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.
I love a place with personality (maybe chutzpah would be a better term in this context), and New York Bagel & Coffee Shop has it in spades.
Owner Jay Kornhaber once followed Robb Walsh out into the parking lot after Walsh refused to tell Kornhaber why he'd been taking notes during lunch. Most of the time, though, Kornhaber is happily and briskly working the floor during the busy breakfast and lunch services, a smile and a joke ready even when the place is a madhouse.
On busy mornings like this, it's easy to pretend you're in the Diamond District in New York City (sans the Hasidim) as you soak in New York Bagel's old-school deli atmosphere. The food doesn't hurt this vision, either, especially the "Fish Boxes" that come with your choice of lox, nova, sable and several other varieties of smoked fish, and your choice of bagel. The plate comes out piled high with tomatoes, red onions, olives, cucumbers and more cream cheese than you could ever use -- not that I'm complaining -- and you're free to set about constructing your own bagel sandwich.
I prefer the nova because it's a less salty version of the lox (both are smoked salmon), letting me taste more of the fish and my garlicky everything bagel instead of just pure sodium. With a pile of red onion rings stacked on the fish and sandwiched between the cream cheese and freshly-baked bagel -- and, yes, it's boiled first -- it's easy to see why New York Bagel keeps winning the Best Jewish Deli category in our Best of Houston issues year after year. After all, it's been serving the city's best bagels since 1975.
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The list so far:
No. 100: Dumplings at Heights Asian Cafe No. 99: Mixta Pizza at Friends Pizzeria No. 98: Veggie tacos from Radical Eats No. 97: Bean pie from Conscious Cafe No. 96: Swiss chard crepes from Giacomo's Cibo e Vino No. 95: Eggs Mia Bella at Mia Bella No. 94: Mulligatawny soup at the Queen Vic No. 93: Helado de Lúcuma from Pollo Bravo No. 92: Black bean burger from Natachee's No. 91: Chupacabra pizza from ERA No. 90: Roast chicken from El Norteño No. 89: Eggs El Salvador from Brasil No. 88: Frank the Pretzel from Eatsie Boys No. 87: Caldo Tlalpeño from Tacos del Julio No. 86: English pea soup at Brasserie 19 No. 85: Falafel from Zabak's No. 84: Buttermilk-fried pork loin with fried eggs at Canopy No. 83: Grillades and grits from BB's Cajun Cafe No. 82: Haemul dolsot from Seoul House No. 81: Pandan waffles at Parisian Bakery III No. 80: Pita bread and hummus at Phoenicia No. 79: Goat pepper soup at Peppersoup Cafe No. 78: Melon and Texas feta salad from Beaver's No. 77: Hot Italian beef from BB's Beef & Hot Dog No. 76: Bacon-avocado burger from Facundo Cafe No. 75: Pancakes from Fountain View Cafe No. 74: Hobnobs from Fluff Bake Bar No. 73: Chu chee eggplant from Nidda Thai No. 72: Sausage sampler from King's Biergarten No. 71: Shawarma from Abdallah's No. 70: Moules-frite at the Broken Spoke No. 69: Hong Kong-style French toast at House of Bowls No. 68: Sashimi sampler at Sushi Miyagi No. 67: Baleadas from Honduras Mayan No. 66: Snow ice from Star Snow Ice & Teriyaki No. 65: Boudin balls from MerCheri's No. 64: Miso ramen at Umai No. 63: Grim burger at Lankford Grocery No. 62: Dabeli at Bansuri Indian Food Corner No. 61: Wine and cupcakes at 13 Celsius No. 60: Pâté de France from Spec's No. 59: Steak and eggs from Ninfa's on Navigation No. 58: Breakfast pita at Niko Niko's No. 57: Vegan curry at Cafe TH No. 56: Samosas at Shiv Sagar No. 55: Ceviche at Latin Bites Cafe No. 54: Wicked Philly at Pappa Geno's No. 53: Pork chop at Perry's Steakhouse No. 52: Soft-shell crab at Pico's Mex-Mex No. 51: Sno-balls at MAM's House of Ice No. 50: Whole catfish at Saigon Pagolac