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Under the Radar Restaurants You Should Visit Now, Part 1: Fall 2014 Edition

Tired of the over-hyped, buzzed over restaurants? Give these lesser known restaurants a try.

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The quality and culturally diverse restaurants in Houston rivals those of New York City and Los Angeles. There are a bevy of restaurants flying under the radar but not all are diamonds in the rough. Eater Houston wants to recognize those places that go unnoticed with a new feature: Under the Radar Restaurants You Should Visit Now.

Unlike Eater's monthly Heatmap which spotlights the most buzzed over and frequented restaurants that are hot at the moment, this seasonal map will highlight lesser known but worthwhile restaurants. Take a break from the over-hyped restaurant and try some place off-the-beaten-path and low-key (for now) instead —you won’t regret it.

Photo credit: Michael Shum/Houston Food Photography

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Kitchen 713

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4515 Canal Street
Houston, TX 77011
(281) 239-2498
Visit Website
If there were ever a place that shouldn't be judged by its outside, it's this cozy East End restaurant that opened in October. Owners and chefs Ross Coleman and James Haywood are putting their own spin on Southern classics, blending cuisines from around the world - and doing it quite well.

Everything is made in-house, from bread to the chicken, seafood and pork boudins and charcuterie. Not-to-be-missed: the tender and succulent Southern/Vietnamese hybrid, turkey neck lettuce wrap.

Masterfully plated dishes include: shrimp and grits with white wine and white cheddar; beef cheek ragout with butternut squash and Brussels sprouts; a beer brined pork chop that almost rivals in size to Perry's Steakhouse's chops, served with celery root mash and braised greens. Leave room for the deconstructed lemon meringue and cheddar biscuit topped peach cobbler.

Gumbo of the day rotates often and usually consists of chicken or seafood options. Off-the-menu items are available as daily specials. Past items have included turkey leg vindoloo with bay infused mashed potatoes and smoked lamb tongue. Fried chicken dinners are offered on the all day brunch menu on Sundays and sells out quickly. Other mus-try brunch items: smoked pork belly with kimchi greens and cornbread pudding; Gulf Coast Benedict served with grit cake, seared catch of the day, poached egg and a ham hock sweet potato hash.

Hours: Tue. - Sat. 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.

[Photo: Jakeisha Wilmore]

2. House of Mandi Mediterranean Restaurant

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8403 Almeda Rd Ste A
Houston, TX 77054
(281) 888-7370
Located in a nondescript business center on the corner of Almeda and Holly Hall, resides one Houston's few Yemeni restaurants. Opened since June, House of Mandi Mediterranean Restaurant — also a Halal restaurant — blends Persian, Turkish, Arabian and Indian cuisines.

Kabasas (sauteed with basmati rice, parsley, scallion, parsley and onions with chopped lamb or chicken mixed in) and agadas (a traditional stew cooked with choice of lamb, chicken or fish, okra, carrots, potatoes and onions) are the house specialties and the dishes that best highlight the type of food that's part of the Yemen culture.

Hanith lamb and chicken are the restaurant's other must-try-dishes — which features slow roasted meats seasoned in spices, served on a bed of basmati rice smothered in a sauce. For the less adventurous, the menu also includes kofta kabobs, shish kabobs, grilled chicken and sandwiches, all complimented with a salad and bowl of hot broth.

A hearty breakfast menu is offered daily with most items priced under $7. Start the day with such staples as eggs served with sauteed tomatoes, onions and spices, foul with mashed fava beans and other Yemen delicacies. Freshly squeezed orange and mango juices are also available.

[Photo: Jakeisha Wilmore]

3. Aji Peruvian Cafe

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2825 S Kirkwood Rd Ste 800
Houston, TX 77082
(281) 496-7777
Visit Website
Peruvian specialties is what this Westchase restaurant has been serving since opening its doors in August. Think of it as the more casual and less expensive option to Latin Bites in Memorial with fried pork and stir fried steak sandwiches on the menu. Empanadas filled with chicken, beef and cheese are classic choices but stir fried steak, pot roast and potato casserole with pork and peanuts are among the interesting selections to pick from.

As expected, cebiche is a big part of the menu. Most cebiche dishes found here are served with flounder, onions, corn with key lime juice and aji peppers. Must-try-dish: Peruvian cebiche and fried calamari served with tiradito lemon sauce, green onions, yucca and peruvian corn.

Well plated and portioned entrees are appreciated at the strip center cafe: Peruvian stir fried beef and grilled fish topped with calamari and shrimp are a sample of the menu's more popular items. $10 weekday daily specials are served from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Hours: Mon -Thu: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Fri - Sat: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sun 10 a.m. -6 p.m.

4. Ky Ans Kitchen

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11134 Hwy 6 Ste 216
Sugar Land, TX 77498
(832) 243-1598
Visit Website
Tucked away in the far end of Woodbridge Plaza, resides this casual Asian restaurant in Old Sugar Land. Fusing Japanese and Vietnamese cuisines since opening in July, it's still one of the lesser known gems in the city. The steamed buns served with choice of roasted pork, chicken or mushoom and garlic tamarind glazed chicken wings make for great starters, but the main attractions are the pho and ramen.

