100 Favorite Dishes

100 Favorite Dishes: No. 68, Sashimi Sampler at Sushi Miyagi

​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.

"Too much for one person!" Miyagi scolded me with a smile the last time I ordered the sashimi sampler at his tiny restaurant, Sushi Miyagi, which he runs along with his wife and only his wife -- there are no other staff here. Miyagi will usually take your order, then hurry back to his sushi bar to prepare the food, and bring it directly back to your table. And they say chefs don't interact enough with their diners...

And, yes, the sashimi sampler is too much for one person. But split it between two or three and you're instantly in nigirizushi and sashimi heaven -- and for just about $60. The spread includes a few pieces of nigirizushi with Miyagi's expertly seasoned rice as well as little California roll, but the real appeal lies in all of the colorful slices of sashimi that are draped across the giant platter.

The "standards" are all represented -- tuna, salmon and yellowtail -- as well as less appreciated but equally delicious scallops, octopus and mackerel. And, yes, there's escolar as well (unusual to find in a Japanese-run sushi restaurant, but the Miyagis cater closely to American palates just as they do to Japanese). Best of all, however, are finding the small creations that Miyagi has skillfully crafted from slices of lemon rind or carrot peels: swans, roses or other abstract objects that make this much more than just a plate of fish. It's also a work of art.

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

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Katharine Shilcutt