Sunday, July 31, 2016

Tradicao Brazilian Steakhouse: A Halal Meat Lover's Paradise

Restaurant: Tradicao (pronounced Tradisow)
Address: 12000 Southwest Freeway, Stafford, Texas
Buffet or a-la-carte: Buffet
Date of visit: 7/1/16


Please see the disclaimer under where it says "Home"

Background:
Salam/hey guys! Welcome to my latest review! I know it's a bit late, but I've been dieting lately (which I really hate). Anyways, I can safely tell you that this is the most anticipated review of the year. Why is it so? It's because this is another steakhouse. Not just another steakhouse, but another Brazilian one! I actually first heard about this place a long time back from my friend. He told me that his friend used to work there and that the lamb was halal, there was seafood in the main course, and that he really liked that place. So pretty much like Fogo de Chao but with seafood options and family run instead of being a chain with location all over the US, Puerto Rico, and Brazil. I actually thought about going here one day since I hadn't known at that time that Fogo's lamb was halal, but the idea never came to work. All of that changed an email that I received a few days before my trip. The email was definitely one of the best ones I have ever received since I started this blog. It was an email which stated that there was going to be halal FILET MIGNON and lamb chops available. Before and after, making the big announcement on my social media accounts, which was received positively by the Muslim community, I communicated with the restaurant and made sure that everything was cooked separately to prevent cross contamination, and that it was available at the Stafford location and also the Clear Lake location. After everything was done, I was invited to bring a friend along and try the experience! Naturally, I would have to go after work and around sunset since it was still Ramadan. The good part was that it was about a 15 minute drive from the mosque that we were going to pray at. So after work, I went to pick my friend up, and we drove to the restaurant.

One VERY important thing to say: You must call at least 24 hours in advance to request halal. Thus, reservation is mandatory if you want halal.



Let The Experience Begin!
Tradicao is located on the 59 feeder just before the intersection at W Airport Blvd. If you are coming from the north, your best bet is to take the exit for the 59 feeder and then continue on it until you reach the restaurant. Inside, the ambiance was very nice. There is a wine cellar that's located near the tables. After confirming that we reserved, we went to the table. The table was wonderfully set up. There was a sign where it said "halal" and right in front was the halal menu (posted below). Top notch service. We met with the manager and talked about the halal offerings. He then said that there's going to be a special ribeye prepared for us. After speaking, we were ready to eat.



Let's Eat!
While the meat was being prepared, my friend and I immediately flipped the meat card to "Yes" and went for the salad bar. From the salad bar, I got fresh mozzarella cheese, salmon ceviche, smoked salmon, potato salad, and heart of palm. We only took one plate of the salad bar because we wanted to save our appetite for the meats. As we were eating, the meat was ready! All the meat and the seafood came one by one. As soon it was made, it was served to us tableside. And then came the insanely addicting cheese bread (pao de queijo). Then came the rice and the garlic mashed potatoes. I think I had about 20 of the cheese breads. We finally had dessert. By the time we got to the mosque, we were so stuffed that we thought we would skip the early morning meal that's eaten before the start of fasting. The ribeye came on a special wooden platter for us. To drink, I had Guarana, which is the traditional Brazilian soda.



Menu: Same concept as Fogo, but they actually have seafood in their main course. I would advise you guys to take a pic of the halal menu and keep it as a reference. It is very detailed and they even tell you what not to eat because of the inclusion of alcohol.  Like Fogo, there is also a salad bar, which has a lot of options available to try.
One thing you must remember: if you want halal, you must call at least 24 hours in advance.



The Halal Menu


The Dinner




The Verdict:
Was it worth it? Absolutely! Everything tasted great! The cheese bread was as addicting here at it was at Fogo. We really enjoyed all the meat and seafood that was added. The chocolate cake was one of the best I've ever had! We ate until we were completely stuffed. The service was wonderful also!



Conclusion:
Houston's first Brazilian Steakhouse with more than one halal meat option sets an example of what the other restaurants should do when they start serving halal menu options. It was organized and was easy to read and understand. It was also great to see that they had listed which items have alcohol in it or not. French, Italian, and a lot of Asian places should notify on their menus whether a particular dish contains alcohol or not. This is not just because Muslims do not drink, but also many people have alcohol intolerance. It shall be interesting to see whether other Brazilian steakhouses will start offering halal meats one day whether it be here in Houston, Texas, or anywhere in the US in the years to come, or whether there will be the first ever fully halal Brazilian steakhouse, or whether halal picanha or alcatra (top sirloin) will be first introduced to the United States.
Regarding Tradicao, this is great for special occasions like birthdays, parties, or anniversaries. I know I plan on coming here on special occasions or just a casual trip myself for lunch after saving up some money! If you are in Houston and want to go on a date or celebrate a special occasion, or just simply grab some steak, then this place would be the best one! Don't worry it being too expensive. It is worth every single penny.



