We've been rounding up our favorite budget lunch spots in different neighborhoods around town (See the complete list at the end of the post).
Today, we're here to tell you why Pearland is more than worth the drive for you inner-loopers. Here is our list of the best cheap (less than $10) lunch spots that this area has to offer:
Honorable Mention: Floyd's Cajun Seafood House for crawfish po' boys and seafood gumbo.
Come to this popular Trinidadian hole-in-the-wall for authentic West Indian cuisine. We love the tender, flavor-packed curry chicken (get it bone-in for extra juiciness) served with red beans and rice, salad, and fried plantains ($10 for a large, $9 for a small). Or, even better, try it street-food-style served in a roti wrap with curried potato ($8.50). Other standouts include bake and saltfish or bake and shark (both $9), a popular Caribbean dish of freshly fried bread and sautéed cod or crispy fried shark.
4. King's Biergarten Oh how we love this city. Where else can you find a picturesque biergarten housed in a converted Mexican restaurant? Come here for a half-liter of Oktoberfest and some of Houston's best German and Austrian cuisine. Get two sausages -- we love the cardamom-scented weisswurst and richly-spiced, juicy grilled bratwurst, a side (think bacon-studded red cabbage and Austrian potato salad) and a piece of bread for just $8.90. Or try a Weiner schnitzel sandwich ($6.95), stuffed with your choice of ultra-thin, breaded and fried pork or chicken, melted cheese, and all the fixin's.
Pretzels, and ghoulash, and bier. Oh my!
3. Thanh Phuong
If you don't live in the area, Thanh Phuong is worth the drive. Why? Because its one of the only Vietnamese and Chinese restaurants in Houston that has an entire portion of its menu devoted to game meats. Because you can get venison carpaccio, coconut curry boar and deep-fried frog legs alongside classics like brisket pho ($6.95), salted fish, red cabbage and chicken fried rice ($9.95), and charboiled pork vermicelli ($7.95). Because it's the real deal -- celebrated chef Chris Shepherd even staged in the tiny, family-run kitchen in preparation for opening Underbelly.
Game dishes are mostly over $10, but we suggest coming for pho and sharing a plate as an appetizer with friends (had everything been under $10, this may have just taken our No. 1 spot).
2. Killen's BBQ
Chef Ronnie Killen has a serious goal in mind when it comes to his 'cue -- and as he's told Eater Houston, that's to "overthrow Franklin from being the king of barbecue."
He and his crew started running the line-around-the-corner-'til-it's-sold-out weekend pop-up outside his namesake steakhouse restaurant earlier this spring, but it seems as though we are finally coming closer to the cafeteria-style BBQ joint's full-time opening, which was expected sometime this month (fingers crossed). We can't wait to get our hands on Killen's smoked, fall-off-the-bone-tender pork ribs and aggressively-seasoned, fatty and buttery brisket every day of the week. Meats are served with three sauces (regular, tangy, and coffee) and are available by the pound (they currently range between $8 to $14), as meat plates with sides like pinto beans and creamy potato salad ($8.25 for a 1 meat plate), or as sandwiches ($4.25 for a chopped beef).
The flavors are there and the price is right; Killen told Eater, "we're not more expensive than anyone else because for me it's not about making money. I know it's funny, but if the place pays for itself, good."
That sounds more than good to us!
When cronut-mania rocked the country earlier this year, Pena's Donut Heaven responded by bringing Houstonians the dosant -- a three layer croissant-donut hybrid filled with pastry cream and adorned with fruit and powdered sugar. And for that, Pena's, we are thankful. Mostly because we did not want to fly to New York and wait hours in line, but also because your version is delicious.
But its not just donuts and dosants at Pena's; They make one hell of a lunch, including salads, sandwiches, wraps, and burgers, too. Come for a old-fashioned juicy cheeseburger ($5.50); its sandwiched inside a sweet and eggy bun. Or up the ante with the Ole Burger ($5.95), oozing with queso, pico, pickled jalapeños, and chipotle mayo. There's even a Donut Burger ($6.75) with a doughnut for a bun -- because at this point, why not? Make your burger a combo meal with crisp, twiggy fries and a drink for just $2.50 more, then throw in a couple of kolaches or dosants for good measure.
When in Pena's!
See our other Top 5 Budget Lunch Lists:
Top 5 Budget Lunch Spots in Montrose Top 5 Budget Lunch Spots in River Oaks Top 5 Budget Lunch Spots in Midtown Top 5 Budget Lunch Spots in Upper Kirby Top 5 Budget Lunch Spots in EaDo Top 5 Budget Lunch Spots in Rice Village Top 5 Budget Lunch Spots in the East End Top 5 Budget Lunch Spots in the Galleria Top 5 Budget Lunch Spots in Garden Oaks/Oak Forest Top 5 Budget Lunch Spots in The Woodlands Top 5 Budget Lunch Spots in Old Downtown