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100 Favorite Dishes 2014: A Love Letter to Houston Food

Celebrating our city's diverse culinary scene.

No. 57, Macarons at Ganache Dessert Bar

9305 Spring Cypress Road, Suite 101, Spring, 281-257-6550, ganachebar.com

The most wonderful thing about the macarons at Ganache isn't how pretty they are (though that certainly helps). It's how much they taste like what they're supposed to. Often, macarons are redolent of something vague and sweet and crunchy. These macarons really evoke salted caramel, lavender, cafe sua da or green tea.

Troy Fields
Troy Fields

Details

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. 56, Eggplant Fries at Batanga

908 Congress, 713-224-9500, batangahouston.com

Batanga takes an eggplant, skins it and slices it into logs about three inches long. Next the eggplant is coated in a thin, crispy, light-as-air batter and fried. The eggplant is then drizzled with sweet honey, sprinkled with a bit of cumin and topped with bright-green strips of chopped mint.

No. 55, Juicy Lucy Burger at Lowbrow

1601 West Main, 281-501-8288, lowbrowhouston.com

The chefs at Lowbrow start with Longhorn beef, form it into patties, stuff the patties full of fontina cheese and give 'em a nice sear. After a few minutes on the grill, the patties are topped with fried shallots and pickled shallots. The fried shallots are crispy and almost sweet and are a more expected burger topping than the pickled shallots, which are reminiscent of pickled onions and give the burger a vinegary bite.

No. 54, Kimchi Koagie at Koagie Hots

Food truck, koagiehots.com

In the midst of my love affair with Koagie Hots's kimchi fries, I discovered the kimchi koagie and fell in love anew. It's fairly similar to the fries, only with marinated rib eye instead of potatoes, and either provolone or Cheez Whiz instead of crumbled feta. It's the combination of rib eye, kimchi and Sriracha mayo all encompassed in a Slow Dough bun that makes this one of the best sandwiches in town.

No 53, Bánh Canh Hue at Simply Pho

2929 Milam, Suite C, 713-677-0501, simply-pho.com/wordpress

I'd never heard of bánh canh hue before I ate at Simply Pho for the first time, and I'd definitely never had anything like its slimy noodles at any other restaurant. As the noodles soak, they take on the flavor of the liquid around them, which itself tastes like a milder version of the little cubes of shrimp floating in it. The dish comes with bean sprouts; lush, leafy basil; jalapeños; bird's eye chiles; and lime wedges for a build-your-own soup experience.

No. 52, Fried Bananas Foster at ­Custom Confections

Food truck, customconfectionstx.com

Rather than being pan-fried, the bananas are coated in homemade funnel-cake batter and deep-fried. That's topped with a homemade butter, cinnamon and rum syrup; a few scoops of vanilla bean ice cream; and some whipped cream.

No. 51, Red Dragon Roll at Michiru Sushi

3800 Southwest Freeway, Suite 104, 832-203-7082, michirusushi.com

This dish is arranged with carefully sliced lemon and radish garnishes to resemble a Chinese dragon (the lemon being the head and the roll the twisting body). The inside of the roll contains spicy tuna and that ubiquitous crunch, and the outside is draped in thin avocado slices, spicy peppered tuna, a generous sprinkling of more crunch and a smattering of scarlet-red tobiko (flying fish roe).

No. 50, Black Pepper Beer Lobster at Hai Cang Seafood Restaurant

11768 Bellaire, 281-564-4288, haicangrestaurant.net

Every inch of the scarlet lobster shells at Hai Cang gleams with butter and flecks of freshly ground pepper when they arrive at the table. The shells are pre-cracked, so the battle that usually accompanies a lobster dinner is all but eliminated. Frying the lobsters and drizzling them with butter and beer sauce makes the shells somewhat greasy, but the meat contained inside is fresh and plump.

No. 49, Custard Sandwich at Petite Sweets

2700 West Alabama, 713-520-7007, petitesweetshouston.com

The custard sandwiches at Petite Sweets are better than the average ice cream sandwich because a) the cookies are crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside and b) CUSTARD. The custard center — a swirl of chocolate and vanilla — is so creamy and dreamy, it almost tastes like there's a layer of frozen caramel or whipped cream between the cookie and the frozen filling.

No. 48, El Real Burger at El Real Tex-Mex Cafe

1201 Westheimer, 713-524-1201, elrealtexmex.com

The patty, ground in-house, is cooked to an ideal medium-rare, ensuring that it's juicy and smoky, with a nice, light char on the outside. Beneath it is a layer of refried beans spread on the bun as if it were mayo; curly, crunchy corn chips; and, on top, a mound of cheese, tomatoes, roasted poblano peppers, lettuce and, finally, a spread of chunky avocado.

No. 47, CFC Deviled Eggs at Liberty Kitchen & Oyster Bar

1050 Studewood, 713-802-0533, libertykitchenoysterbar.com

While Liberty Kitchen's bacon jam leaves the greatest lasting impression from these tantalizing treats, the tiny topping of fried chicken is no throwaway garnish. Each piece is small enough to fit atop a slightly spicy deviled egg, and in spite of being surrounded by the juicy jam and moist deviled egg yolk, the outside stays crunchy, while the meat on the inside is smoky and nearly melt-in-your-mouth.

No. 46, Parma 600 Pizza at Pizzeria Solario

3333 Weslayan, Suite 100, 713-892-8100, pizzeriasolario.com

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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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