Enjoy this taquito stack at Nokturne until 5 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.EXPAND
Enjoy this taquito stack at Nokturne until 5 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Photo by Jennifer Fuller

Nokturne: The Best After Hours Hidden Gem in Clear Lake

When you think of a hidden gem, you imagine a shiny ruby at the end of a rainbow, surrounded by lush gardens and trickling waterfalls. In the food world, a hidden gem is a little local spot you never knew existed, offering unique, tasty and sometimes rare treats. It’s a spot you wished you had learned about long ago, but are happy to discover is right in your backyard.

Nokturne is a true hidden gem in the Clear Lake area. The Houston Press takes a look at a restaurant that serves wholesome grub long after the sun sets.

Next time you see this sign, stop in for a Turkish coffee.EXPAND
Next time you see this sign, stop in for a Turkish coffee.
Photo by Jennifer Fuller

Owner and chef Daniel Quezada realized a need in the area for a restaurant with late hours. With the intent to provide the overnight community a healthier alternative to 24-hour diners and fast-food chains, Quezada opened up Nokturne. Open until 5 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights and until 3 a.m. other nights, Nokturne offers nourishing snacks and entrées, as well as fresh juices, smoothies, teas, and Vietnamese and Turkish coffees.

Complimentary cucumber water and herbed popcorn.EXPAND
Complimentary cucumber water and herbed popcorn.
Photo by Jennifer Fuller

This counter-service cafe has tables on one side and a cozier area on the right side, set up more for lounging. The music playing is new wave and chill, more instrumental with an easy beat. Inspired by Quezada’s backpacking trips through western Europe, Egypt and Turkey, the menu features a variety of items from all over the world, including vegetarian and seasonal items. The summer menu is currently available, and a winter menu will be developed in the fall. All-natural ingredients are used, and no preservatives, artificial colors or flavors.

From 11 to 3 p.m., Nokturne offers $8 lunch box specials. Add an iced hibiscus tea for $2 with unlimited refills. Lunch box specials include a veggie burrito, a nopalilla, which is a grilled cactus quesadilla with onions, avocado and cilantro. Or try the curry fried rice, the Lil’ Pad Thai or the gyro wrap with a mixture of lamb and beef.

Fresh Heart Beet juice, rich and delicious.EXPAND
Fresh Heart Beet juice, rich and delicious.
Photo by Jennifer Fuller

Fresh juices designed to give you that extra pep in your step are available for $5 to $7. The Heart Beet, noted to help with heart disease, is a gorgeous ruby-red elixir made with beets, blackberries, apple and ginger. Or try the Power Loaded C to get a dose of vitamin C from oranges, strawberry and guava.

Young coconut for drinking sweet coconut water.EXPAND
Young coconut for drinking sweet coconut water.
Photo by Jennifer Fuller

Brews and smoothies are available, including a $4 Tres Amigos with ginger, lime and honey to ease your sore throat. The Palo Azul Carafe is described as a “top class diuretic and kidney cleanser." The Morning After is an invigorating concoction of carbonated mineral water, Guatemalan chile, lime, baking soda to help alkaline your body, and sea salt. Whole young coconut is available for $5. Grab a straw and drink sweet coconut water after munching on the tender piece of coconut on top.

Creamy palak paneer with fresh naan from Nokturne.EXPAND
Creamy palak paneer with fresh naan from Nokturne.
Photo by Jennifer Fuller
Gorgeous stack of potato taquitos and flavorful mushrooms.EXPAND
Gorgeous stack of potato taquitos and flavorful mushrooms.
Photo by Jennifer Fuller

One section of the menu is titled Well Eats. Fresh vegetarian items are listed. Choose from a simple dish of pita bread with creamy hummus or a plate of salted edamame.

For a more filling meal, try the palak paneer — masala-spiced spinach, tomato and garlic dip with paneer cheese and naan. Or try a beautiful stack of crispy potato flautas topped with thick cream and avocado.

Gravlax, wild-caught salmon with nibbling goodies.EXPAND
Gravlax, wild-caught salmon with nibbling goodies.
Photo by Jennifer Fuller

Classic Grubs include gravlax, which is a gorgeous platter of in-house dill-cured wild-caught salmon, fresh seasonal berries, and crispy rye toast. Pad thai, tuna sashimi and an "umami bomb," wild mushrooms and seaweeds in a unique miso-kombo-reishi broth, with the option to add rice noodles or an egg, are also available.

Nokturne, 17062 Saturn Lane (in the shopping center behind Chevron)
Hours: Monday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Friday 11 a.m. to 5 a.m. Saturday, 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. Sunday, 5 p.m. to 3 a.m.

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