$7 at Mi Luna Tapas Restaurant & Bar in Sugar Land

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: Mi Luna Tapas Restaurant & Bar, 2298 Texas Drive, Sugar Land, 281-277-8272

What $7 gets you: Some great tasting Spanish – not Tex/Mex -- food

Two of the three big TVs over the expansive bar are tuned to an Argentinean soccer demonstration. The other, in a nod to the prevailing Sugar Land culture, has an American football game going on. The surprise was how empty the place was -- it was the noon hour on a Saturday and there was only one other couple dining –so this was either going to be an undiscovered treasure, or a disaster.

Fortunately for us, it was the former.

The servers were quick to greet us and give us a good table inside. (They had a lot to choose from.) No one was seated at one of the many outdoor tables, which probably work better at night in the summer heat. More people came in as it got closer to 1 p.m.

There are a lot of competing myths governing the meaning of the word tapas. According to the back of the menu at Mi Luna, tapas were introduced as a way to keep soldiers in wine bars sober. Tapas are small plates of food, which in this case, my dining companion and I found to be perfect for a mid-day meal.

This restaurant offers cold (frias) and hot (calientes) tapas at more than reasonable prices ranging from $3.95 to $11.95. Other items on the menu go up as high as $29.95 (the Paella Valenciana, which is fresh seafood, meat and chicken baked in saffron rice – but it serves 4-6 people).

From the list of tapas calientes I ordered beef kabobs with saffron rice. The rice was covered with sweet carmelized onions. My companion got grilled Moroccan lamb kabobs with herbed couscous. The meat was flavorful and moist, the rice perfect and the couscous delicious. Bread and olive oil came with the meal.

It’s pretty clear that they’re probably counting on making most of their money from their wine list. Sticking to water or tea gets you in and out under the $7 max.

Recommended? Without reservations (which they don’t require)

This place may be getting overlooked because of its location, sort of hanging on the edge of the Town Center extension off First Colony Mall. Parking was easy and the overall experience was in the very good range. Service is a little slow.

Lucky for you: The lunch leaves enough room for one of their desserts, if you have enough time to stay for one. – Margaret Downing

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