100 Favorite Dishes

100 Favorite Dishes: No. 93, Helado de Lúcuma at Pollo Bravo

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.

Last year, I found myself wondering if lúcuma would one day become as prevalent as other tropical fruits such as mango and papaya. I hope that it does, and the helado de lúcuma -- lúcuma ice cream -- at Pollo Bravo is one of the reasons why.

Lúcuma is a South American fruit from the Andes that vaguely resembles an avocado, with a large, glossy pit in the middle. The skin is green and the flesh is yellow and fibrous. That sunny flesh has a highly unusual flavor -- almost like naturally-occurring caramel custard -- that makes it a natural for desserts. Some people say that lúcuma tastes like maple or sweet potato, but the natural caramel tendencies are further encouraged in the housemade ice cream at Pollo Bravo.

Garnished with a ladyfinger, the simple dish of lúcuma ice cream is my favorite way to end a Peruvian meal at the restaurant, especially in the summer. It's cold and refreshing, but also creamy and thickly sweet -- almost like a lighter version of dulce de leche -- all at once. Give it a try at the Richmond location; that's where you'll also find another favorite: causa rellena.

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



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Katharine Shilcutt