The Lemon Tree
The Lemon Tree is another of those unique little mom and pop's in my immediate neighborhood that I tend to gravitate to. It's Peruvian cuisine and is located at Whittington and Dairy Ashford and is someplace you would have to be looking for, because you would never just stumble across it.
I've only been there a few times, mostly for dinner, and it is pleasing to me to see that the majority of the clientele appear to be Peruvian families out for "a taste from home". I just LOVE those kinds of places and my little corner of the world is full of them. (I LOVE living in Houston.)
But I have to admit that I really just don't get it. I've had some things there that were good enough that I would consider it a success if I cooked them in my kitchen. The problem is that I've also had a few things that I would never serve to guests, and for which I would certainly never charge. My last visit was a perfect example.
First let me say that we made reservations for this particular Friday night, because the last three times we had tried to go we literally couldn't get in the door. I want to temper my mostly negative review by assuring you that a LOT of people love this place. I will assume I am just doing it wrong and hopefully someone will fill me in because I would hate to think something good is happening right under my nose and that I'm just clueless, but that's where I'm at with this place.
A typical Friday night, the place was packed, and we had a short wait for our table.
My first quibble: they do not serve iced tea. This is HOUSTON. It's hot. It may not be authentically Peruvian, but dammit, I want my tea. (OK, OK, that's on me.)
We ordered an appetizer, "salchicha papas" or something like that. I thought "Hmmm, sausage and potatoes - I can eat that".
What we were served was a plate of hot dogs sliced into one inch pieces and deep fried and served over soggy frozen french fries. Seriously. Our entrees took a long time, so we ate about half of it, but it was fried hotdogs and frozen french fries. Don't order that.
For my entree, I had ordered Pollo con champignones, (chicken with mushrooms). The dish was a creamy sauce with... chicken and mushrooms. It was sort of chicken stroganoff, but blander. If you want something soothing and mild, you might get that. I won't order it again.
My buddy ordered the Saltado Beef. That was by far the best thing I've had there on several visits. It sort of reminded me of the smoked beef from Nam on Fondren that I miss so much. Quickly seared beef with tomatoes and onions but again served over soggy fries. If I can get rice with that, it's what I'm having from now on.
Oh, also the creamy green salsa that is served with the chips is awesome. Really really good.
So here's the deal. I am not writing this to warn you away from the place. In fact, I hope you ALL go and have something different and tell me what I'm missing.
I want to know.