Nabi Neighborhood Restaurant
1517 Westheimer Rd Houston
Telling everyone about how awesome Nabi is only made us crave for more. Just like crack heads or sharks (or crackhead sharks) once we’ve had a taste, we want more!
I’m still obsessed with the space, which looked even better in daylight:
He ate: I loved the soup! It’s easily hands down the best lobster bisque/chowder I’ve ever had. It was creamy but still had a bit of kick to it.
She ate: I also LOVED this dish the most out of everything we ordered today. What a vast improvement to the lobster bisque we had at Capitol at Saint Germain. I know this is a chowder, not a bisque, but it was just better in every way. Huge chunks of lobster swimming in a creamy but not too rich broth. The chives give it a nice texture and is not too onion-y tasting. The mushrooms and squash were cooked perfectly and gave the chowder a nice balance of vegetables and lobster. I’m not sure what the red oil is on top since the soup didn’t seem spicy to me, but whatever it was, it worked.
Tuna Pizza (crispy rice/spicy tuna/white tuna/jalapeno/gold tobiko):
He ate: Another solid dish, albeit strange presentation. It was as if they wanted it make a roll, somehow ended up with a pizza, then did their best with it.
She ate: I quite liked the presentation of this dish, actually! I was intrigued by the “crispy rice” which in my head was a sushi version of Mos Burger. If you’ve never been to Mos Burger, you’re missing out (and you’ve probably never been to Taiwan, Singapore, or Hong Kong). They make these delicious burgers with crispy rice patties, filled with juicy, saucy beef, shrimp, calamari, etc.
Mmmm. Come to mama.
(Image courtesy of Mos Burger)
I wish the tuna pizza had been a small circle cut into slices to resemble a real pizza. Instead it came in small wedges, but big enough so you can still pick it up. It made me feel like I was a giant, eating a tiny slice of pizza. The bottom part was a layer of seaweed, then a layer of rice, lightly battered and fried, then topped with very fresh tuna mixture, micro greens, jalapeno, tobiko, then drizzled with that good japanese creamy dressing. Overall I liked this dish for the interesting texture, but it could use a bit more on the flavor front.
Nabi Ramen (bacon broth/pork shoulder+belly/poached egg/scallion):
He ate: Not the best ramen I’ve ever had, but it was still tasty and a nice way to end the meal. It was a bit bland in the beginning, but great quality pork belly made up for it.
She ate: Wow, ramen. Talk about a food trend. The fact that the entire inaugural issue of Lucky Peach Magazine was dedicated solely to ramen should give you a hint that it is one of the latest and greatest food obsessions. I’ve read a couple ramen crawls in Houston, and it sounds like it’s a tie among Kubo Cafe, Soma, and Kata Robata. I’ve tried Kata Robata’s and while I don’t think Nabi’s ramen is necessarily better, it certainly ranks up there. The broth was very flavorful, but a little too salty. It had a great barbecue pork grill taste to it. The pork belly was nicely grilled, although once again the fat to eat ratio is 1:2, and I prefer 2: 1 or 3:1 or just 1. The pork shoulder was actually better than the pork belly. It was in shreds and very soft. The egg was poached a little too long, and the fish cakes were nothing to speak of, just your run of the mill supermarket pink fish cake, (which is just fine with me). The noodles had a nice bite and stayed al dente (or as we say in Chinese, “Q!”) until we finished the meal. However, it was not hand-made noodles, which is a point off. There was not enough broth for all the ingredients, but that was quickly amended as our waitress brought us extra broth upon request.
Short rib home fries (marinated short rib/yukon potato/cheese/caramelized kimchi) (We topped this with an egg, of course.):
Crispy veal tongue (honey onions/pickled celery/spiced yogurt/parsley chip):