Junaid Khan and Sayed Ali Haider, owners of Jal The Grille in Sugar Land, had the Islamic community in mind when developing and creating the unique menu for their restaurant.
The restaurant menu fuses traditional South Asian and Mediterranean cuisines, but what sets it apart from others is that everything offered at the restaurant is prepared 100 percent halal, General Manager Rachit Robertson said. According to Islamic law, halal is a term that designates what can be consumed by practitioners of Islam.
"Most of the time, practitioners of Islam do not really eat outside the norm of what they have always eaten," Roberston said. "Because we are a 100 percent halal restaurant, they can come here and enjoy different offerings and dishes that we have, giving them a taste of cuisines from all over the world."
Prior to opening in June 2013 at 13849 Hwy. 59, Khan and Haider owned a number of fast-food establishments and other franchise concepts, Robertson said. The duo, who are both of Pakistani descent, however, wanted to create something different that would incorporate their love and appreciation for steaks and also take into account their religious practices.
"Because of their religious background, the owners are able to understand the beliefs of the community," Robertson said. "They wanted to make it easier for themselves and the community to enjoy different cuisines as opposed to what they have been eating for their entire lifetime. They wanted to create something unique for the community."
From that desire was born the concept for Jal The Grille—a 100 percent halal steakhouse that is the first of its kind in North America, he said.
Once the concept for the restaurant was determined, the next step was to find an executive chef. Khan and Haider sought out Faisel Ahmad, who is also of Pakistani descent, and sold him on the idea of Jal The Grille. Ahmad, in coordination with the owners, is responsible for the creation of the entirely halal menu.
Robertson said all the entrees and dishes offered at the restaurant have the pure and authentic taste that would be found in the respective country of origin for each dish.
"The dishes at Jal are very similar to what you would find in the country the dish comes from with the chef's own style and signature added to it," he said.
All dishes are cooked using a grill and a majority of the menu boasts South Asian-style kebabs—meaning the items originate from Pakistan or India. The restaurant's signature items are the steaks, such as the Ravenous Rib-eye and the beef short ribs.
"What the chef did is he took the regular rib-eye and marinated it into a special sauce that he creates that has a sweet and spicy flavor to it," Robertson said. "It's not overpowering but it definitely gives a different kick to the steak itself and the same thing with the beef short ribs."
Other popular items include the restaurant's mocktails, which are beverages designed after popular alcoholic drinks but contain no alcohol. The restaurant does not serve alcohol because the Islamic faith does not condone the consumption of alcohol, Robertson said. However, the restaurant does allow customers to bring their own alcohol to the restaurant and does not charge a corking fee.
"Our goal is to have a place where the community we serve to will be proud to bring their family and colleagues to," he said. "They can bring them to a place that offers a fine dining experience at a place they can enjoy quality food and the authentic taste of the dishes we offer."
13849 Hwy. 59
Sugar Land 281-240-0786
Hours: Tue.–Thu. 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 11 a.m.–11 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.–10 p.m.