of brisket with BBQ sauce on the bottom of the sandwich. A solution to this is that there could be more meat added to the sandwich for a balance. There are many places that have equally large amounts of brisket and vegetables.
Tastewise, I had no problems. The vegetables were fresh and the bread was deliciously crispy. I took a piece of beef out from the bottom and ate a bite of it. The meat was very tender and the BBQ sauce was perfectly spiced. In short, a great meal despite the irregularity in the content of the sandwich. The food was washed down with a nice, fresh can of Pepsi.

Teeba cafe is still developing, but it has done well. I will be coming back here one day to eat. The taste won me over the content of the food. In a restaurant, taste is king. I just hope that they will develop more, be consistent in their food, and hopefully attract more customers.

Service: 9.5/10 (Unpreparedness cost 0.5 point)
Food: 8/10 (Irregularities exist but great taste)
Waiting time: 10/10 (17 minutes)
Overall: 27.5/30 = 91.6% (A)
Pricing: $ out of $$$$

Restaurant Information:
Teeba Cafe
1330 Wirt Rd Houston, Texas 77055
Phone: (713) 681-9800
Website: None
Timings: Mon-Thu: 11 AM - 10:30 PM; Fri-Sat: 11 AM - 11 PM; Closed Sun
Caters: No

Feel free to comment below!

Zain Mohammed

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Fatoush Mediterranean Grill & Hookah Cafe

Restaurant: Fatoush Mediterranean Grill & Hookah Cafe
16310 FM 529 Rd. Houston, Texas 77095
Date of visit: 5/8/2013

UPDATE (sorry no pics)
Date of visit: 6/28/2013

I made a second visit to the restaurant just as I was about to take my exam in my summer school physics course at the local community college. I was hungry, and had not eaten the whole day. Because I had to rush to the college for the exam, I decided to grab a bite to Fatoush because it is the nearest halal restaurant. The restaurant has not changed much, with the exception of everything being setup. I ordered a gyro with water. The gyro was reasonable priced at $6.99. It also came with a side of fries. The wait was only 10 minutes, so no points deducted.
The gyro turned out to be be decent and filling. There was a satisfactory balance between the meat and vegetables. The bread was fresh, and the fries were perfectly seasoned. There were some problems however. Firstly, Once the gyro opened, more than 50% of the components fell out, so a fork is needed to finish up the dish. Lastly, there was very little sauce. Some more sauce would be added so that the taste would create the balance between it, the meat, and the vegetables.
Based on the differences of the two visits, I can say that Fatoush is slowly improving. The gyro was a nice welcome after the not-so-good chicken I had the first time I visited. If the gyro would not slip and if more sauce would be added, then the visit would have been perfect

Service: 9/10
Food: 9/10
Waiting Time: 10/10
Overall: 28/30 = 93.3% (A)


Salam/Hello everyone! Finally after a long exhausting week of finals, I am back!! Today we are reviewing a brand new restaurant for the first time, Fatoush Cafe and Grill. This restaurant opened for business a few days ago and is replacing Aladdin Buffet and Grill. As I live literally three miles from this establishment, I would pass by this building nearly everyday. I had hardly seen any cars that were parked. When I would go inside, I would usually be the only customer ordering food. The emptiness of the restaurant was evident because of the quality of food. Back in high school, both my father and I got food poisoning from eating  contaminated beef and chicken kebabs. I was sick for three days and could not eat anything as a result of this. The other food also didn't live up. The biryani was stale and was constantly reheated, and so were the curries and tandoori dishes. The only ups of the restaurant were the naan bread, the chicken 65, and the lamb shank. This inconsistency eventually drove them out of business and along came this restaurant. I came in with hope that this restaurant would actually deliver a great taste that would save me a ride to the other side of town.
The best opportunity came the day before my last final, which thankfully was online. This meant that I could do the final at my house instead of driving 30 miles. My father had told me about the restaurant opening up as he was driving home from work the previous day. He told me that I get to try it after I finish my final. After finishing the last online final at my house the following day, I left for the restaurant

Let the Experience begin:
I drove to the restaurant and immediately noticed some changes. The front of the restaurant was changed into a patio and hookah stands were installed. Tables were also set up for the people who wished to dine outside. As I was walking on the patio, I noticed a problem. Firstly, there was no shade for the patio, so if it rains, the tables and stand would get wet. But I cut the restaurant some slack as it was recently opened. The entrance is located on the side of the restaurant as the front door is used for patio access. As I walked into the restaurant, the new owner saw me and welcomed me into his new establishment. One thing that impressed me was the big "HALAL" sign that was displayed on the wall above the drinks section.

Let's Eat!
I then proceeded to order the samboosak (a.k.a. samosa) for the appetizer and the mixed grill, which consisted of pieces of chicken and beef along with a beef kebab, as the entree along with water. The waiting time was fairly moderate. It took 5 minutes for the samboosak to come and 10 minutes for the mixed grill to come, so no points shaved off because of waiting time. The mixed grill came with a side of rice and some onions. While you wait, the owner gives you free soup!! The soup is called freakeh, which is a soup that is made of roasted wheat. There was a small TV that was playing CNN news shows to keep the customers busy while the food was made. I ended up paying $18.63 (tax included) for the meal, which is reasonable as I ordered a rather expensive item :P

Menu Pics:


Salads + shawarmas (never heard of a kebab shawarma before)


Soups, Sides, and kids menu



Hookah (for the hookah lovers reading this)


Samboosak on the right and the mixed grill on the left

The Verdict:
Like Aladdin, the food had its ups and downs. The samboosak and the beef kebab were excellent, perfectly cooked and seasoned. The beef, although it looks overcooked and dry, was very scrumptious after I took the first bite. The rice was well done, not too soft and not too hard. The only downside was the chicken. The chicken didn't taste that well. It could have been marinated more and there could have been more spices added. All the food was washed down with few glasses of water.

Fatoush is a huge step ahead of Aladdin, but it will take time for it to be fully consistent. I think the restaurant will be able to be consistent in a few months time, as there was only one issue in this meal. One thing that will matter is whether the consistency can remain for a long time, or whether the business will suffer the same fate as Aladdin faced. But I will cut it some slack, as the restaurant is only a few days old. And by consistency, I mean that all food should be equally appealing and tasteful. I will be back in a while, and I hope it would be better as I could possibly visit here if I feel like having nice Arab food.

Grading (first visit):

Service: 9/10 (no problems)
Food: 8/10 (Chicken was not good)
Wait time: 10/10 (15 minutes total)
Overall: 27/30 = 90% (A)
Pricing: $$ out of $$$$

Restaurant Info: 
Fatoush Mediterranean Grill & Hookah Bar
16310 FM 529 Rd. Houston, Texas 77095
Phone: 832-593-7771
Website: Fatoush Cafe Website
Facebook: Fatoush's Facebook Page
Timings: Sun-Thu: 11 AM - 12AM; Fri-Sat: 11 AM - 1 AM;
Caters: Yes
Banquet Hall Available

Feel free to comment below

Zain Mohammed

An Update to The Grading System

Salam/ hello guys! I just want to let you know that there is a slight change to the grading scale. Initially the grades in the experiences were based on service and food. From this post forward, there will be grading for the time it takes for the food to come. The tolerance is 20 minutes. Every 5 minutes late, there will be a .5 point deduction.

Thanks and HAPPY EATING!!

Zain Mohammed