August 31, 2023

Lasbela Pakistan Cuisine - Sugarland - A John Nechman Discovery


John Writes:

"Of the many Houston Restaurant Weeks menus that we’ve tried this year, the best in flavor and value by a long shot is at a place I had not heard anything about until finding them on the HRW list – Lasbela, a delightful, and beautiful Pakistani restaurant in Sugar Land (13849 Southwest Freeway). We first visited this location when it was called Mai Colachi, which we really liked, but the new place is even better. If you love Indo-Pakistani food (and if you don’t, I’m sorry for you!), HRW continues through September 4th, and this is a perfect opportunity to discover (or re-discover) this place.

You can view the HRW menu at this link ( ). Four courses for only $39. But these aren’t just any courses. The first three feature plates that each are the size of typical entrées at most restaurants. In other words, this is a hellalotta food! That wouldn’t matter too much if the food weren’t magnificent, but it is. We dined with a friend, and when we told our wonderful Afghani server Aftab that we wanted to try each of the dishes from each course, he warned us that it was a huge amount of food, and he suggested we just order 2 HRW menus and share the chosen dishes between the 3 of us. We told him that we felt up to the challenge of trying all the dishes, not realizing that with portions this huge, just one HRW menu would have been enough to fill all 3 of us. (SEE MORE OF THE REVIEW AFTER PHOTOS)

We thoroughly enjoyed every course. Some were stunning. I usually stay away from sweet-and-sour chicken, but the Patakha chicken here, infused with a brisk spicy kick, is a riveting Pakistani-Chinese version with subtle hints of turmeric and mango. The word “riveting” can also be said for the restaurant’s version of Pakistani fish and chips, the Muzang fried fish, featuring an ambrosial batter and a homemade sauce that looks like tartar but tastes like Heaven.

The second course includes a selection of savory kebabs and tender strips of chicken marinated in cream and spices and described perfectly on the menu as being of “melt in the mouth texture.” The third course brought three enormous karahi (deep cooking pots that look like woks) containing a trio of delights, including my favorite dish of the evening, the murgh malai handi, featuring a rich, savory mélange of tender chicken, fresh cream, butter (and plenty of it), herbs and spices. This and the other 2 dishes mix perfectly with 2 massive mounds of rice that you can choose at no extra cost to accompany the meal—we went with the spicy and the cumin versions. You can also choose at no extra cost any of their selection of naan—we loved the garlic naan.
And though we were stuffed and staring at an enormous amount of leftovers, we couldn’t resist the dessert course, which included a creamy ice cream-like burfilee, a sundae-like dilbahar ananas, and spectacular warmed gulab jamun served in fragrant rose water.
The drinks here, all non-alcoholic, are also creative and wonderful. Aftab was very helpful in explaining each of them. We tried the Lala Rukh, a very refreshing cooler made with strawberries, as well as the Burg-E-Gul, made with rosewater. Richi loved his mango lassi, and the aromatic chai is the perfect way to end a meal here.
The restaurant is beautiful with soothing music. The service is caring and attentive, and you’re simply going to be amazed at what a wonderful experience you get for this HRW menu price. An 18% service charge is added, which I’m not crazy about (simply because I don’t like charges added before I authorize them), but the service is so excellent that we added considerably more. We look forward to returning and trying much more from the amazing sounding menu.
Our city is blessed to have what is likely the finest selection of Pakistani restaurants in the United States, led by Chef Kaiser Lashkari’s always magnificent and creative Himalaya. For another captivating glimpse at the magical cuisine of this region of the world, add Lasbela to the list.

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