This year, leading up to our annual Menu of Menus® issue, Kaitlin Steinberg counts down her 100 favorite dishes as she eats her way through Houston. She'll compile a collection of the dishes she thinks are the most awesome, most creative and, of course, most delicious in town. It's a list of personal favorites, things she thinks any visitor or Houstonian ought to try at least once and dishes that seem particularly indicative of the ever-changing Houston foodscape.
As I noted in my review of Pizzeria Solario back in December, the food is somewhat hit or miss. A few dishes I tried were completely underwhelming, which made me sad, because, in general, the pizza is divine.
And the best of the best pizza at Pizzeria Solario? The Parma 600, topped with prosciutto aged for more than 600 days in a cellar in Italy; soft, creamy fior di latte mozzarella; and fresh, peppery arugula. It's beautiful in its simplicity. There's nothing on that pizza that doesn't serve a purpose and enhance the experience of eating it.
Unlike the tomato-based pizzas on the menu (also wonderful), 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; the greens are lightly wilted from the heat emanating from the pie.
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The mixture of fresh greens and truffle oil with the concentrated, meaty aroma of the aged prosciutto dances a ballet across the palate as one flavor gives way to another. By the time most of a slice is consumed, you're left with just the crust, but the crust at Solario is not one you cast aside in favor of a more interesting, topping-covered bite. With its bubbled, crispy pockets of toothsome dough, it's good enough to eat all on its own.
And since the salads at Pizzeria Solario can be a little disappointing, just skip them. There's basically a salad on top of that Parma 600 pizza. And protein and carbs and dairy. I think you could eat this pizza every day for the rest of your life and manage to stay healthy.
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The list so far: No. 47: CFC Deviled Eggs at Liberty Kitchen & Oyster Bar No. 48: The El Real Burger at El Real Tex-Mex Cafe No. 49: Custard Sandwich at Petite Sweets No. 50: Black Pepper Beer Lobster at Hai Cang Seafood Restaurant No. 51: Red Dragon Roll at Michiru Sushi No. 52: Fried Bananas Foster at Custom Confections No. 53: Bánh Canh Hue at Simply Pho No. 54: Kimchi Koagie at Koagie Hots No. 55: The Juicy Lucy Burger at Lowbrow No. 56: Eggplant Fries at Batanga No. 57: Macarons at Ganache Dessert Bar No. 58: Grilled Cheese at The Golden Grill No. 59: Baklava French Toast at Harry's Restaurant & Cafe No. 60: Patata e Funghi Pizza at Pizaro's No. 61: Old Fashioned Frito Pie at Armadillo Palace No. 62: Korean Spiced Brisket Plate at Revival Market No. 63: Bánh Mì at Les Givral's Sandwich and Cafe No. 64: Squirrel Master Burger at Cottonwood No. 65: Shorty Mac at H-Town StrEATS No. 66: Enchiladas de Mole at La Guadalupana No. 67: Bad Ass Hambur-Torta at Pistolero's No. 68: Green "Hurry Curry" at Nit Noi No. 69: Dozen Raw Oysters at Pappas Seafood No 70: Banana Split at Cloud 10 Creamery No. 71: Lazy Lane Frites at Brasserie 19 No. 72: Chicken Pot Pie at Kenny & Ziggy's No. 73: Chili Cheese Mac from Jus' Mac No. 74: Taco al Pastor at Taco Keto No. 75: 'Date With a Pig' at Sparrow Bar + Cookshop No. 76: The Heights Burger at Gratifi No. 77: Lamb Lollipops at Américas No. 78: Mortadella Sandwich at 13 Celsius No. 79: Carnissima Pizza at Coppa Osteria No. 80: The Marie Laveau Sandwich at Sandy Witch No. 81: Catfish and Grits at The Breakfast Klub No. 82: Grilled Ahi Tuna at St. John's Fire No. 83: Lobster Roll at Maine-ly Sandwiches No. 84: Greek Burger at Hubcap Grill No. 85: Pork Tamales at Irma's No. 86: Ham, Egg & Cheese Crepe at Melange Creperie No. 87: Crab Daddy Bao at Fat Bao No. 88: Sesame Soft Balls at Golden Dim Sum No. 89: Porchetta e Fagioli at Giacomo's Cibo e Vino No. 90: Uncle Daryl's Cake at The Chocolate Bar No. 91: Lobster Cake Benedict at Sorrel Urban Bistro No. 92: Homeroom at Bernie's Burger Bus No. 93: Vuelve a la Vida Soup at Connie's Seafood No. 94: Foie Gras Mac & Cheese at BRC Gastropub No. 95: Sweet Potato Gnocchi at Brooklyn Athletic Club No. 96: Chicken and Waffles at Adair Kitchen No. 97: Soft Pretzel from Mongoose Versus Cobra No. 98: Bulgogi Tacos with Kimchi at Chi'Lantro No. 99: Almond Croissant at Phoenicia No. 100: Bangkok Fries at Boheme