100 Favorite Dishes 2012: No. 89, Beer-Battered Asparagus at Hearsay

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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.

Hearsay Gastro Lounge is exactly the kind of spot I think of for after-work relaxation or weekend catch-up time with friends: The downtown hangout is cozy but elegant, its patio has a great view, the cocktails are strong and well-made and the food is simple but good. I'm not alone; the place is usually buzzing with suits after 5 p.m.

And for these post-work snacking-and-drinking days, one item stands out to me above all others: Hearsay's fried asparagus, which uses Saint Arnold beer in the batter. The asparagus inside is still bright green and crisp, while the batter gives a nice crunch as you work your way down the stalk.

The asparagus on its own is $6, but I prefer it on the Chef Nick's Appetizer Platter, where it comes with the crawfish-stuffed mushrooms (seen above) and smoked salmon crostini for $12. Grab the platter with a couple of drinks and you're looking at a very happy hour indeed.

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

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