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100 Favorite Dishes 2014: A Love Letter to Houston Food

Celebrating our city's diverse culinary scene.

No. 69, A Dozen Raw Oysters at Pappas Seafood House

3001 South Shepherd, 713-522-4595, pappasseafood.com/location/?id=103

Unless you're eating appellation oysters, most gulf oysters taste pretty much the same. The oysters at Pappas are some of the best, though, because they're incredibly fresh, incredibly large and incredibly inexpensive. They're served with three different sauces, too, and though I'm usually an oyster purist, I find the mignonette sauce of red wine vinegar and shallots quite refreshing.

Troy Fields
Troy Fields

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Want to see more of this year's 100 Favorite Dishes? Check out our slideshow, "100 Favorite Dishes in Houston 2014: The List in Photos."

No. 68, Green Hurry Curry at Nit Noi

2020 Louisiana, 713-652-5855, nitnoithai.com

I suppose everyone does Thai curry a little differently, but I wasn't expecting the hearty chunks of potatoes; the soft roasted tomatoes; or the sweet, acidic pineapple slices in Nit Noi's excellent green curry.

No. 67, Bad-Ass Hambur-Torta at Pistolero's

1517 Westheimer, 281-974-3860, pistoleroshouston.com

This is like burger Jenga — one false move and the whole thing comes tumbling down. The patty is sandwiched between a brioche bun that has been lightly grilled, then smeared with chile aioli. It's topped with sautéed mushrooms, onions and peppers; thick, juicy bacon; a sliced avocado; a fried egg; slices of cheese and liquid orange queso; and, finally, a few chili cumin fries tucked between everything else.

No. 66, Enchiladas de Mole at La ­Guadalupana

2109 Dunlavy, 713-522-2301

I'm a sucker for mole in general, but the silky-smooth dark mole at La Guadalupana is some of the best you'll find in Houston. The enchiladas, nestled close together underneath the layer of mole, are wonderful on their own — juicy dark and light chicken meat packed inside thin, flavorful corn tortillas. But it's the mole that makes the dish.

No. 65, Shorty Mac at H-Town StrEATs

Food truck

Menu changes regularly.

I don't know how the geniuses over at H-Town StrEATs came up with the idea of stuffing a grilled cheese sandwich (already a wonderful item) with macaroni and cheese (even better) and pulled braised short ribs (best). The grilled cheese sandwich is lightly buttered before it's grilled, so it tastes like the grilled cheese of your childhood. The macaroni and cheese is oozy and gooey and cheesy without being gummy or soggy. The short rib is juicy and flavorful and worth eating all on its own.

No. 64, Squirrel Master Burger at ­Cottonwood

3422 North Shepherd, 713-802-0410, cottonwoodhouston.com

In order to make an excellent burger, you must first start with great meat, and chef Daniel Ajtai succeeds in this endeavor with his 100 percent Angus beef patties hand-formed and cooked to order. They're stuffed with poblano peppers and topped off with smoky bacon and pepper Jack cheese plus a fried egg.

No. 63, Bánh Mì at Les Givral's Sandwich & Cafe

2704 Milam, 713-529-1736

To make a great bánh mì, a restaurant must have great bread, and Les Givral's certainly does. It has a thin, crispy crust and a soft inside that soaks up the juice from the meat, cucumber and sauces. Les Givral's offers about a dozen different protein options on the bánh mì, which is why this favorite dish is described simply as bánh mì. I can't pick just one favorite. They're all great.

No. 62, Korean Spiced Brisket Plate at ­Revival Market

550 Heights, 713-880-8463, revivalmarket.com

Start with the fresh, ever-so-light-green Napa cabbage leaves. Spread a little of the house-made gochujang on the leaves. Next slap a slice of that utterly divine, melt-in-your-mouth, knock-your-socks-off brisket on top of the gochujang, followed by some kimchi, and, finally, the marinated bean sprouts and peppers.

No. 61, Old Fashioned Frito Pie at ­Armadillo Palace

5015 Kirby, 713-526-9700, goodecompany.com/palace.asp

The venison chili at Armadillo Palace is marvelous on its own. The juicy chunks of venison are slightly sweet and gamy, and they're tempered by the dark reddish-brown chili base loaded with cumin and chili powder. It's thick enough that it doesn't cause the Fritos to get soggy immediately, as some lesser chilis do. And those salty, crunchy chips are the ideal complement to the smooth, soothing chunks of venison bathed in velvety spices.

No. 60, Patata e Funghi Pizza at Pizaro's

14028 Memorial, 281-589-7277, pizarospizza.com

The Neapolitan-style pizza is topped with truffle oil, Yukon gold potatoes, oven-roasted mushrooms, mozzarella, rosemary and garlic. It's a smooth, mellow pie with dusky truffle and mushroom flavors accented by the earthy potatoes.

No. 59, Baklava French Toast at Harry's Restaurant & Cafe

318 Tuam, 713-528-0198, harrysrestaurantcafe.com

If French toast and baklava had a precious love child, this would be it. It's two thick slices of French toast sandwiched around baklava filling — a mixture of walnuts, cinnamon and honey. It's topped with yogurt ice cream with just a hint of orange and honey flavor to add some moistness to the dish without making it so sweet as to turn it into a dessert.

No. 58, Grilled Cheese at The Golden Grill

Food truck, goldengrillhtx.com

Note that there's no specific grilled cheese singled out here. That's because they're all amazing. Try the Hamlin, a simple sandwich of prosciutto, American cheese and jalapeño jam, or the carnitas, with shredded roasted pork, apple jam, Monterey Jack cheese and pickles to ease into the food, then go all out with Green Eggs & Jam, a sweet and savory combo with four of my favorite things: green tomatoes, Gouda, bacon and a fried egg.

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13 comments
ACookNotAFoodie
ACookNotAFoodie

Pho Binh = Pho from instant powder, just add water. Never a good pho place unless they're cookin bones from scratch.

rachelili91
rachelili91

I have to say that I'm loyal to Oh My Gogi for kimchi fries-- no fake cheese there (after eating Oh My Gogi so many times, Koagie Hots' fries were a real letdown...) shredded cheese, chipotle mayo, sriracha, cilantro, onion and of course, bulgogi has won my heart over, time and time again.

Terry Brooks
Terry Brooks

The bottom 50 looked better than the top 50.

anaszeineddine
anaszeineddine

the Patata e Funghi Pizza at Pizaro is a must try.

anas zeineddine and fabio meneg tried this it was delicious.

bronson
bronson

nice work, that's quite a selection of goodies!

Jilian Ryan
Jilian Ryan

Corry Cummings, a "few" options for your other meals in Houston

timblack2
timblack2 topcommenter

Thought for sure the Mcrib at one the area's 25 McDonald's would have taken top prize.

KaitlinS
KaitlinS topcommenter

@timblack2  I really wanted to put Taco Cabana's queso on there. No lie.

yourdad
yourdad

@darjae  Can you read, dude? The list is called "100 Favorite Dishes" not "100 Top Dishes" and most certainly not "Darjae's 100 Top Dishes."

 
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