I've been in Houston almost two years now, having arrived from New York. While I was initially excited by the thought of moving to a city that was increasingly being noted for its food, especially its ethnic food, I have to say that I've been somewhat disappointed. I've been to the three restaurants that have received the most accolades recently -- Oxheart, Underbelly, and Uchi -- and I've found all three to be very anticlimactic and underwhelming. They are all expensive and over-hyped.
The best restaurants I've found in Houston have generally been tucked away in strip malls and noted only by a few culinary cognoscenti. A few have been mentioned at times on this site -- places like Peking Cuisine, Mexico's Deli, Al Aseel, and Pollo Bravo, to name a few. These are places with delicious, inexpensive food that fly beneath the radar.
I'm curious to hear if others have their favorite "hidden gems" that are deserving of more notice. If so, please share! I realize that in sharing, we all run the risk of having our favorites overrun. But know that at least one hungry fellow who is eager to change his view of the Houston culinary scene will appreciate your views.