At the bustling corner of Montrose and Westheimer, Aladdin is a solid, inviting and attractively casual oasis of usually well prepared Lebanese food amidst the traffic and the often too interesting street parade.
As with other local Middle Eastern restaurants, it’s easy to eat healthy here. It’s actually easier than most, as Aladdin sports a beautiful and bountiful spread of vegetables, salads and dips, typically fifteen to twenty items each day, which is not unlike those offered at the long-standing Fadi’s restaurants. This is no coincidence, as the owners are related. Nicely, you can peruse the buffet offerings before you select. Aladdin is also user-friendly with its ability to create meals in a variety of different combinations with items from the vegetable-laden buffet and the grill, which includes the meats, plus the seafood of the day. There are kabobs, shawarmas and falafels, each available as pita-wrapped sandwiches. These are noticeably quite popular, and are served with a generous amount of pickles, tomatoes, onions, lettuce and tahini.
Aladdin has a gas-fired brick oven in a corner of the restaurant that is put to good use. In addition to the basic pita bread, they offer ones studded with oregano, feta cheese, ground meat, and spinach and feta. The oven helps to provide finger-friendly starters such as empanada-like baked pies, kibbe balls, falafel and stuffed grape leaves. Aladdin is not as proficient as its progenitors. For example, the lamb kabobs might have a piece of gristle or two; though just out of the oven, the pita bread has not been as flavorful as at other places; and some of the items on the buffet might dry out before the end of the lunch hours. But, given the pedigree of the owners and the evident graciousness and hard work of the managers, there is plenty reason to believe that this restaurant will continue to improve.
912 Westheimer (at Montrose) 77006
Copyright Mike Riccetti. Adapted from Houston Dining on the Cheap, and used with permission.
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