Unlike traditional Vietnamese noodle shops, the pho served here skips the fattier broth in favor of one more heart-friendly infused with vegetable and aromatics. Choose from one of the six "guilt-free" bowls of pho on the menu, including a vegetarian option.

Ramen purists will snub the broths which lacks a pork base, but may be more forgiving of the handmade noodles. There are three ramen selections on the menu: miso and curry with a chicken based broth, in addition to the vegetarian offering, veggie miso. Choose from char siu chicken, Chinese roast pork, dumplings or tofu as a protein.

Hours: Sun-Thu: 11 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.; Fri-Sat: 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.

[Photo by: Jakeisha Wilmore]

5. Black's Market Table

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11550 Louetta Rd Ste 1000
Houston, TX 77070
(281) 676-3207
Visit Website
Opened in August, this Northwest Houston restaurant is focused on rustic New American fare fused with Southern cuisine. Locally sourced cheeses and breads from Houston Dairymaids and Slow Dough Bread Co. and other sourced items allows the restaurant to offer a seasonal menu.

Grilled cheese and short rib on sourdough and the Akaushi beef burger with cheddar, pecan-smoked bacon and barbecue sauce are delicious choices but a splurge at $15. Housemade cheddar, sage and thyme biscuits with smoked chicken and bacon jam plus shrimp and grits are the highlight of the menu.

Currently, the farm-to-table restaurant is only open for lunch Mondays through Wednesdays.

Hours: Mon -Fri: 11 a.m. – 3p.m.; Thu-Sat: 5 p.m. - 10 p.m.

6. Lucky Palace Korean Restaurant

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8508 Bellaire Blvd
Houston, TX 77036
(832) 409-6002
Visit Website
When driving to Koreatown on Long Point Road isn't an option from Sharpstown, Lucky Palace Korean Restaurant is your best bet. It's expensive than most Korean eateries found in the Spring Branch area, but this barbecue restaurant has been a welcome addition along Bellaire Boulevard since opening in June.

Booths fill up quickly in the evening and on the weekends, but a grill table is guaranteed no matter where seating is open. Begin the meal with a kimchi pancake or the Royal Topokki (stew with rice cake, beef and vegetables). Entrees include sweet potato noodles with beef and vegetables (Japchae) and earthen pot beef stew, but it's the barbecue that's makes a visit to this restaurant worthwhile.

Slabs of fresh high-quality meats (brisket, pork belly, beef short rib, rib eye and squid) are offered in combos that depend on the size of your party and start at $43. The serving size is generous but if protein is needed, prices range from $18 to $30 depending on the cut of meat.

Hours: Mon- Thu: 11 a.m.- 10 p.m.; Fri. - Sun. 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.

[Photo credit: Cassandra H./Yelp]

1. Kitchen 713

4515 Canal Street, Houston, TX 77011
If there were ever a place that shouldn't be judged by its outside, it's this cozy East End restaurant that opened in October. Owners and chefs Ross Coleman and James Haywood are putting their own spin on Southern classics, blending cuisines from around the world - and doing it quite well.

Everything is made in-house, from bread to the chicken, seafood and pork boudins and charcuterie. Not-to-be-missed: the tender and succulent Southern/Vietnamese hybrid, turkey neck lettuce wrap.

Masterfully plated dishes include: shrimp and grits with white wine and white cheddar; beef cheek ragout with butternut squash and Brussels sprouts; a beer brined pork chop that almost rivals in size to Perry's Steakhouse's chops, served with celery root mash and braised greens. Leave room for the deconstructed lemon meringue and cheddar biscuit topped peach cobbler.

Gumbo of the day rotates often and usually consists of chicken or seafood options. Off-the-menu items are available as daily specials. Past items have included turkey leg vindoloo with bay infused mashed potatoes and smoked lamb tongue. Fried chicken dinners are offered on the all day brunch menu on Sundays and sells out quickly. Other mus-try brunch items: smoked pork belly with kimchi greens and cornbread pudding; Gulf Coast Benedict served with grit cake, seared catch of the day, poached egg and a ham hock sweet potato hash.

Hours: Tue. - Sat. 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.

[Photo: Jakeisha Wilmore]
4515 Canal Street
Houston, TX 77011

2. House of Mandi Mediterranean Restaurant

8403 Almeda Rd Ste A, Houston, TX 77054
Located in a nondescript business center on the corner of Almeda and Holly Hall, resides one Houston's few Yemeni restaurants. Opened since June, House of Mandi Mediterranean Restaurant — also a Halal restaurant — blends Persian, Turkish, Arabian and Indian cuisines.

Kabasas (sauteed with basmati rice, parsley, scallion, parsley and onions with chopped lamb or chicken mixed in) and agadas (a traditional stew cooked with choice of lamb, chicken or fish, okra, carrots, potatoes and onions) are the house specialties and the dishes that best highlight the type of food that's part of the Yemen culture.

