100 Favorite Dishes 2014: A Love Letter to Houston Food

Celebrating our city's diverse culinary scene.

(Rebecca Masson's baked goods are served atanumber of locations in Houston.)

The cookies that make up the "bread" of the fluffernutter are a combination of crunchy peanut butter and oatmeal. They achieve the ideal consistency in the oven — crisp and lightly browned on the outside while chewy on the inside. Between the cookies is peanut butter frosting, and in the center is a dollop of that inimitable (genuine) Marshmallow Fluff.

No. 22, Roasted Pear Salad at Backstreet­ Cafe

Troy Fields
Troy Fields


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."

1103 South Shepherd, 713-521-2239,

What makes this salad such a standout is the gorgeous (and mouthwatering) poached pear stuffed with nuts, cranberries and blue cheese that serves as the centerpiece of the dish. The pear alone would be quite a dish, but when served in salad form, it's even better.

No. 21, Foie Gras Crème Caramel at Just Dinner on Dunlavy

1915 Dunlavy, 713-807-0077,

Menu changes regularly.

The crème caramel at Just Dinner has a wonderful caramel flavor, and combined with the rich, almost marrow-like flavor of foie gras, it's incredibly decadent. If that were all the dish was composed of, it might have been too much of a good thing, but fortunately the round of custard is served in a pool of chile oil and chive oil dotted with pickled sweet potatoes, pickled rhubarb and fresh pomegranate seeds.

No. 20, Fried Catfish and Cajun ­Crawfish at The Cajun Stop

2130 Jefferson, 713-222-8333,

The crawfish tail cream sauce really is the pièce de résistance in this dish. It's similar to an étouffée in that it also seems to make use of the holy trinity, a.k.a. onions, celery and bell peppers, as well as similar Cajun spices to get your heart rate up and your forehead perspiring. Unlike with étouffée, there's a heavy dose of cream in this crawfish sauce, making it a little more rich and a little less ruddy than its Cajun cousin.

No. 19, Dahi Puri at Shri Balaji Bhavan

5655 Hillcroft, 713-783-1126

The puri shells are cracked at the top and filled with exotic chutneys and yogurt. Inside each shell is a single chunk of potato that appears to have been cooked in turmeric. On top of that is a bit of spicy green chutney heavy on the cilantro and a spicy red chutney with a slight chile-pepper heat. A mild yogurt fills the shell up to the top, then the whole thing receives a sprinkle of chopped tomatoes, fresh cilantro and crunchy chickpea noodles.

No. 18, Phat Ass Ham Hock at Goro & Gun

306 Main, 832-708-6195,

Goro & Gun's ham hock is served with bao buns and a side of pickled veggies as sort of a DIY bao plate. The combination of everything on the plate packed into a puffy steamed bun is an amazing array of textures and flavors.

No. 17, Alba White Truffle Soufflé at ­Tony's

3755 Richmond, 713-622-6778,

Available seasonally.

The top layer is as light as air and lets out a small whisper when you dig in with a spoon. It's aromatic and earthy, and the many eggs in the dish keep it fluffy in spite of the heavy, funky aroma. It doesn't quite melt in your mouth, but it's reminiscent of the lightness and fluffiness of cotton candy, and the way the soufflé deflates when you bite into it does give you the sense that it's melting onto your tongue.

No. 16, Okra with Crème Fraîche at ­Oxheart

1302 Nance, 832-830-8592,

No longer available.

It was a crescent of thin, delicate roasted and pickled okra pods arranged on a bed of spiced crème fraîche and dotted with little pearls of smoked black garlic purée, all garnished with a smattering of aromatic Thai holy basil. This okra had a sharp, tart flavor that was instantly soothed by the smoky crème fraîche and once more elevated with the unusual flavor of roasted okra.

No. 15, Kobe Beef at Nara

2800 Kirby, Suite 100, 281-249-5944,

Available occasionally.

This dish isn't available often, since chef Donald Chang has it flown in from Japan for special meals only. If you're lucky enough to get it, though, you'll be entranced by the light sear around the edges and the way the flavor changes ever so subtly thanks to a little heat. Then, moving on to the center of each thin slice of Kobe beef, you'll taste a hint of citrus cutting through the fat of the meat. Finally, a chunk of Korean radish serves as a necessary palate cleanser between the rich portions of beef.

No. 14, Caramelized Pork Spare Ribs at Cafe TH

2108 Pease, 713-225-4766,

Available occasionally.

These pork spare ribs are like candy. They're sticky and sweet and ever so juicy, with just a hint of spice from chile powder in the sauce. The marinade contains plenty of garlic, and on top are fresh green onions, fried shallots and sautéed red bell peppers, which add some acidity to a sweet dish. Served with the pork are juicy sautéed baby bok choy and sticky jasmine rice topped with meaty portobello mushrooms.

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


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.


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

anas zeineddine and fabio meneg tried this it was delicious.


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 topcommenter

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

KaitlinS topcommenter

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


@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."