Sofia Sheikh drives from Sugar Land to the Southwest Management District for cooked chicken.

Specifically, she comes for Reza Persian Grill’s chicken.

“Their chicken is the best chicken. It’s so juicy you will be like, ‘How did they make it so juicy?’”

She also comes for the hummus.

“I’m not kidding you, their hummus is the best hummus I’ve had.”

And she throws sumac spice, a tart and sharp enhancement from the sumac berry, on all of it just to kick it up a notch.

On its website, the Reza Persian Grill in the Southwest Management District calls itself a “collective of amazing people striving to build delightful Persian food.”

Build it and, apparently, people like Sheikh will come — over and over again.

Mai Pham, food writer for the Houston Chronicle, describes Reza as one of her “regular, go-to spots.”

“You can get all kinds of kebabs here,” Pham posted on her Instagram page. “Everything I’ve had is good. The hummus is amazing. The complimentary flatbread is also really delicious.”

It’s no surprise then that Reza Persian Grill made it to the Houston Chronicle’s list of the Top 100 restaurants in Houston for 2023.

The reason Pham goes is for the kebabs.

“I used to get the combo kebab plates, but lately I’ve been obsessed with the beef koobideh, which is the ground beef kebab. The seasonings are perfection and the beef is so juicy and delicious. I’ve been getting that every time,” she said. “I also get the combo koobideh, which comes with one beef, one chicken kebab.”

This is not the first time the Houston Chronicle has singled out Reza as a top restaurant in Houston. Last year, the newspaper included it in a story on where to get the best Persian food in Houston.

“This fresh and accessible cuisine is defined by the ritual of sharing. From well-spiced kebabs to fruit-strewn plates of saffron-scented rice, a feast awaits,” writer Nora Mishanec said of Persian food in H-town.

According to the article, owner Mohammad “Tony” Balali, an Iran native who moved to Houston to study engineering, opened Reza in 2020 after discovering a passion for hospitality while working in local restaurants to fund his studies.

Fast forward to 2023 and the restaurant recently remodeled, “so it’s more spacious and clean and very family-friendly,” Pham recently posted. “There’s always huge groups of families here.”

One of those families might just be Sheikhs. Sofia Sheikh said she likes to bring her family and, in particular her mother, because the food is halal. They also like to eat family-style, Sheikh said, and are always satisfied when leaving.

Appropriately, Reza is a Persian name that literally translates to “contentment.”

Sheikh, executive director of the Asian Pacific American Heritage Association, likes the restaurant so much, she recently brought a group of local women to try it out recently, most of them from Sugar Land. The group meets monthly at different restaurants.

Reza was the perfect location for the group, with plenty of food and the ability to try many things.

No one except for Sheikh had been at Reza before but all vowed to come back with their families. Each person went home with a full stomach and a box of leftovers from a shared kebab platter.

One might say they achieved a perfect state of contentment.

Reza Persian Grill
5714 Hillcroft Ave.

— Dorothy Puch Lillig