Hanith lamb and chicken are the restaurant's other must-try-dishes — which features slow roasted meats seasoned in spices, served on a bed of basmati rice smothered in a sauce. For the less adventurous, the menu also includes kofta kabobs, shish kabobs, grilled chicken and sandwiches, all complimented with a salad and bowl of hot broth.

A hearty breakfast menu is offered daily with most items priced under $7. Start the day with such staples as eggs served with sauteed tomatoes, onions and spices, foul with mashed fava beans and other Yemen delicacies. Freshly squeezed orange and mango juices are also available.

[Photo: Jakeisha Wilmore]
8403 Almeda Rd Ste A
Houston, TX 77054

3. Aji Peruvian Cafe

2825 S Kirkwood Rd Ste 800, Houston, TX 77082
Peruvian specialties is what this Westchase restaurant has been serving since opening its doors in August. Think of it as the more casual and less expensive option to Latin Bites in Memorial with fried pork and stir fried steak sandwiches on the menu. Empanadas filled with chicken, beef and cheese are classic choices but stir fried steak, pot roast and potato casserole with pork and peanuts are among the interesting selections to pick from.

As expected, cebiche is a big part of the menu. Most cebiche dishes found here are served with flounder, onions, corn with key lime juice and aji peppers. Must-try-dish: Peruvian cebiche and fried calamari served with tiradito lemon sauce, green onions, yucca and peruvian corn.

Well plated and portioned entrees are appreciated at the strip center cafe: Peruvian stir fried beef and grilled fish topped with calamari and shrimp are a sample of the menu's more popular items. $10 weekday daily specials are served from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Hours: Mon -Thu: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Fri - Sat: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sun 10 a.m. -6 p.m.
2825 S Kirkwood Rd Ste 800
Houston, TX 77082

4. Ky Ans Kitchen

11134 Hwy 6 Ste 216, Sugar Land, TX 77498
Tucked away in the far end of Woodbridge Plaza, resides this casual Asian restaurant in Old Sugar Land. Fusing Japanese and Vietnamese cuisines since opening in July, it's still one of the lesser known gems in the city. The steamed buns served with choice of roasted pork, chicken or mushoom and garlic tamarind glazed chicken wings make for great starters, but the main attractions are the pho and ramen.

Unlike traditional Vietnamese noodle shops, the pho served here skips the fattier broth in favor of one more heart-friendly infused with vegetable and aromatics. Choose from one of the six "guilt-free" bowls of pho on the menu, including a vegetarian option.

Ramen purists will snub the broths which lacks a pork base, but may be more forgiving of the handmade noodles. There are three ramen selections on the menu: miso and curry with a chicken based broth, in addition to the vegetarian offering, veggie miso. Choose from char siu chicken, Chinese roast pork, dumplings or tofu as a protein.

Hours: Sun-Thu: 11 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.; Fri-Sat: 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.

[Photo by: Jakeisha Wilmore]
11134 Hwy 6 Ste 216
Sugar Land, TX 77498

5. Black's Market Table

11550 Louetta Rd Ste 1000, Houston, TX 77070
Opened in August, this Northwest Houston restaurant is focused on rustic New American fare fused with Southern cuisine. Locally sourced cheeses and breads from Houston Dairymaids and Slow Dough Bread Co. and other sourced items allows the restaurant to offer a seasonal menu.

Grilled cheese and short rib on sourdough and the Akaushi beef burger with cheddar, pecan-smoked bacon and barbecue sauce are delicious choices but a splurge at $15. Housemade cheddar, sage and thyme biscuits with smoked chicken and bacon jam plus shrimp and grits are the highlight of the menu.

Currently, the farm-to-table restaurant is only open for lunch Mondays through Wednesdays.

Hours: Mon -Fri: 11 a.m. – 3p.m.; Thu-Sat: 5 p.m. - 10 p.m.
11550 Louetta Rd Ste 1000
Houston, TX 77070

6. Lucky Palace Korean Restaurant

8508 Bellaire Blvd, Houston, TX 77036
When driving to Koreatown on Long Point Road isn't an option from Sharpstown, Lucky Palace Korean Restaurant is your best bet. It's expensive than most Korean eateries found in the Spring Branch area, but this barbecue restaurant has been a welcome addition along Bellaire Boulevard since opening in June.

Booths fill up quickly in the evening and on the weekends, but a grill table is guaranteed no matter where seating is open. Begin the meal with a kimchi pancake or the Royal Topokki (stew with rice cake, beef and vegetables). Entrees include sweet potato noodles with beef and vegetables (Japchae) and earthen pot beef stew, but it's the barbecue that's makes a visit to this restaurant worthwhile.

Slabs of fresh high-quality meats (brisket, pork belly, beef short rib, rib eye and squid) are offered in combos that depend on the size of your party and start at $43. The serving size is generous but if protein is needed, prices range from $18 to $30 depending on the cut of meat.

Hours: Mon- Thu: 11 a.m.- 10 p.m.; Fri. - Sun. 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.

[Photo credit: Cassandra H./Yelp]
8508 Bellaire Blvd
Houston, TX 77036

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