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100 Favorite Dishes 2012: No. 72, Esparragos Gratinados at Tintos

100 Favorite Dishes 2012: No. 72, Esparragos Gratinados at Tintos
Photos by Katharine Shilcutt

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.

Because you need to see its beautiful backside, too.
Because you need to see its beautiful backside, too.

Although many of the tapas items at Tintos are Spanish standards, the restaurant occasionally gives certain dishes signature twists. Case in point: the excellent esparragos gratinados, which are normally just asparagus spears served au gratin.

Here, however, thick stalks of bright green asparagus are lightly battered in tempura and fried before being topped with a creamy lemon aioli, roasted red peppers, a fat scoop of lump crab meat and a poached egg whose golden yolk blends with the aioli to form the perfect dipping sauce for the vegetable.

Surprisingly for all the ingredients involved, the esparragos gratinados comes off as a brilliantly simple dish mostly because of the way that all of the flavors pair effortlessly together. Lemon is a natural match with both asparagus and crab meat, while the poached egg adds only a silky, fatty undertone to the already creamy sauce. At $12, it's one of the more expensive tapas plates on the menu but worth every cent.

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



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Tintos Spanish Restaurant and Wine Bar - Closed

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