There have been two fun restaurant openings to know about this year, both found in the North Lamar neighborhoods. The first is Arabic desserts and pastry shop Baklava House, and the second is Chinese restaurant Taste of Home Handmade Dumplings.
Baklava House opened on 10205 North Lamar Boulevard in March, chock-full of Mediterranean sweets. Baklava owner Mohammed Tabbaa told Chronicle that he wanted to open a bakery dedicated to Arabic desserts back in June.
There’s the namesake item: the baklava, consisting of layered phyllo dough, pistachios, and syrup. Then there are so many other phyllo dough-stuffed and nut-laden sweets. The znoud el sit consists of cylindrical phyllo dough doused in rose and orange blossom waters and cream. There’s an array of knafeh, which are soaked layered pastries available in cheese, bin narin (cream and cheese), and one with crispier dough bits. The madloukah is a chilled semolina pudding made with either rose or orange blossom water topped with nuts. The dumpling-like katayef is a sweet pastry filled with either cream or walnuts. The cashew fingers are cylindrical doughs filled with the nuts. The fun-shaped mabrouma is a crispy nest-like round dessert filled with syrup and nuts.
Cookies-wise, there are maamoul (almond cookies filled with dates, walnuts, or pistachios), barazek (sesame seed cookies), and ghraybeh (shortbread cookies). And oftentimes, there are samples available. The savory menu centers on the manakish, a round flatbread topped with za’atar, lamb and cheese, spinach, muhammara (red pepper spread), and more.
Naturally, the menu spans all sorts of dumplings, from pork/shrimp/chives to pork/pickled cabbage to chive/egg to cuttlefish to abalone. And there is a strong offering of non-dumpling dishes, such as noodles (cold noodles with chicken), braised pork with rice, celery peanuts, and shrimp fried rice. There’s also an array of offal and other animal parts, such as pork feet, ears and spine; and beef tripe. Drinks include tea pots, milks, and plum beverages.
There’s a membership program with freebies and discounts and birthday specials, including the super member package for $2,799 per year which comes with two free dumplings daily for a year.
Owner Hao Li opened the business originally as a ghost kitchen operation within commercial space Prep ATX in November 2021. The restaurant took over the space previously housing Chinese and Vietnamese restaurant TC Noodle House, which opened in 2007 and closed sometime earlier this year.
Taste’s hours are from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and then from 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday (it closes at 8 p.m. on Sunday). The space includes digital-ordering machines. Pickup orders can be placed online; there are indoor dine-in areas.