100 Favorite Dishes

100 Favorite Dishes: No. 86, English Pea Soup at Brasserie 19

​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.

The English pea soup I enjoyed at Brasserie 19 during its first few weeks in operation set the tone for the entire rest of the meal that evening, and for the restaurant itself: civil and elegant, yet still humming with barely restrained boisterous energy.

The soup is a vibrant emerald green, so put away all notions or wretched memories of pea soup as foul, putrid stuff with the color and consistency of algae. This is what pea soup should be: sweetly vegetal and tasting of the garden, of fresh clippings, of springtime on a miserably hot summer day. It was lightly chilled -- neither too cold nor an undesirable room temperature (room temp in Houston in summer is usually a bad thing) -- and the peas' simple sweetness was further complemented by an island of jumbo lump crab meat in the middle of the bowl.

Unfortunately, it's one of the Brasserie's market soups, so it's not available every day. But when it is (hint: on Thursdays), it's only $9, proving that not every tasty morsel in River Oaks has to cost an arm and a leg.

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

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Katharine Shilcutt