The Lone Star Plate with brisket, market veggies, and mac 'n' cheese.

Image: Mai Pham

WHY DID JOSH LOREY AND E’LEECE MINOR open their fast-casual, farm-sourced concept Herb & Beet in The Woodlands? 

For one, Lorey is from The Woodlands. But also, he can get his produce from Atkinson Farms, just down the street. And 44 Farms, about two hours away, is his go-to source for proteins. This hyper-local approach is exactly what he and Minor want.

Herb & Beet is off to a good start, mixing minimalism with natural, floral elements. The charming interior is designed by Gin Braverman of Gin Design Group. Its main dining area features a clean, Scandinavian-style aesthetic with an indoor garden theme. Green, moss-covered panels float from the ceiling. In the middle of the main dining room, a planter-enclosed tree serves as both a focal point and a live sculpture of sorts. Seating includes white metal chairs, pale wooden tabletops, and bar seating, and white tile with a black mosaic pattern lines the floors.

The menu with four sections is simple and easy to navigate. Salads under Texas Greens rings in at $12.50; House Greens (simpler salads like classic wedge or Caesar) are $7.50; a one-protein, two-side plate called the Lone Star Plate is $12.50; and sandwiches are $8.50. There’s also a selection of sides for $4, and soups and bites for $5. Just about everything is made from scratch.

Items on the $5 bites menu are fun to share. I enjoyed the nutrient-rich and very Instagrammable avocado beet toast: thin slices of toasted bread from Kraftsmen Baking slathered with beet hummus, then topped with a slice of avocado, a smattering of cotija cheese, and squiggles of balsamic glaze.

Deviled eggs, topped with bacon and paprika, were also great, as were a $4 order of beet chips, which I polished off pretty much on my own.

Look at these happy little beet chips.

Image: Mai Pham

As for larger plates, the smoked jackfruit sandwich is a unique vegetarian option that I’d happily order again as a meatless Monday meal. The jackfruit looked a lot like smoked chicken, and had it not been for the textural difference and slight sweetness, it could have been mistaken for fowl.

I loved the Southwestern steak salad. A heaping bowl of baby arugula mixed with roasted corn salsa, cotija cheese, and chili lime vinaigrette was topped with slices of tender, grilled flank steak. The melange of flavors and textures worked so well together that I could picture myself revisiting just for that salad alone.

Because I chose the brisket as the main protein (you can choose crispy or grilled smoked chicken, grilled flank steak, grilled shrimp, market veggies, smoked jackfruit, or smoked brisket), my Lone Star Plate, served on a rectangular aluminum tray, was like the Herb & Beet version of a barbecue plate with two sides.

A neighborhood joint in the spirit of Bellagreen and Dish Society, Herb & Beet would be a welcome addition to any neighborhood. Priced so that it won’t break the bank, with wholesome recipes made from real ingredients that come from Texas farms, it's definitely worth a visit.

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