Grading:
Service: 10/10
Food: 10/10
Total: 20/20 = 100% (A)
Pricing: $$$$ out of $$$$



Restaurant Information
Tradicao (Stafford location)
12000 Southwest Freeway, Stafford, Texas
Phone: (281) 277-9292
Timings:

Lunch: Mon-Fri: 11 AM - 2 PM & Sun: 12 PM - 3 PM
Dinner: Mon-Thu: 5 PM - 9:30 PM; Fri: 5 PM - 10 PM; Sat: 4 PM - 9 PM; Sunday: 5 PM - 9 PM

Caters: Yes
Reservation required for halal menu

Feel free to comment below, send me an email, or message me on Facebook

Cheers!
Zain Mohammed

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Fyza's Al Wadi Mediterranean Sandwiches: Best Halal Gyros in Houston?

Restaurant: Fyza's Alwadi Mediterranean Sandwiches
Address: 4551 Farm to Market Road 1960, Houston, Texas
Restaurant or a-la-carte: a-la-carte
Date of visit: 6/28/16




Background:
Salam/hey guys! I am back after a while. Today, I will be talking about another halal spot that is available on FM 1960. This place is called Fyza's Alwadi Mediterranean Sandwiches. There is a place of the same name on JFK Boulevard near Bush airport. I am not sure whether both this and the airport located are affiliated with the same owner. Anyways, I had been wanting to try out a new place ever since I returned from Austin. It was tough because my mom was restricting me from going out, even to the mosques for prayer. I also have class until 10 PM on Mondays and Wednesdays, and my mom expected me to break my fast at home all Ramadan long. My friend wanted to do iftar with someone, and I said ok because we hadn't met for a long time. We originally decided for Elshamy off Highway 249, but last minute, we decided to do here. After getting permission from my mom, I headed over to the restaurant.
Long time ago, there used to be a halal place called Alwadi that was on FM 529 and Queenston. I had been there a few times and found their shawarma to be pretty good. Sadly they closed down before I could try something else. I've heard of a lot of good things about the Alwadi on FM 1960 and also the location near Bush airport. A lot of people raved about the gyros and the fries. So let's see how it goes.


Let The Experience Begin!
The restaurant is located in the same strip mall as the Hobby Lobby near the intersection of FM 1960 and Veterans Memorial Dr. Inside, it was nearly empty as it was nearing closing time. Thankfully, my friend spoke with the owner and allowed us to be in late so that we could break our fast. After reading the menu, we were ready to order.



Let's Eat!
I inquired about what was the popular item sold, and it was the gyros with fries combo. We both got that. I got Pepsi while my friend got another drink. The wait was long at 27 minutes and 12 seconds. We got water, and the owner provided us with dates so that we could break the fast. Very nice of him



Menu: Contrary to the name of the place, this place also has platters. The menu has items that are standard in Mediterranean places. You have popular items like hummus, baba ghanoush, shawarma sandwich and plate, kebabs, falafel, and the mixed grill. The prices are pretty similar to Sayad, with the only exception being that the sandwiches are cheaper here than Sayad. They have some pretty neat deals and they also have a lunch special.



The menu: Photo credit: http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/alwadi-mediterranean-sandwiches-houston?select=GA4_ixfqCVFze0POb-Ns0Q




Gyro sandwich with fries and garlic sauce


The Verdict:
Absolutely delicious! The gyro sandwich was amazing! It was really flavorful and was also filling. There was no leakage of the gyro sandwich, and the tzatziki sauce had a lot of flavor. The garlic sauce here is the best garlic sauce I've had north of I-10. This is the closest to the level of Busy Boy that I have had so far. My friend absolutely loved the food as well. Overall, two thumbs up for the food.
A special thanks to the owner for letting us stay for a while so that we could break our fast. This is a good thing to hear, as I have heard many people being turned away by owners or employees as much as 30 minutes before closure.



Conclusion:
Along with Zamani, Al Wadi is a wonderful place to get some Mediterranean food. I would definitely be a regular if it was near my house, and would actually consider making multiple visits here while driving to or from the dealership. This goes up with Euro Bakery on Louetta, and Zamani as one of my top places to eat between 249 and I-45. If you want some nice halal gyros or Mediterranean food, then I would recommend you to give this place a try.



Grading:
Service: 9/10
Food: 9/10
Total: 18/20 = 90% (A)
Pricing: $$ out of $$$$



Restaurant Information:

Fyza's Alwadi Mediterranean Sandwiches
4551 Farm to Market Road 1960, Houston, Texas
Phone: (832) 249-1500
Timings: Mon-Thu: 11 AM - 8:30 PM; Fri-Sat: 11 AM - 9 PM; Sun: Closed
Caters: unknown

Feel free to post a comment, send me an email, or message me on Facebook!

Cheers!
Zain Mohammed