100 Favorite Dishes 2013: No. 59, Baklava French Toast at Harry's Restaurant & Cafe
It's the delicious love child of Greek baklava and French toast.
Photo by Kaitlin Steinberg
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. It's a list to drool over.
I love French toast. But if there's one sweet, carb-laden item I love more than French toast, it's gotta be baklava. And if there's one thing I love more than baklava, it's baklava French toast, which I only recently discovered is a real thing.
At Harry's Restaurant & Cafe, where the motto is "the globe on your fork," the chefs combine the Mediterranean flavors of baklava with familiar, custardy French toast for a breakfast (or lunch) dish that's out of this world.
Though plain French toast is on the menu at Harry's (which serves breakfast all day until it closes, at 2:30 p.m.), it's the combination of nuts, honey and Greek yogurt that caught my attention while I was perusing the menu. It's a bit decadent for breakfast, I thought to myself, but who among us doesn't deserve a sweet treat every now and then, right? Right.
So I ordered it for lunch.
Breakfast (and lunch) of champions, right there.
Photo by Kaitlin Steinberg
It's more compact than I was expecting -- a sort of French toast sandwich with baklava filling in between. In fact, if it weren't for everything else on top, you could eat it as a sandwich, but the sprinkling of chopped walnuts, drizzle of honey and scoop of ice cream take this dish clearly out of the realm of finger food.
The filling is a thick mixture of walnuts, cinnamon and honey, and the bread actually holds up to the heavy spread because, unlike most French toast, it isn't mushy. Harry's dips thick slices of challah bread into the batter just long enough to get a nice coating on the outside, then grills each slice on both sides until there's a nice sear. The melty yogurt ice cream with just a hint of orange and honey flavor adds some moistness to the dish without making it so sweet as to turn it into a dessert. It's yogurt ice cream, after all. It's healthy!
Now, the menu says it comes with one scoop of homemade Greek yogurt ice cream, but I got two. Is it because my server, Irene, is one of the sweetest people I've ever met, and she thought I looked like I could use it? Or has Harry's just recently become a little more generous with their secret-recipe ice cream? I'm not sure; but just in case, you'd better order two scoops on top of your French toast, because you're going to want that slightly tangy flavor to last all the way through from the first bite to the last.
The list so far: No. 100: Bangkok Fries at Boheme No. 99: Almond Croissant at Phoenicia No. 98: Bulgogi Tacos with Kimchi at Chi'Lantro No. 97: Soft Pretzel from Mongoose Versus Cobra No. 96: Chicken and Waffles at Adair Kitchen No. 95: Sweet Potato Gnocchi at Brooklyn Athletic Club No. 94: Foie Gras Mac & Cheese at BRC Gastropub No. 93: Vuelve a la Vida Soup at Connie's Seafood No. 92: Homeroom at Bernie's Burger Bus No. 91: Lobster Cake Benedict at Sorrel Urban Bistro No. 90: Uncle Daryl's Cake at The Chocolate Bar No. 89: Porchetta e Fagioli at Giacomo's Cibo e Vino No. 88: Sesame Soft Balls at Golden Dim Sum No. 87: Crab Daddy Bao at Fat Bao No. 86: Ham, Egg & Cheese Crepe at Melange Creperie No. 85: Pork Tamales at Irma's No. 84: Greek Burger at Hubcap Grill No. 83: Lobster Roll at Maine-ly Sandwiches No. 82: Grilled Ahi Tuna at St. John's Fire No. 81: Catfish and Grits at The Breakfast Klub No. 80: The Marie Laveau Sandwich at Sandy Witch No. 79: Carnissima Pizza at Coppa Osteria No. 78: Mortadella Sandwich at 13 Celsius No. 77: Lamb Lollipops at Américas No. 76: The Heights Burger at Gratifi No. 75: 'Date With a Pig' at Sparrow Bar + Cookshop No. 74: Taco al Pastor at Taco Keto No. 73: Chili Cheese Mac from Jus' Mac No. 72: Chicken Pot Pie at Kenny & Ziggy's No. 71: Lazy Lane Frites at Brasserie 19 No 70: Banana Split at Cloud 10 Creamery No. 69: Dozen Raw Oysters at Pappas Seafood No. 68: Green "Hurry Curry" at Nit Noi No. 67: Bad Ass Hambur-Torta at Pistolero's No. 66: Enchiladas de Mole at La Guadalupana No. 65: Shorty Mac at H-Town StrEATS No. 64: Squirrel Master Burger at Cottonwood No. 63: Bánh Mì at Les Givral's Sandwich and Cafe No. 62: Korean Spiced Brisket Plate at Revival Market No. 61: Old Fashioned Frito Pie at Armadillo Palace No. 60: Patata e Funghi Pizza at Pizaro's
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