100 Favorite Dishes

100 Favorite Dishes: No. 65, Boudin Balls at MerCheri's

​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.


If you want truly excellent boudin balls in the greater Houston area, you can either drive straight out of Houston and head east down I-10 to Winnie or you can head south to Pearland and enjoy them much closer to home in the unlikeliest of places: the Pearland Town Square.

MerCheri's is one of the few non-chain restaurants in this part of Pearland, making its success that much more heartening. And a large part of why it's succeeded here in a decidedly non-soulful part of town is the soulful food it's serving up. I first fell in love with MerCheri's over a bowl of gumbo and a plate of boudin balls so good, I thought I'd accidentally crossed over the Sabine into Louisiana.

The boudin balls here are crispy and well-battered on the outside, but soft and fluffy inside. The rice and lovely, liver-y meat are as deftly seasoned with parsley and pepper as any link of straight-up boudin, something you usually find lacking in other boudin balls. And MerCheri's serves them with an addictive sauce I've never found elsewhere, like a peppery, jumped-up version of the Polynesian sauce at Chick-fil-A. And if that sounds crass to you, that's fine; you're probably not going to appreciate a plate of gloriously fat balls of deep-fried boudin anyway.

The list so far:

No. 100: Dumplings at Heights Asian Cafe No. 99: Mixta Pizza at Friends Pizzeria No. 98: Veggie tacos from Radical Eats No. 97: Bean pie from Conscious Cafe No. 96: Swiss chard crepes from Giacomo's Cibo e Vino No. 95: Eggs Mia Bella at Mia Bella No. 94: Mulligatawny soup at the Queen Vic No. 93: Helado de Lúcuma from Pollo Bravo No. 92: Black bean burger from Natachee's No. 91: Chupacabra pizza from ERA No. 90: Roast chicken from El Norteño No. 89: Eggs El Salvador from Brasil No. 88: Frank the Pretzel from Eatsie Boys No. 87: Caldo Tlalpeño from Tacos del Julio No. 86: English pea soup at Brasserie 19 No. 85: Falafel from Zabak's No. 84: Buttermilk-fried pork loin with fried eggs at Canopy No. 83: Grillades and grits from BB's Cajun Cafe No. 82: Haemul dolsot from Seoul House No. 81: Pandan waffles at Parisian Bakery III No. 80: Pita bread and hummus at Phoenicia No. 79: Goat pepper soup at Peppersoup Cafe No. 78: Melon and Texas feta salad from Beaver's No. 77: Hot Italian beef from BB's Beef & Hot Dog No. 76: Bacon-avocado burger from Facundo Cafe No. 75: Pancakes from Fountain View Cafe No. 74: Hobnobs from Fluff Bake Bar No. 73: Chu chee eggplant from Nidda Thai No. 72: Sausage sampler from King's Biergarten No. 71: Shawarma from Abdallah's No. 70: Moules-frite at the Broken Spoke No. 69: Hong Kong-style French toast at House of Bowls No. 68: Sashimi sampler at Sushi Miyagi No. 67: Baleadas from Honduras Mayan No. 66: Snow ice from Star Snow Ice & Teriyaki

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Katharine Shilcutt