100 Favorite Houston Dish 2015, No. 47: Sunday Sauce at Liberty Kitchen & BRC

Gaitano Rago's Sunday Meat Gravy is the recipe of BRC/Liberty Kitchen co-owner Lance Fegen's grandfather.
Gaitano Rago's Sunday Meat Gravy is the recipe of BRC/Liberty Kitchen co-owner Lance Fegen's grandfather.
Photo by Phaedra Cook

Phaedra Cook is eating her way through Houston and counting down her 100 favorite dishes of 2015. It's a collection of personal favorites that is also indicative of Houston dining. It's a scene where a vast range of dishes coexist: highbrow and lowbrow; local and international; cheap and expensive; modern cuisine and beloved tenets — and everything in between.

Most of the F.E.E.D TX group restaurants offer Gaitano Rago’s Sunday Meat Gravy & Macaroni, and it’s possible to get it on days other than Sundays, too. The thick, meaty pasta sauce is chef and co-owner Lance Fegen’s grandfather’s recipe.

The complex sauce includes tomatoes that are simmered for eight hours, oregano, red wine, sweet Italian sausage, meatballs, pork belly and pork shoulder. It’s garnished with Parmigiano-Reggiano (real-deal imported Parmesan cheese) and fresh basil. Despite the name, the sauce is served on top of ziti, not macaroni. Garlic bread is served alongside, as is only proper.

Sunday gravy is a revered Italian-American family tradition — the nexus of family gatherings on Sundays. The large quantity of meat is a symbol of plenty. Beef wasn’t widely available in Italy, but it was in the United States, so Italian immigrants used it. The sauce is called a “gravy” because that’s how some Italians decided the word “sugo” translated to English. (Sugo is a meat sauce, as opposed to other types of pasta sauces like marinara, which is meatless, or salsa, an uncooked tomato sauce.)

Here’s where to get Gaitano Rago’s Sunday gravy, depending on what day of the week the Italian food craving hits:

  • Wednesday: Liberty Kitchen & Oysterette, 4224 San Felipe
  • Saturday: BRC, 519 Shepherd
  • Sunday: Liberty Kitchen & Oyster Bar, 1050 Studewood


The List of Top 100 Dishes of 2015 So Far:

No. 48, Tonkotsu Ramen at Tiger Den
No. 49, Charcuterie at Kris Bistro
No. 50, Cauliflower Steak at Backstreet Cafe
No. 51, Telur Balado at Rice Bowl II
No. 52, Green Curry at Asia Market Restaurant
No. 53, Foie Gras Breakfast at Triniti
No. 54, Korean Fried Chicken at ToreOre at Super H Mart
No. 55, Bulgogi Bibimbap at BiBiJo Express at Super H Mart
No. 56, Vegetable Plate at Hugo's
No. 57, The Cured Plate at Revival Market
No. 58, Simply Grilled Fish at Ibiza
No. 59, Tonkotsu Black Ramen at JINYA Houston
No. 60, The Rancor Burger at The Petrol Station
No. 61, Heritage Sampler Platter at Rudi Lechner's
No. 62, Oxtails at Le' Pam's House Of Creole
No. 63, The 420 Slice at Pi Pizza Truck
No. 64, Frenchy's Fried Chicken On Scott Street
No. 65, 3 Pig Mac & Cheese at Urban Eats
No. 66, Pucchia Pugliese Foggia at Sud Italia
No. 67, Triple-Smoked Pastrami On Rye At Kenny & Ziggy's
No. 68, Fume Pizza at Pizaro's Pizza Napoletana
No. 69, Banh Mi Thap Cam at Café TH
No. 70, Caramelized Onion Soup at Mockingbird Bistro
No. 71, Milk Chocolate Stout Malt at Fat Cat Creamery
No. 72, Pork Ribs at Roegels Barbecue Co. 
No. 73, Carrot Pizza at Weights + Measures
No. 74, Jalisco Wings at El Big Bad
No. 75, Mussels at Cafe Brussels
No. 76, Cresta di Gallo at The Pass & Provisions
No. 77, Beef Fajitas at El Real Tex-Mex 
No. 78, Chicken Tikka Masala from the Tandoori Nite truck
No. 79, Chocolates at Cacao & Cardamom
No, 80, Hummus Supreme at Al's Quick Stop
No. 81, Red Oil Dumplings at Mala Sichuan
No. 82, Tex-Cajun Fries at BB's Café
No. 83, Mac & Cheese at The Oceanaire Seafood Room
No. 84, The Principal Burger at Bernie's Burger Bus
No. 85, Hunter's Honey-Roasted Duck at Brennan's Of Houston
No. 86, Fish & Chips at Good Dog Houston
No. 87, Sausage, Egg & Cheese Biscuit at Blacksmith
No. 88, "Saucy Balls" At Brooklyn Meatball Company
No. 89, Perry's Steakhouse/Perry & Sons Pork Chop
No. 90, General Tso's Chicken from The Rice Box
No. 91, Eggs, Refried Beans, Hash Browns and Hugo's Sauce at 59 Diner
No. 92, Shipley Do-Nuts Plain Glazed 
No. 93, Housemade Bologney at Public Services Wine & Whisky
No. 94, Bo Luc Lac at Cheno's (formerly Chino's) Fast Food
No. 95, Combo #5 at Soto's Cantina
No. 96, Carnitas Salad At Chipotle
No. 97, Pickled Shrimp At Punk's Simple Southern Food
No. 98, Lobster Roll At Maine-Ly Sandwiches
No. 99, Chili-Cheese Coneys At JCI Grill
No. 100, Corned Beef Hash And Eggs At House Of Pies

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