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.
Many people rave about the turtle soup at Brennan’s of Houston. It’s a Houston classic. The noteworthy dish is full of memorable tangy and meaty flavor. People make special trips to Brennan's just so they can satisfy their cravings. It’s nearly required to at least order a cup, although a whole bowlful of it, finished with a generous drizzle of sherry, is even better.
Chef Danny Trace has put a newer item on the menu, though, that is rather remarkable and it just has to be tried. It’s called “honey roasted duck” but in truth, it’s Peking duck. Louisiana meets China in one dish in a place where you’d least expect it.
Trace actually had a special cabinet brought in to hang the ducks to dry. Afterward, the skins are “puffed” to separate them from the meat. That’s why the skin is so blissfully crisp. Soy and honey glaze gives it a deep mahogany color, as well as both salty and sweet flavor.
The gorgeous duck sits atop a bed of crawfish fried rice and is adorned with watercress and a sunny-side up quail egg. The combination is absolutely perfect. The juices from the roasted duck run down into the rice, making it succulent and moist.
Of course, you can still have the turtle soup beforehand if you want to. We did.
The List of Top 100 Dishes of 2015 So Far:
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