Since Covid-19 is still here and restaurants continue to stress alternative options to dining in, we’ll bring you each week a roundup of takeout dinners recently enjoyed by dining editor Timothy Malcolm.
While this favorite for Chinese dumplings now has a brick-and-mortar location at Sawyer Yards (which opened earlier this year), it still cranks out the goods as a pop-up at spots like the Urban Harvest Farmers Market. If you haven't yet indulged, the pork is the best introduction. The dumplings are packed with the meat, and the wrappers are supple and yet perfectly browned. After having a small order of to-go dumplings, consider a frozen pack to make for dinner later that night. That's what I did, and it was a good choice.
The rest of this week's list is devoted to some greatest hits—restaurants I'll gladly revisit ... and try to at least once a year. During my most recent trip to Roostar, I picked up The Special, a banh mi combining pork belly, ham, and pate. As always, I was stunned by the freshness of Roostar's veggies, the texture of the baguette (a little softer than your traditional banh mi), and the perfect combination of elements—nothing overpowers. It remains my favorite spot to get a banh mi in Houston.
I wanted the goat dum pukht, a dish that presents steam-cooked goat inside a crust (sort of like a pot pie), but co-owner Azra Lashkari told me it wasn't available. Dang. Instead I went for the always-reliable goat masala. That gravy, just tingly enough and perfectly acidic, is ideal for mopping up with naan (in this case I went for the spicy rocket naan, which is covered in chili pepper flakes). Other picks: the classic paneer hara masala with that lovely tomatillo-based sauce, and, for the kids, the simple but effective Persian kabab (beef over rice).
Okay, I'm cheating on this one, since I had about half of my barbecue plate at a picnic table outside the Pearland smokehouse. But, you know, there's nothing like enjoying your slices of brisket moments after they've been trimmed. I didn't go for anything wild on this trip, just the two-meat plate where the brisket, with a mighty, peppery bark, melted in my mouth and the pork softly fell off the rib. Sides: Lavish creamed corn and potato salad. Dessert: That incredible banana pudding. I was happy and took enough home for a late-night snack.
Speaking of melt-in-your-mouth treats: Get the Texas wagyu katsu sando, a smaller and less explosive version of what you'll find at B&B Butchers, but still delightfully extravagant. There's just something so great about that golden, buttery milk bread too. As a side, naturally, some macaroni and cheese made with Houston Dairymaids Parmesan, gouda, and cheddar hits the spot.