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100 Favorite Dishes 2012: No. 56, Sushi at Sushi Miyagi

100 Favorite Dishes 2012: No. 56, Sushi at Sushi Miyagi
Photo by Michael Shum

This year leading up to our annual Best of Houston® issue, we're counting down our 100 favorite dishes in Houston. This list comprises our favorite dishes from the last year, dishes that are essential to Houston's cultural landscape and/or dishes that any visitor (or resident) should try at least once.

100 Favorite Dishes 2012: No. 56, Sushi at Sushi Miyagi
Photo by Troy Fields

Last year, it was the enormous sashimi sampler at Sushi Miyagi that made the list of 100 Favorite Dishes. This year, it's something far simpler: basic nigirizushi.

There's something hypnotic about watching chef/owner Mr. Miyagi make sushi. He represents 50 percent of the entire workforce at his namesake Chinatown restaurant (his wife, who takes orders and paints the artwork found on the walls, represents the other half), but he never rushes through an order, which he acknowledges by calling out a soft "Hai" to his wife as she reads each customer's selection to him from across the small dining room. He always takes his time.

Mr. Miyagi at work, slicing fish for a sashimi plate.
Mr. Miyagi at work, slicing fish for a sashimi plate.
Photo by Troy Fields

Taking his time is a mark of quality and pride; you're not going to Sushi Miyagi to get cheap, grocery-store sushi on the run. So while I've seen more than a few complaints to this effect online, I'm here to say that good things come to those who wait.

Each piece of fish is sliced with the kind of expert precision that comes after 30 years of being a sushi chef. Each mound of rice is shaped lovingly by hand before being pressed lightly onto the plate. Even the decorations -- carved carrot roses or swans made of lemon peels, or real shiso leaves instead of tacky green plastic paper meant to resemble grass -- are meaningfully constructed. And each delicious bite of sushi is a reflection of the care and thoughtfulness that went into it.

No, you don't eat at Sushi Miyagi to rush through your meal. You eat here to savor it.

The list so far:

No. 100: Chili cheese mac at Jus' Mac No. 99: Texas turkey sandwich at Spec's No. 98: Custard at Petite Sweets No. 97: Caprichos mixtos at Taqueria Monterrey Chiquito No. 96: Pineapple-wasabi burger at Lankford Grocery No. 95: Farmer's MKT Pizza at Phoenicia's MKT Bar No. 94: Potatoes at Money Cat Brunch No. 93: Breakfast tacos at Sunrise Taquito No. 92: Hot dog at Tacos D.F. No. 91: Avocado gelato at Frozen Cafe No. 90: Chicken sandwich at JerryBuilt Homegrown Burgers No. 89: Beer-battered asparagus at Hearsay No. 88: Honey Badger omelet at Kraftsmen Cafe No. 87: Pastelitos de carne at El Jalapeño No. 86: Pancakes at Union Kitchen No. 85: Wild boar and crab pizza at Boheme No. 84: Breakfast croissant at BB Donuts No. 83: Pretzel at Anvil Bar & Refuge No. 82: Short rib sandwich at Shepherd Park Draught House No. 81: Grilled shrimp po-boy at Pappadeaux No. 80: Dahi puri at Shiv Sagar No. 79: Aporreado at Los Corrales No. 78: Oxtail francobolli at Aldo's Cucina Italiana No. 77: Tonkotsu at Cafe Kubo's No. 76: Spinach danish from Angela's Oven No. 75: Pupusas at El Petate No. 74: Pheasant dog at Sammy's Wild Game Grill No. 73: X-Tudo burger at Friends Pizzeria No. 72: Esparragos gratinados at Tintos No. 71: Gua bao at Yummy Kitchen No. 70: Geisha dog at Happy Endings No. 69: Oyster po-boy and gumbo at Goode Co. Seafood No. 68: Ceviche at Sirena Seafood No. 67: Caldo de mariscos at Taqueria Arandas No. 66: Banana pudding at Pizzitola's No. 65: Fried catfish and gumbo at Cafe-A-La No. 64: Soft-shell crabs at Banana Leaf No. 63: Macaroni and cheese at Vic & Anthony's Steakhouse No. 62: Torta burger at El Gran Malo No. 61: Black bean burger at Ziggy's No. 60: Parillada at Pampa Grill No. 59: Peanut butter and jalapeño jelly burger at Wicked Whisk No. 58: Eggplant involtini at Giacomo's Cibo e Vino No. 57: Lone Star dog at James Coney Island



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