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100 Favorite Dishes 2014: A Love Letter to Houston Food

Celebrating our city's diverse culinary scene.

The Parma 600 features a white garlic crema sauce, which is mild enough to let the other ingredients shine while adding a bit of extra richness and moisture to each slice. The sauce is topped with creamy fior di latte and strong pecorino cheeses and gamey Prosciutto di Parma. Finally, a touch of funky truffle oil and bright arugula is placed on top of the pie after baking.

No. 45, Guanciale Burger at Plonk! Beer & Wine Bistro

1214 W. 43rd, 713-290-1070, plonkbistro.com

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."

This cozy wine bistro offers up the Guanciale Burger, which is essentially a bacon cheeseburger featuring guanciale (unsmoked jowl or cheek meat, most often pork) instead of traditional bacon. At Plonk!, however, rather than topping a ground beef burger with a few slices of the fatty, crispy stuff, the chefs grind that sweet cheek meat right into the patty, then top it with Gruyère and caramelized onions.

No. 44, BBQ Pulled Wild Boar Sandwich at Sammy's Wild Game Grill

3715 Washington, 713-868-1345, sammyswildgamegrill.com

The BBQ pulled wild boar sandwich is exactly what it sounds like, and so much more. Think Kansas City-style pulled pork on a sandwich with a bit of coleslaw and an onion ring, and that's essentially what the wild boar sandwich is, only better, thanks to zesty cilantro cole slaw and crispy fried onion strings.

No. 43, Roasted Duck Red Curry at ­Morningside Thai

2473 South Braeswood, 713-661-4400, morningsidethai.com

Morningside Thai's red curry is richer, silkier and more dimensional than any I've had elsewhere in Houston. The piquant mixture of herbs, spices and coconut milk is dotted with chunks of chewy pineapple and softened tomatoes and long strands of wilted green basil leaves that sneak up on you with a rush of herbal heat.

No. 42, Fried Oyster Po-Boy at Goode Company Seafood

2621 Westpark, 713-523-7154, goodecompany.com/seafood.asp

The white baguette bread is sliced down the middle and the chewy insides are pressed down a little to allow all the good stuff — lettuce, tomatoes and pico de gallo — to fit on the inside. The oysters are breaded and fried until golden brown, but in spite of the deep oil bath, they remain crunchy on the outside with a gooey oyster interior.

No. 41, Biscuit with Marmalade and Crème Fraîche at Blacksmith

1022 Westheimer, 832-360-7470

Blacksmith's biscuits aren't greasy, and they aren't overly light and flaky. They're like the ideal marriage of biscuit and scone, with just enough heft to make a single one a filling meal. The cool, creamy, slightly sour crème fraîche pairs wonderfully with the warm, buttery biscuit, and the raspberry marmalade adds a touch of sweet and sour to the mix.

No. 40, Canestri alla Funghi at Paulie's

1834 Westheimer, 713-807-7271, pauliesrestaurant.com

In many mushroom and pasta dishes, the fungi and the noodles take on a similar texture, making it difficult to distinguish them when they're all slathered in sauce. At Paulie's, though, the crimini and shiitake mushrooms maintain a chewy bite, and the pasta is cooked to an ideal al dente. There's just the right amount of sauce that has a cream base with a bit offunky-sweet marsala wine, sage and a whole lottagarlic.

No. 39, Mum's Chicken Curry at the Queen Vic Pub & Kitchen

2712 Richmond, 713-533-0022, thequeenvicpub.com

This curry is an ideal blend of a chunky stew and a dynamic Indian dish, heavy on the cumin, coriander and turmeric. The chicken, marinated in a yogurt-and-citrus mix, is stewed until it's tender and falling apart in the pot, slowly taking on the flavors of all the spices surrounding it.

No. 38, Spicy Tamale Plate at La ­Mexicana

1018 Fairview, 713-521-0963, lamexicanarestaurant.com

The masa-to-filling ratio in these tamales is perfect, with a hefty serving of shredded pork and spices wrapped in a thin envelope of cornmeal, which itself is wonderfully seasoned — a welcome change from tamales whose exterior tastes like ground corn paste and nothing more. The tamale plate comes with seasoned Spanish rice, smoky refried beans, lettuces and fresh pico de gallo.

No. 37, Trompo Tacos at Taqueria La Macro

1822 North Main, 713-226-8226

I daresay Taqueria La Macro makes the best trompo tacos in town. They're tiny — the diameter of each homemade corn tortilla is probably no more than three inches. They come with diced onions and a bit of fresh cilantro and nothing else, which may be surprising to those of us accustomed to Tex-Mex with guac and cheese and pico and anything else wecan fit in a tortilla.

No. 36, Fried Mini Fish at House of Bowls

6650 Corporate, 713-776-2288

The tiny fish at House of Bowls are battered in a garlic-heavy sauce, then deep-fried until both the outside and the fish on the inside are hot and crisp. They're served on a bed of shredded iceberg lettuce and cabbage topped with chopped jalapeños and a chile-garlic-ginger sauce.

No. 35, Morning Thali at Pondicheri

2800 Kirby, Suite B 132, 713-522-2022, pondichericafe.com

Pondicheri's take on thali includes four little bowls filled with the chef's choice of side dishes, which will usually include aloo dum, a type of potato curry; upma, a traditional breakfast porridge made from semolina; beef keema, a spicy blend of ground beef with caramelized onions, cumin and chile powder; and the carrot paratha, which is meant to be dipped in everything else on my plate.

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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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