Low-Cost Lunch at Skewers

Skewers -- the subject of this week's cafe review -- is quickly becoming one of my new favorite lunch spots. The newly renovated Lebanese restaurant offers everything I look for in a lunch hour hideaway: quick service, convenient location, good food and the ability to get in and out for less than $10.

Work downtown? It's only a ten-minute trip down Highway 59. Work near The Galleria? A five-minute drive. Work in Greenway Plaza? A two-minute drive. Yeah, you'll have to battle the too-small parking spaces, but just make the girl in the office with a compact car drive. There's always one.

Counter service will get your food to you quickly, and you don't have to bother with a tray. Just place your order and grab a number, and they'll bring it to your table along with a basket of pita chips and the house special, a black olive puree that's like a tapenade sans the garlic. You'll have to refill your own drinks and grab your own silverware, but I'm more than happy to do so -- it means I can eat and drink at my own pace.

And the food. The food is fab.

A quarter baked chicken is my standby here, both white and dark meat wondrously moist and tender, and you can get it with healthy sides: green beans that never saw the inside of a can, okras stewed with tomatoes and onions, hummus with a healthy sprinkling of paprika on top.

If you show some restraint and don't add a piece of baklava (it's hard not to when it's only $1 more and it tastes so good), you'll slip out of Skewers for just at $10 for lunch. And $10 buys you not only a lot of food, but a lot of atmosphere.

You can sit in a quiet booth and zen out during your lunch hour or watch one of the many flat-screen TVs; one of them is usually playing Al-Jazeera for a different world perspective. Or you can sit in the coffee bar area and grab a cappuccino after your meal to fight off the mid-afternoon, post-lunch sleepies. Or, my favorite, grab a spot on the patio and watch the world go by.

Not a bad way to spend a lunch hour. But if you come at night, make sure to stay for the hookahs.

See more photos from Skewers in our slideshow.

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Katharine Shilcutt