This year, leading up to our annual Menu of Menus issue, Kaitlin Steinberg counts down her 100 favorite dishes as she eats her way through Houston. She'll compile a collection of the dishes she thinks are the most awesome, most creative and, of course, most delicious in town. It's a list of personal favorites, things she thinks any visitor or Houstonian ought to try at least once and dishes that seem particularly indicative of the ever-changing Houston foodscape. It's a list to drool over.
The first thing I thought upon taking a bite of Revival Market's Korean spiced brisket for the first time was profane, so I'm not going to write it.
The second thing I thought was, "I'm going to need a pound of that brisket." Followed by, "Is it okay to eat nothing but brisket for a few days?" Followed by, "Yes."
Revival Market is, of course, known for its meats, particularly local, house-cured ones. So when I saw that they have a lunch plate featuring two of my favorite things -- brisket and kimchi -- I knew I'd love it before I even tasted it.
I spent some time a few summers ago in Korea, and I instantly fell in love with the cuisine. I adore the emphasis on seafood and pork and anything spicy enough to clear your sinuses. I ate kimchi for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I ate a lot of kimchi.
The Korean brisket at Revival brings me back to meals in Seoul, only the offerings from Revival are much cleaner, crisper and downplayed, which I appreciate. It seems like everything I ate in Seoul was a veritable feast, but this dish takes the best elements of the cuisine and condenses it into one perfect lunch.
The elements of the plate are arranged so that you can either eat them all separately or do what I did, which is make a sort of cabbage wrap out of everything. It's messy, but worth it to get a taste of each different offering simultaneously.
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You start with the fresh, ever-so-light-green Napa cabbage leaves. Spread a little of the house-made gochujang onto the leaves (it's messier if you drizzle it on top). Gochujang is a fermented condiment made from red chile, soybeans, rice and salt. It packs a punch and adds extra depth to the meal.
Next, slap a slice of that utterly divine, melt-in-your-mouth, knock-your-socks-off brisket on top of the gochujang, followed by some kimchi, and finally the marinated bean sprouts and peppers. Try to maintain the integrity of the wrap while you eat, but if it falls apart, just pick up a fork and go to town.
Really, the best element of the dish is that awesome brisket. I have yet to have the presence of mind to ask exactly what Korean spices Revival uses to marinate it, but in all honesty, I'll probably never ask. So long as I can still eat it, I don't really care.
The list so far: No. 100: Bangkok Fries at Boheme No. 99: Almond Croissant at Phoenicia No. 98: Bulgogi Tacos with Kimchi at Chi'Lantro No. 97: Soft Pretzel from Mongoose Versus Cobra No. 96: Chicken and Waffles at Adair Kitchen No. 95: Sweet Potato Gnocchi at Brooklyn Athletic Club No. 94: Foie Gras Mac & Cheese at BRC Gastropub No. 93: Vuelve a la Vida Soup at Connie's Seafood No. 92: Homeroom at Bernie's Burger Bus No. 91: Lobster Cake Benedict at Sorrel Urban Bistro No. 90: Uncle Daryl's Cake at The Chocolate Bar No. 89: Porchetta e Fagioli at Giacomo's Cibo e Vino No. 88: Sesame Soft Balls at Golden Dim Sum No. 87: Crab Daddy Bao at Fat Bao No. 86: Ham, Egg & Cheese Crepe at Melange Creperie No. 85: Pork Tamales at Irma's No. 84: Greek Burger at Hubcap Grill No. 83: Lobster Roll at Maine-ly Sandwiches No. 82: Grilled Ahi Tuna at St. John's Fire No. 81: Catfish and Grits at The Breakfast Klub No. 80: The Marie Laveau Sandwich at Sandy Witch No. 79: Carnissima Pizza at Coppa Osteria No. 78: Mortadella Sandwich at 13 Celsius No. 77: Lamb Lollipops at Américas No. 76: The Heights Burger at Gratifi No. 75: 'Date With a Pig' at Sparrow Bar + Cookshop No. 74: Taco al Pastor at Taco Keto No. 73: Chili Cheese Mac from Jus' Mac No. 72: Chicken Pot Pie at Kenny & Ziggy's No. 71: Lazy Lane Frites at Brasserie 19 No 70: Banana Split at Cloud 10 Creamery No. 69: Dozen Raw Oysters at Pappas Seafood No. 68: Green "Hurry Curry" at Nit Noi No. 67: Bad Ass Hambur-Torta at Pistolero's No. 66: Enchiladas de Mole at La Guadalupana No. 65: Shorty Mac at H-Town StrEATS No. 64: Squirrel Master Burger at Cottonwood No. 63: Bánh Mì at Les Givral's Sandwich and Cafe