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.
Harry's Restaurant & Cafe is a Midtown institution, although you wouldn't know it from the exterior of the restaurant, which was remodeled in 2003. Founded in 1948 by Eugene Pavlovich as a blue-collar, blue-plate joint with a daily steam table, it catered mostly to area construction workers and other working men and women. When Johnny Platsas and his wife, Patricia, bought the restaurant in 1994 from Harry Mickelis -- a fellow Greek, who'd bought the place from Pavlovich -- they retained the name and the same sense of familial friendliness that permeates every meal here.
What they did change up when they purchased the place, however, is the food. Johnny Platsas hails from Crete, while his wife comes from Ecuador. The result is a Greek-South American hybrid menu that also includes steam-table classics at lunch and American standards at breakfast. Yet despite the disparate influences and seemingly unfocused menu, it all works.
At any given breakfast, you can find yourself chowing down on a Churrasco platter with two fried eggs served with grilled beef skirt steak atop two cheese-stuffed potato patties fried up in achiote oil and a side of spicy peanut sauce or a Larissa plate -- my personal favorite.
The Larissa plate, which is named for Platsas' hometown in Thessaly, features a hash of cubed homestyle potatoes tossed with sautéed onions and tomatoes, then spiked with copious amounts of feta cheese and fresh parsley on top. The feta adds the right bite of saltiness to the whole hash. The plate comes with two eggs, which I order overeasy as I like to let the creamy yolks spread over the pile of hash before giving it a few final shakes of Tabasco sauce. It's a breakfast that can and will cure all ills.
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The list so far:
No. 100: Chili cheese mac at Jus' Mac No. 99: Texas turkey sandwich at Spec's No. 98: Custard at Petite Sweets No. 97: Caprichos mixtos at Taqueria Monterrey Chiquito No. 96: Pineapple-wasabi burger at Lankford Grocery No. 95: Farmer's MKT Pizza at Phoenicia's MKT Bar No. 94: Potatoes at Money Cat Brunch No. 93: Breakfast tacos at Sunrise Taquito No. 92: Hot dog at Tacos D.F. No. 91: Avocado gelato at Frozen Cafe No. 90: Chicken sandwich at JerryBuilt Homegrown Burgers No. 89: Beer-battered asparagus at Hearsay No. 88: Honey Badger omelet at Kraftsmen Cafe No. 87: Pastelitos de carne at El Jalapeño No. 86: Pancakes at Union Kitchen No. 85: Wild boar and crab pizza at Boheme No. 84: Breakfast croissant at BB Donuts No. 83: Pretzel at Anvil Bar & Refuge No. 82: Short rib sandwich at Shepherd Park Draught House No. 81: Grilled shrimp po-boy at Pappadeaux No. 80: Dahi puri at Shiv Sagar No. 79: Aporreado at Los Corrales No. 78: Oxtail francobolli at Aldo's Cucina Italiana No. 77: Tonkotsu at Cafe Kubo's No. 76: Spinach danish from Angela's Oven No. 75: Pupusas at El Petate No. 74: Pheasant dog at Sammy's Wild Game Grill No. 73: X-Tudo burger at Friends Pizzeria No. 72: Esparragos gratinados at Tintos No. 71: Gua bao at Yummy Kitchen No. 70: Geisha dog at Happy Endings No. 69: Oyster po-boy and gumbo at Goode Co. Seafood No. 68: Ceviche at Sirena Seafood No. 67: Caldo de mariscos at Taqueria Arandas No. 66: Banana pudding at Pizzitola's No. 65: Fried catfish and gumbo at Cafe-A-La No. 64: Soft-shell crabs at Banana Leaf No. 63: Macaroni and cheese at Vic & Anthony's Steakhouse No. 62: Torta burger at El Gran Malo No. 61: Black bean burger at Ziggy's No. 60: Parillada at Pampa Grill No. 59: Peanut butter and jalapeño jelly burger at Wicked Whisk No. 58: Eggplant involtini at Giacomo's Cibo e Vino No. 57: Lone Star dog at James Coney Island No. 56: Sushi at Sushi Miyagi No. 55: Palestinian chicken at Al Aseel No. 54: Roast beef sandwich at Local Foods No. 53: Mexico City plate at Molina's Cantina No. 52: Tacos at Brothers Taco House No. 51: Branzino at Lucio's BYOB No. 50: Beef sweetbreads at Feast No. 49: Golden Doomba Special at the Rice Box Truck No. 48: Malted waffle at City Cafe No. 47: Banh mi bo kho at Cafe TH No. 46: Chicken fried steak at Triple A No. 45: Larissa plate at Harry's