Hot Plate

Anthony Butkovich

Crusted, When Crusted Wasn't Cool: Show me a restaurant that doesn't offer something encrusted, and I'll show you a place that is yesterday's news, maybe even tomorrow's fish wrap. The upscale version of fried food began with simple bread crumbs, usually delicately dusting a sautéed chicken breast. But today's chefs have raised the culinary bar, coating main dishes with everything from pistachios to potatoes. Américas [1800 Post Oak Boulevard, (713)961-1492] has long cultivated the concept of crusting with its Pargo Americas, a flattened Gulf snapper fillet that's dipped in an egg wash, rolled in fresh grilled corn and sautéed, quite simply, in olive oil. Snapper always works well with a slight crunch, but this corn -- sweet, tender and hearty -- earns the dish a place among Houston's gastronomic upper crust.

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