I had two friends recommend this spot. The inside of the restaurant was clean and the service was excellent. Not much energy, but when I left at 1:30, the place was still totally packed. So, obviously, many folks do like Cafe Lili. I think it is a comfort spot.
Inside Cafe Lili
We started with the Veggie Plate ($10.79), which included 3 cold appetizers. We sampled humos, tabouli, and baba ghanouj. The humos (pureed chick peas and tahini sauce) was pretty good. At first I thought it lacked flavor, but the more olive oil I added, the better it got. And, it was creamy. Good texture and consistency. Next the tabouli salad (chopped parsley, cracked wheat, green onions, tomatoes, lemon and olive oil dressing). It was very light and fresh. Very heavy on the parsley. I like the flavor of parsley, so I was fine with that. A little of this tabouli salad, though, went a long for me. Finally the baba ghanouj (grilled egg plant puree). It too was creamy and light. And, it did have a nice delicate and flavorful finish.
Veggie Plate: Tabouli Salad, Baba Ghanouj, and Humos
For my main dish, I had the Grilled Kabob Chicken Salad -- romaine, feta, green onions, tomatoes with Lebanese spices and house dressing ($11.99). The chicken was moist and tender with a great fire-grilled flavor. The ingredients were very fresh. The tomatoes were delicious. But was the salad extra special? Maybe not. But, it was still a very nice grilled chicken salad (and I have had many a grilled chicken salads in my time!).
Grilled Kabob Chicken Salad
One complaint, the pita bread was chewy and dense, not light and airy. I didn't like it. Okay, so would I go back to Cafe Lili? Yes, I would go back. The service was quick and friendly and the food was fresh. But, of all the great Houston restaurants, would I recommend it? I don't know. Like I said initially, no pizazz. But, sometimes that is what you need: fresh ingredients, dependable service, and a safe, comfortable experience.
Cafe Lili Lebanese Grill
Houston, Texas 77057