Established in the early 90’s, Café Piquet has moved from a corner store front of a shopping strip to its own stand-alone building and the king of Cuban Cuisine in Houston.
In Houston, for some reason Mexican taquerias are a dime a dozen and yet Cuban restaurants are few and far between, almost as if people are afraid to try a cuisine comprised of serious servings of slow roasted pork, breaded steak, sweet and savory fried plantains, spiced ground beef and braised shredded skirt steak.
For starters, my natural instinct is to go for the fried plantain chips also known as “mariquiatas”, thin strips of the green plantain that come out looking like flowing ribbons that are topped with a garlic and olive oil mix known as “mojo de ajo”.
When ever I go to Piquet I need to go with my all time favorite breaded steak, my mother made it for me as a child, and Piquet comes pretty close, the breading actually
adheres to the steak holding in the moisture and manages to stay light and flaky.
Served with a side of fried sweet ripe plantains bursting with flavor and has the consistency of a firm banana custard, which is accompanied by a Cuban rice dish call, “con grie” rice colored black from the soaking water of black beans.
For the serious pork lover, look no further than the “Masitas fritas”, or “fried pork chunks”; not since the phrase “bacon wrapped (insert name of meat)” has there been such a beautiful arrangement of words.
The Masitas have a crispy exterior while the meat inside simply falls apart with flavor and juices, normally I wouldn’t dare mess with perfection but squeezing a wedge of lime over the top helps bring out that savory pork flavor.
Assuming that you haven’t gone into a food coma, and that there is enough room for a dessert and coffee.
Piquet’s rice pudding will put most other challengers to shame; the pudding is served
ice cold and instantly dominates the pallet with its rich creamy texture and
cinnamon flavor, paired with a Cuban coffee so strong that you should be at least 21 to drink, this is a perfect Cuban ending to a great Cuban meal.
A comment I must make about the prices, set a little high, so I wouldn’t have this place
set on my everyday eating list but maybe a great place for a first date, that being said, the price issue is definitely compensated by the portions.
While Havana is more than 1000 miles, thankfully you don’t have to make the trip to
get a taste of Cuban heritage, instead you can just stop by Café Piquet.
5757 Bissonnet Street. Bellaire, TX 77401