February 8th, 2011
La’ Fendee: Feeding a Craving
During a recent trip to Washington D.C., a friend took me to Lebanese Taverna and, as unbelievable as it is given what an unadventurous eater I am, I was hooked. While they offered many vegetarian offerings and hummus a millions different ways, they also offered meat, meat and more meat. While meat is always good, the best part was that it was good! Strike that… it was amazing. Succulent chicken, juicy lamb and tender beef all served on a platter just waiting to be stuffed into a fresh hot pita. Forget Burger King, this was my way, right away… and as much as my greedy hands could stuff into my fat, greasy cheeks. I left Lebanese Taverna that night a changed man.
Why, you ask, do I bring this up today, on a Tuesday in February, when there’s no way to just get in your car and satisfy any craving I might have stirred for this amazing restaurant that’s 1,300 miles away? Well, partly to allow you to commiserate in my yearnings for this place and also so that you understand this addiction that’s grabbed a hold of me and sent me on an incessant scavenger hunt for Mediterranean food that will quiet these meat cravings that wake me from my sleep screaming for Lebanese Taverna. Tis’ a disastrous existence I lead.
A few nights ago, the craving for meat and pita echoed through the diet-desolated cavern in my stomach and wouldn’t be quieted until it had gotten at least a taste of the delectableness. It was then that my mind remembered driving past La’ Fendee and cataloging it’s location for just such an occasion. Without even bothering to get buy in from the girlfriend, we were off and speeding down Waugh.
I don’t know what I was expecting from La’ Fendee physically, but it wasn’t what I got. A small and casual space, you can sit at any table that’s open or order at the counter if you’re taking your food to go. In addition to the inside restaurant, there is also a patio area which was covered with a tend and warmed with heat lamps, where hookahs stood on a few of the inhabited tables. As meat is my vice and not hookers… er hookahs, we sat inside. It was later in the evening, but the restaurant was still bustling. We were directed to sit wherever we wished and provided menus.
The menu is simple at best, offering a few favorite Mediterranean dishes. You’re not going to get extravagant preparations or be overwhelmed with choices, but if you’re in the mood for shawarma or kabobs, they’ve got you covered. Of course, they do have Baba Ganooj, which is worth ordering just to get to say the name. It’s literally in the top five of the funnest foods to say.
The plates, draped with oversized pitas, were brought to our table in record time. Unfortunately, when we unveiled them by lifting the pitas, we realized they weren’t ours. They belonged to the table across from us. After trying to get the waitresses attention, we just decided to do the switch on our own and returned the plates to their rightful owners. Luckily, the pita blanket kept the food free of any of my germs. Now acutely attuned to this, we noticed this process repeated quite a few times throughout the rest of the evening. I’m not sure if it was just an off night or if they need a refresher course on their table numbers.
When our food actually arrived, a bowl of lentil soup that was quickly followed by a kabob plate with beef and chicken and a gyro plate, I was ravenous. I slurped down the bowl of lentil soup with my spoon until the pita arrived and then cleaned my bowl with pieces of bread. The flavor was good though there seemed to be a lot of pepper in all of the dishes. The pitas were large, though a little thinner than I prefer, but I wasn’t going to let that deter me as I heaped chunks of chicken into the bread and started chewing. The flavor was nothing short of amazing. Simple but expertly seasoned, the first few bites of chicken quieted the craving and allowed my to enjoy my meal. I tried the beef next, and while the chicken was clearly the star of this show, the beef’s interesting flavor made kept me guessing. I couldn’t put my finger on exactly what seasoning it was, but the beef had a very spiced flavor, like nutmeg or allspice, that I’d expect more in a pumpkin pie than a piece of beef. Days later, I’m still trying to work out my feelings on the matter.
The gyro plate was really good and on par with Ya-Ya Roadster’s, which is probably my favorite gyro in Houston. The gyro at La’ Fendee is more delicate, with thinner strips of meat and a lighter tzatziki sauce that compliment each other very well. I actually prefer them to their counterparts at Roadster’s, but the thin pita leaves me wanting more and evens out the experience for me.
La’ Fendee, on the corner of Westheimer and Yupon in Montrose, is a cute and casual, family-owned restaurant serving Mediterranean standards like gyros, shawarmas and kabobs and they do it well. While it’s not the type of place that your going to be raving about for weeks and months to come, you will walk out with a full belly and a smile on your face, if only because you’ve quieted your craving for a restaurant 1,300 miles away.
Where - Montrose [1402 Westheimer, 77006]
What – Mediterranean Grub
Wear – Casual, anything goes vibe.
How Much – Eh… it’s not super cheap, but it won’t break the bank.
Hours – Mon.-Thu. : 11AM – 10PM; Fri. and Sat. : 11aAM – 11PM; Sunday: Noon – 10PM
Web – Website